Customer Wants Refund

Business By fcakes Updated 2 Oct 2013 , 6:15pm by 66cakelady

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:18am
post #31 of 107

The problem is you have no way of knowing how she has been storing the cake so if it is dry it is most likely not your fault.  Plus you already know she's a PITA since she haggled with your price.

 

I would not even meet with her.  It is definitely going to lead to an argument and frankly people are a little crazy these days.  Who knows what she might try to do.  I would email her and tell her that upon further consideration you feel the two of you are not going to come to an agreement about the cake.  I would reiterate your policy again - quote her the invoice.  Tell her since you do not have proof that the cake has been stored properly since it left your possession and that 2 other cakes of the exact same recipe plus the scraps you tasted were moist and perfectly fine you are unable to offer her a refund.

 

If you do decide to meet with her take someone with you.  A husband or boyfriend if you have it.  I know that may seem ***ist but sometimes a man is able to able to keep the situation in check.  It's more their nature to not take it personally and keep it business like.  Not saying you can't do that, just my experience.

 

Good luck.  Let us know what happens!
 

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:24am
post #32 of 107

Unless it actually tastes bad, even though the rest of the batch was fine, I wouldn't give her anything back. Depending how it was stored and if she cut all of it into pieces, dryness is a pretty hard thing to disprove after a couple days.

 

I have a few general rules, don't say sorry, don't offer free product or refunds, or even discuss them, until you have seen the cake in person. My first job was in a high volume bakery, we put out at least 15-20 wedding cakes each weekend, and there was always someone calling the owner trying to get money back.

In the 3 years I worked there, only 1 cake was actually faulty, the lady who made it forgot to dowel it.

For some reason people think it's an easy industry to rip off.

 

My advice... get yourself psyched up for an obnoxious woman, hold your ground and don't let her bully you, don't get defensive, just keep it matter of fact and professional.

People love to use the 'I'll ruin your reputation' threat, but in all honesty,  one person out of hundreds isn't going to do you much, if any, damage. If the cake was truly bad, they will badmouth you anyway.

four321 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:44am
post #33 of 107

I totally agree with Cathy!  I wouldn't even meet with her!  Remind her of your policy, tell her it's unfortunate she was unhappy, and never do business with her again.  $58?  She would have had to pay me $60 just to turn my oven on! lol
Seriously, the last minute ordering... tells a lot about the woman. I would email her one last time and (as scrumdiddly said "don't say sorry") let that be that.

Good luck to you.  Sad that we try so hard to put smiles on peoples faces, and have to deal with the occassional PITA

remnant3333 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:54am
post #34 of 107

Some people do not even know what fondant is or what it tastes like. The customer may have never tasted fondant before and was expecting all butter cream cake.  Until I came to this site I really did not know anything about fondant cakes.  That could be why she did not like the cake. I am sure underneath the fondant the cake was moist especially since you cooked 2 of them that same day. I am sure you told this woman the difference between the fondant and butter cream but until they taste it they really do not really know the difference if it is their first experience with a fondant cake.

 

Hopefully things will turn out in your favor. Good luck and sorry you are having to deal with a customer like that. I think everyone who sells cakes eventually runs into people such as this. Good luck.

BrandisBaked Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 3:13am
post #35 of 107

AI would take the cake back without tasting it and give her a full refund. $58 is not a lot and she would likely cost you far more if she bad mouths your business online.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 3:52am
post #36 of 107

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

I would take the cake back without tasting it and give her a full refund. $58 is not a lot and she would likely cost you far more if she bad mouths your business online.

Agreed, this customer is not worth spending another minute of your time on. $58 is a small price to pay to never have to talk to them again.

One person can in fact do a lot of damage to a business's reputation if they are pissed off.

Jess155 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 3:59am
post #37 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandisBaked View Post

I would take the cake back without tasting it and give her a full refund. $58 is not a lot and she would likely cost you far more if she bad mouths your business online.
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Agreed, this customer is not worth spending another minute of your time on. $58 is a small price to pay to never have to talk to them again.

One person can in fact do a lot of damage to a business's reputation if they are pissed off.

So you guys seriously just roll over and take it when a customer pitches a fit?  No wonder people think they'll get a refund...   Seriously, they'll just tell their friends to complain and be reimbursed too.

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 3:59am
post #38 of 107

But they can still bad mouth you and you're out the $58. 

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:06am
post #39 of 107

There will always be one person out there that will give a bad review it could be for no reason at all but it happens.This usually does not break a business unless it is true and it keeps happening to other customers. If this is one person I believe she is safe.Her work will speak for itself and her happy customers will talk over the 1 disrespectful one.The truth always comes out when it comes to food quality. If you stand behind your product it will speak for itself with many followers. So what 1 person is crying in her fondant over a cake.Even if you give her money back she will still talk rude and never come back anyway, it is how these people work no matter how nice you are. People like this are the kind that expect things for free when that is not reality. 1 person will not break your good reputation, it takes more than 1.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:07am
post #40 of 107

A

Original message sent by Jess155

So you guys seriously just roll over and take it when a customer pitches a fit? No wonder people think they'll get a refund... Seriously, they'll just tell their friends to complain and be reimbursed too. 

When I ran my bakery, if a customer was not satisfied I offered their money back, period. This happened twice in 4 years and 700+ orders.

If you are worried about customers complaining just to get a refund you are probably targeting the wrong people, these types of customers tend to weed themselves out since I did not haggle over our relatively high price points.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:15am
post #41 of 107

I would never, ever give someone a refund, no matter how small, just because I didn't feel like dealing with them. $58 might not seem like much, but the reason people think they can get away with that sort of garbage is because someone else, somewhere, is letting them get away with it.

You are also admitting that your product was no good.

 

I have run 4 successful businesses over the past decade, 2 of my own and 2 for other people... one thing I have learned, if people want to bad mouth you, they will. Unless they are really motivated, one person doesn't do that much damage.

If they leave a nasty review online somewhere, you can reply. However, if you refund them, what is your response? "I agreed that my product was crappy so I took a loss and gave back every cent." That's going to do you more damage than you being able to honestly say that the complaint was without substance.

 

I stand behind every single cake, cupcake, cake pop I make, I don't care is it's $3 or $3000.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:18am
post #42 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


When I ran my bakery, if a customer was not satisfied I offered their money back, period. This happened twice in 4 years and 700+ orders.

If you are worried about customers complaining just to get a refund you are probably targeting the wrong people, these types of customers tend to weed themselves out since I did not haggle over our relatively high price points.

I definitely agree with the ' no haggling' bit, stay away from those type of customers, and you stay away from a lot of potential problems.

 

I've had 2 complaints over the past 6 years of having my own cake shop, probably due in high part to the fact that I also refuse to deal with them. However, both of those complaints were utter nonsense, no way am I dismissing the hours of work that I did for them by refunding, 'just because'.

Annabakescakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:29am
post #43 of 107

AI agree scrumdidly! No way am I wasting my time and money for an a-hole that can't be pleased, and didnt want to spend the money to begin with! If I am not making money, I am hanging out with my kids. I I don't let people get away with anything! Even my step MIL likes to run her mouth at the family get together and I'll call her out on it, and nobody says a word, but that thank me later. They act like that because they are allowed to!

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:39am
post #44 of 107

A

Original message sent by scrumdiddlycakes

However, if you refund them, what is your response? "I agreed that my product was crappy so I took a loss and gave back every cent."

IIRC it was something like this: "I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your cake. Our goal is to make sure every customer is satisfied, so in this case I would like to offer you a full refund."

Our business was a little different since we focused on more basic cakes (usually in the $50-100 range) and we had a unique competitive advantage (making allergy-friendly products). Demand was significantly higher than supply for most of our product lines simply due to the nature of our business, but I also did my best to associate our brand with a "premium" mindset and superior customer service for further differentiation in our midmarket segment. This includes a satisfaction guarantee and giving the customer the benefit of the doubt.

That said, if there was a complaint for one of our large orders I would of course investigate to see what the problem was and issue a partial or full refund if warranted, but for small orders it just wasn't worth my time. A $58 cake represents about an hour of work, so if I spend an hour going back and forth with the customer it's essentially the equivalent of a full refund already.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:51am
post #45 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


IIRC it was something like this: "I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your cake. Our goal is to make sure every customer is satisfied, so in this case I would like to offer you a full refund."

Our business was a little different since we focused on more basic cakes (usually in the $50-100 range) and we had a unique competitive advantage (making allergy-friendly products). Demand was significantly higher than supply for most of our product lines simply due to the nature of our business, but I also did my best to associate our brand with a "premium" mindset and superior customer service for further differentiation in our midmarket segment. This includes a satisfaction guarantee and giving the customer the benefit of the doubt.

That said, if there was a complaint for one of our large orders I would of course investigate to see what the problem was and issue a partial or full refund if warranted, but for small orders it just wasn't worth my time. A $58 cake represents about an hour of work, so if I spend an hour going back and forth with the customer it's essentially the equivalent of a full refund already.


Just to clarify, I was in no way meaning to suggest that I thought you refunded people because you made 'crappy' cakes! It was just an example of how a refund could be construed. It's hard to stand behind a product that you refunded, and when you do, it's really the customer who gets to say how things were.

(just in case you thought I was being a judgemental cow, lol)

 

When it's handled professionally, most people are courteous enough not to trash talk, but in the OP's case, the woman doesn't seem too classy.

 

I'm also looking at it from a wedding cake perspective, I do very few small orders, if I had a higher volume of those, I can see how that would potentially change my opinion.

decie Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:00am
post #46 of 107

Sorry for what you are going through, there are people like her everywhere, thank goodness there are not a lot of them and most people respect and are encouraging of the work that goes into doing what we do. I have had this problem also and it isn't pleasant to go through, it makes you greatful for all the good people you come across in this business. Stick to your guns, and all will be well. She needs to produce that cake she says wasn't up to her expectations. You did a wonderful job.

Jess155 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:22am
post #47 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


When I ran my bakery, if a customer was not satisfied I offered their money back, period. This happened twice in 4 years and 700+ orders.

If you are worried about customers complaining just to get a refund you are probably targeting the wrong people, these types of customers tend to weed themselves out since I did not haggle over our relatively high price points.

I think you're lucky word didn't spead about your generous return policy.  BTW I'd like to order a cake...  icon_biggrin.gif

.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:44am
post #48 of 107

ACostco also has a very generous and well-known return policy, and it is one of the most profitable retailers in the world. (I'm comparing general business practices here, not cake quality.)

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 6:21am
post #49 of 107

And did you happen to notice how many people were lining up to return 70" tvs the day after the Super Bowl at Costco? It was a lot. 

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 6:31am
post #50 of 107

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

And did you happen to notice how many people were lining up to return 70" tvs the day after the Super Bowl at Costco? It was a lot. 

That's exactly my point. One of the reasons Costco is so successful is that the return policy's added value due to honest customers (people are more willing to take a chance on a product if they know they can easily return it if they aren't satisfied) significantly outweighs the extra cost incurred by people who abuse the system. As you noted, this extra cost is not trivial.

If the cost was greater than the benefit they would get rid of the return policy entirely or scale it back. They actually did this with computers and TVs, but the 3 month return policy for these products is still far more generous than their competition.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 8:04am
post #51 of 107

Costco's profit margin is only something like 2%, they also don't lose all the money they made on a returned product, some are refunded by their vendors and some are sold to salvage companies.

They quite often only make a couple cents on an item, but because of the thousands of items sold each day, those cents add up quickly. I don't know any cake company that can sell that amount, survive with that profit margin, or salvage any money lost on a returned cake. Or for that matter, one that charges customers over $100 a year just to order from them.

Being willing to go the extra mile to make a customer happy is extremely important in the success of a business, however, I just don't see how costco and a small business that sells wedding cakes can be compared.

fcakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:03pm
post #52 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy 

The problem is you have no way of knowing how she has been storing the cake so if it is dry it is most likely not your fault.  Plus you already know she's a PITA since she haggled with your price.

 

I would not even meet with her.  It is definitely going to lead to an argument and frankly people are a little crazy these days.  Who knows what she might try to do.  I would email her and tell her that upon further consideration you feel the two of you are not going to come to an agreement about the cake.  I would reiterate your policy again - quote her the invoice.  Tell her since you do not have proof that the cake has been stored properly since it left your possession and that 2 other cakes of the exact same recipe plus the scraps you tasted were moist and perfectly fine you are unable to offer her a refund.

 

If you do decide to meet with her take someone with you.  A husband or boyfriend if you have it.  I know that may seem ***ist but sometimes a man is able to able to keep the situation in check.  It's more their nature to not take it personally and keep it business like.  Not saying you can't do that, just my experience.

 

Good luck.  Let us know what happens!
 

 

This is EXACTLY what I was thinking!! I wasn't eager on meeting her and I got a message from her saying she doesn't want to drive all the way just for me to sample the cake. I said I will check the cake and can consider a partial refund, if the cake is indeed dry, specially when I had done the order last minute for her.

 

I was going to take hubby along... because yes, there are crazy people everywhere....and you never know what she might do. 

fcakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 12:07pm
post #53 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzy Sweet 

There will always be one person out there that will give a bad review it could be for no reason at all but it happens.This usually does not break a business unless it is true and it keeps happening to other customers. If this is one person I believe she is safe.Her work will speak for itself and her happy customers will talk over the 1 disrespectful one.The truth always comes out when it comes to food quality. If you stand behind your product it will speak for itself with many followers. So what 1 person is crying in her fondant over a cake.Even if you give her money back she will still talk rude and never come back anyway, it is how these people work no matter how nice you are. People like this are the kind that expect things for free when that is not reality. 1 person will not break your good reputation, it takes more than 1.

 

Agree Izzy Sweet. Every single person who has seen and tasted my work has said it is beautiful and the cakes are delicious. I have had 21 wedding consultations in the past 3 weeks and every bride has been all praise for the cake, even after going back and being in touch through email, so I don't think this 1 woman will ruin anything for me.

 

She also said she is new to the area and doesn't know a lot of people here, and will not have many people at the party, so I think, like one person said on here, she has cake leftover and is trying to get her money back for the leftover cake.

Jess155 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 1:52pm
post #54 of 107

Costco can resell those returned TVs.  They are not out any money.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 3:56pm
post #55 of 107

AThe analogy was from the perspective of how businesses can be successful offering guaranteed satisfaction to customers via their return policy. The fact that Costco is high volume means more customers and more opportunity for abuse of the return policy, but their success indicates that those who abuse the system are a tiny minority and the benefits outweigh the costs.

Some returns can be resold, but Costco is still out the labor involved in dealing with the return, repacking, and restocking if the item is even still in saleable condition. Some returns cannot be resold, like food -- anyone who buys a cake from Costco can go back the following day and get a full refund, even if the cake is gone, but people are basically honest and very few people will actually do this.

It is true that returns will disproportionately impact the bottom line of a low volume business, which is another reason why it's so important to target your marketing at customers who are willing to pay for quality.

Jess155 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:13pm
post #56 of 107

But people who are honest don't go back the next day and get a refund for a cake that was eaten.  Dishonest people do.  You are rewarding dishonesty.  It doesn't really matter what your target market is.  People will willingly spend $500+ on a cake to impress their friends if they know they will be refunded the next day.  I agree it's a minority, thankfully.  But it's the principle of the thing.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:13pm
post #57 of 107

as a consumer i am not attracted at all to a bake shop with a guaranteed return policy

 

i want a bake shop that's gonna deliver first time

 

i have a party to plan and enjoy and i want to hit the mark--i don't get a second chance to celebrate

 

if they have a brilliant return policy that's my sign to go elsewhere

 

imo

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:16pm
post #58 of 107

A

Original message sent by -K8memphis

as a consumer i am not attracted at all to a bake shop with a guaranteed return policy

It really depends on the framing. Obviously the policy is not going to say something like "we'll take it back if it sucks", the message is "we are so confident that you will enjoy our product, we'll give you your money back if you don't".

That's standing behind your product.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:21pm
post #59 of 107

in our line of work we are selling to a fleeting window of opportunity

 

if that is blown for whatever reason it is not really recoverable

 

imo

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:27pm
post #60 of 107

edited to say--this post and the previous two of mine, #57 & #59  are not directed to op--just off on a relate-able tanget re: return policies

 

i don't want my money back i wanted to enjoy my party and eat decadently

 

screw the money just don't screw my moment (you figuratively)

 

it's just not the guarantee i'm looking for in a celebration cake

 

when i buy a car yeah, a tv, a new coat yes

 

you better freaking know i'm getting my money back if you (figurative you) screw my celebration

 

we are marketing a tasty ambiance and sparkle and decadence and aroma and flavor and mood enhancer we are selling to enhance a moment in time

 

when the moment is gone it's all over cannot be replayed

 

that's imo

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