Customer Wants Refund

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

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:36pm
post #61 of 107

but wait--i am off on a tangent--my apologies to op

 

i think op has a client who has buyer's remorse for whatever reason and it's not because of the quality of the cake at all

jennicake Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:52pm
post #62 of 107

The difference between Costco and a bakery though, is a bakery needs to stand behind its own products and quality.  Costco is reselling the products made by others, so offering a refund says nothing about the quality of Costco whereas it might imply something about the quality of a bakery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

The 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.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 4:59pm
post #63 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.

 

jason, you had a very nice niche business and more power to you

 

some of the most aggressive customers i've ever met as a whole are the allergy minded ones -- i can only imagine how grateful they are for the special product, skill and safety you provided--multiplied kudos for that--job well done--and a great example you are

 

however price point and income do not in any way shape or form determine a client's propensity to complain and haggle

 

and the bad manners of those types of clients are also not in any way shape or form dependent on the op's marketing structure, those whom she targets--she is not responsible for their bad behavior

 

and for what it's worth this information is based on over 40 years in the business and at times where more than 700 orders were transacted daily

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:18pm
post #64 of 107

A

Original message sent by jennicake

The difference between Costco and a bakery though, is a bakery needs to stand behind its own products and quality.  Costco is reselling the products made by others, so offering a refund says nothing about the quality of Costco whereas it might imply something about the quality of a bakery.

A good percentage of the merchandise at Costco is its own (Kirkland branded products and fresh food), but even for a resale product the guarantee means that Costco stands behind their decision to stock said product, which is an implicit recommendation. Costco's buyers wouldn't buy the product if they didn't think it was a quality product that would sell.

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:30pm
post #65 of 107

You can't really use Costco as an example for accepting any and all returns. Even they have had to put some limits on their generous return policy because they have become known as the place where you can return anything you want, whenever you want, in whatever condition and people were taking advantage. If it was such a profitable policy to do that, everyone would. But Costco has a unique relationship with the companies it buys it's stock from whereby they can return anything a customer returns, most businesses don't and small scale bakeries certainly don't. Costco doesn't produce the majority of it's Kirkland brand either, they still buy it from manufacturers.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:34pm
post #66 of 107

AThere are different ways to approach this, I'm certainly not suggesting that my philosophy is the only way to do things.

It is interesting that some view a satisfaction guarantee as a negative thing. In my mind it's the exact opposite: if a retailer says "all sales final" with no possibility for refunds, to me that implies a lack of confidence in their product to the point where refunds have started to impact their business and have resulted in a stringent no refunds policy. That's the kind of policy I would expect to see at a clearance store or a going out of business sale.

With a satisfaction guarantee in place, the retailer is on the hook to maintain a high level of quality at all times, or face the consequences of mass returns.

The other facet of this issue that's more relevant to this thread is the time involved in dealing with problem customers. It pays to do a quick cost-benefit analysis in a situation like this, and if you foresee spending more time on the customer than you would save by avoiding a refund, you are better off cutting your losses and issuing the refund. It's true that if the complaint is false you will be rewarding dishonesty, but your job as a business owner is to make money, not to try to punish or change behavior. Obviously this problem customer and any potential customers they refer would be blackballed.

JimmyBoombats Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:47pm
post #67 of 107

Rules I follow

 

If a person comes to me and asks me to change my price or policy, they probably will not be a customer of mine (I will let them go to Wally World). Owned many businesses and this behavior is a big red flag.

 

Second, if they do become my customer, the customer is always right.

 

If a customer screws you over, never have them as a customer again. Don't be a glutton for punishment.

 

It happens so rarely that it never hurt my bottom line.

 

Just the way I do it, not passing judgment, just adding my 3 cents.

 

Everyone have a great afternoon, Jimmy Boombats.

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 5:57pm
post #68 of 107

Ok let me put it this way, and I do believe in a return policy when WARRANTED . It is food a special made item for just that person. To me it is like trying to return a worn bathingsuit.NO RETAILER takes worn bathing suits back for hygienic reasons.They only take them back if it say ripped on first wear or fell apart on first use.You can not take back the bathing suit just because you do not like the colour anymore. In this profession there is a fine line and we have to judge that fine line on what is fact and what is fiction.We all believe in customer satisfaction, that is why we all worry when a cake walks out the door, when we leave a setup.. Places like Costco are huge not a small bakery , small bakery owners have to draw that line or they will be out of business because of refunds on cakes and goods.If one person a week comes back for a refund or even one a month and we just hand over the refund our business is now out of business. If a refund is warranted a refund should be given but if someone changes their mind that is not warranted . if word gets out that a bakery will give back money for a complaint without investigation or because you changed your mind that business might as well close their doors now.

JimmyBoombats Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 7:28pm
post #69 of 107

The problem probably would have never happened if the original price for the cake was firm ( they would have went to Costco and got there refund after the party) . When you give an inch they take a mile, we all know this. If a person doesn't want to pay your price, you do know you can refuse their business.

 

Just Saying

 

 

When petty people come with petty cash they bring petty problems.

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 7:33pm
post #70 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyBoombats 

 

 

When petty people come with petty cash they bring petty problems.

 

Say that 10 times really fast lol

fcakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 7:44pm
post #71 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyBoombats 

The problem probably would have never happened if the original price for the cake was firm ( they would have went to Costco and got there refund after the party) . When you give an inch they take a mile, we all know this. If a person doesn't want to pay your price, you do know you can refuse their business.

 

Just Saying

 

 

When petty people come with petty cash they bring petty problems.

 

You are completely right! She's saying she wants all her money back and her kids said not to order from me next time. 

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 7:44pm
post #72 of 107

A

Original message sent by Izzy Sweet

if word gets out that a bakery will give back money for a complaint without investigation or because you changed your mind that business might as well close their doors now.

I think that's the biggest point of contention here, people just don't act that way in my experience. Maybe I've been spoiled by having good customers or maybe it's a regional thing, I don't know.

I should also clarify that a refund would not be issued if someone just "changes their mind". If the customer stated that there was a quality problem with a cake, and the order was big enough to warrant spending time on an investigation, I would investigate. If it was a small order, they would get the refund.

Jess155 Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 7:58pm
post #73 of 107

Well that's just it - most people don't act that way.  Why are you rewarding the ones that do?  A no questions asked refund policy does nothing for good clients when you have provided them with a quality product.  A policy only benefits underhanded people is a dumb policy.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 7:59pm
post #74 of 107

what i tried to say upthread is that in my experience your niche customer, jk, has been desperate for your particular product so i think that would help dissipate haggling and etc.

 

and on the one hand a refund in 350 cakes is on the high side to me but due to the nature of the ingredients you could not use and the high quality of the formulas you all created 1 in 350 is also a very low refund rate looking at it that way

 

refunds are very rare in caking/baking in my experience

NoniBunyi Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 8:00pm
post #75 of 107

AAbsolutely not. Do not return a single coin. It sounds like she wants the cake for free.

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 8:01pm
post #76 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


I think that's the biggest point of contention here, people just don't act that way in my experience. Maybe I've been spoiled by having good customers or maybe it's a regional thing, I don't know.

I should also clarify that a refund would not be issued if someone just "changes their mind". If the customer stated that there was a quality problem with a cake, and the order was big enough to warrant spending time on an investigation, I would investigate. If it was a small order, they would get the refund.

 

I totally get what you are saying here and I think with the business you had in a specialty product (allergies) you hardly see this. I have not yet (knock on wood) have had to deal with this myself yet but if you give a refund to someone because they did not know how fondant was going to taste the $58 here and there add up after awhile. It is not worth the headache of the $58 to you I get that but for some of us $58 is more flour, more sugar, more advertisement. When the complaint is not warranted than that $58 is very hard to hand over when you have spent time on the cake, be it 5 mins or 5 hrs it is still time you took to make the cake you were asked for. This industry is packed and there is always another shop on every corner it seems these days, good business practice is not just about satisfying the customer it is also about being strong enough to know what you produced for someone is worth what went out.I also think if you wait until last min to order a cake but yet call it the focal point of the event you have just stuck your foot in your mouth. This lady is worth the $58 in the OP's pocket because she did take a last min order for this woman, she produced the cake she asked for on short notice and it is not the OP's fault the children did not like fondant that is on the buyer.If you look at everything this lady has said to the OP it is all about sticking her foot in her mouth. I truly believe this is not a situation of quality control.

 

I do get where you are coming from Jason and that is another way to look at it .

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 8:02pm
post #77 of 107

A

Original message sent by Jess155

Well that's just it - most people don't act that way.  Why are you rewarding the ones that do?  A no questions asked refund policy does nothing for good clients when you have provided them with a quality product.  A policy only benefits underhanded people is a dumb policy.

It does not follow that everyone who complains about the quality of a cake is "underhanded".

I don't believe that the customer is always right, but I do believe in giving the customer the benefit of the doubt.

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 9:25pm
post #78 of 107

I think we all agree that businesses need to have a return policy where there is a fault, in fact in most countries that is the law. It is how refunds are treated when its simply a case of buyers remorse that we seem to disagree on. 

 

I can't see how the OP will avoid giving at least a partial refund now that they've agreed to meet with her. I hope you don't give her a full refund, she's not entitled to one and you shouldn't come off completely out of pocket for something that's not your fault. 

fcakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 10:51pm
post #79 of 107

Well, turns out she doesn't want to meet now, and is asking for her money back so she can get another cake with the same amount... looks like she has birthday parties everyday! What a scammer!

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 10:58pm
post #80 of 107

I knew it. If she does not even want to meet you I am sorry but this is a red Flag..you are so right SCAMMER . this one worked out for its self

fcakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:04pm
post #81 of 107

Thanks Izzy Sweet, but she is still asking for her money and is saying I can speak to her friend who will tell me her opinion of the cake. Doesn't want to get off my back... arghh!

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:11pm
post #82 of 107

frick no! no refund for her!

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:12pm
post #83 of 107

Tell her you already gave her a discount of $x (whatever it was she haggled you down from) and that if she isn't able to produce the cake, there won't be any further discussion.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:13pm
post #84 of 107

I'd stop dealing with her. Just repeat your policy, and say goodbye, and quit responding. If I thought she had a legitimate complaint, I wouldn't do that, but she's just a drama fiend by the sound of things.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:13pm
post #85 of 107

AIs there anything the customer or her friend would say that would change your current position? If not, I would reply with your offer and say that you consider the matter closed.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:13pm
post #86 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by fcakes 

Thanks Izzy Sweet, but she is still asking for her money and is saying I can speak to her friend who will tell me her opinion of the cake. Doesn't want to get off my back... arghh!

 

 

get your friend to tell her friend how good the cake is

 

icon_lol.gif

 

kind of mutated chinese telephone ;)

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:25pm
post #87 of 107

"Dear Whack-a-Doodle customer,

It is unfortunate that my cake did not meet your expectations.  As per our invoice, I am unable to provide you with a refund.  I consider this matter closed."

Sincerely,

Irritated baker"

 

She's not going to meet with you because she either doesn't still have the cake or she knows she can't prove it was stored properly.  Send this last email and then don't respond to her anymore.  If her friend contacts you tell her you can only deal with (the original customer) since the contract was with her.  End of story.
 

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:33pm
post #88 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

 

 

get your friend to tell her friend how good the cake is

 

icon_lol.gif

 

kind of mutated chinese telephone ;)

BWAHAHA love this

Izzy Sweet Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:34pm
post #89 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy 

"Dear Whack-a-Doodle customer,

It is unfortunate that my cake did not meet your expectations.  As per our invoice, I am unable to provide you with a refund.  I consider this matter closed."

Sincerely,

Irritated baker"

 

She's not going to meet with you because she either doesn't still have the cake or she knows she can't prove it was stored properly.  Send this last email and then don't respond to her anymore.  If her friend contacts you tell her you can only deal with (the original customer) since the contract was with her.  End of story.
 

 Exactly.... THE INVOICE!!!!! you offered her cupcakes in the beginning and she refused them.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Feb 2013 , 11:41pm
post #90 of 107

AMake sure to save all written communication and take notes summarizing any phone calls you've had with this customer (while they are still fresh in your mind) along with a timeline in the unlikely event this turns into a small claims case or escalates to TV news.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%