puddles_gal Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 3:38pm
post #1 of

To make a long story short, I made a pirate ship cake for a client, and when I got up this morning, it had fallen apart at the front and at the back. I emailed her right away explaining what happened,apologized profusely, and offered a discount on her next cake if she ever ordered one again. She did not pay for this cake in advance and I did not get her to sign a contract.

  However, she asked if I could make just a normal buttercream cake and add the fondant decorations on it, and I agreed. However, do I still charge her for this second cake, seeings how I wasn't able to present her with the first cake? She is coming to pick up the cake in a couple of hours...

29 replies
Tresor Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:13pm
post #2 of

Unfortunately, you cannot charge for the second cake. You agreed to sell/deliver one complete cake. So if it took several trial, mistakes, accidents, whatever you want to call it...you have to deliver a perfect cake.

That said, you discounting the next will go along way in mending fences. Both you and her will walk away proud. Her for picking the right decorator who will follow thru and deliver! You, for having the clients that will keep returning and bring many more clients! Sorry that it may cost you time and material, but it really is worth it. We have all learned the hard way at times ...wish you the best!

JackieDryden Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:18pm
post #3 of

I would still charge something.  You didn't offer to do another cake for free, they asked you to make another cake.  Otherwise, had they not asked, I would have tried to fix the pirate ship cake best I could and given them that for free!  I did that once on a 3 tier topsy turvy cake ~ all buttercream, center support broke, cake slid off in the box smashing the sides.  I fixed as best I could, and they picked it up for no charge.  What else was as I gonna do but trash it?  Bt to have to make another cake, start to finish, yes I'd recoup my cost on that one.  They would still have to fork over some $ even if they went to the grocery store and picked up another cake.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:22pm
post #4 of

yes of course charge her for it

-K8memphis Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:25pm
post #5 of

and i would try & salvage what's left of the the pirate ship to put together the next cake for her

 

carve out the 'cake' inside the ship--ice it & toss on the decor

 

and charge her yes you should imo

motherofgrace Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:25pm
post #6 of

why would you charge her for the second cake? I wouldnt accept a fallen apart cake. Your mistakes not hers.

Jess155 Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:29pm
post #7 of

No way should you charge for the second cake.  It not her fault that you did not deliver what was promised.  It's not what she wanted originally. 

-K8memphis Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:30pm
post #8 of

maybe--i mean what fell apart--fondant fell off or cake disintegrated & cracked all over??

 

when you called and told her it's all over--y'all were even at that point--both of you are disappointed and she's not out money but you're out for the lot of it

 

done

 

she orders another cake--game on--

 

work even more for free if you want but i firmly would not

 

if you can't charge her then why do it

 

in my opinion--charge her for a cake not a sculpture

 

looks like a hot topic party.gif

jason_kraft Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:31pm
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by Tresor

Unfortunately, you cannot charge for the second cake. You agreed to sell/deliver one complete cake. So if it took several trial, mistakes, accidents, whatever you want to call it...you have to deliver a perfect cake.

This. The cost of baking a new simple BC cake and transferring the decorations is trivial and not worth further damaging your relationship with this customer.

If I was the customer and was told that I would have to pay for the second cake when I arrived, I would probably leave without paying and pick up a cake at Costco instead anyway.

motherofgrace Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:32pm

It is not her fault that the OP did not make her sign a contract. If she is in it for business (or whatever) a client ordered something and it is NOT being delivered. The OP should have offered a simple cake from the start. The client is out of a cake, at this point it doesnt matter what the OP is out, esspecially if she doesnt make it right.

kkmcmahan Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:36pm

Just trying to understand in case I find myself in a similar situation.  Since the customer never paid for the first cake which fell apart, they will get the second cake for free.  So there is no charge for either cake or will the customer pay a discounted price of the first cake?  I'm not sure I understand why the customer should get a cake for no charge at all.  I would think discounting the cake since it was not what was ordered would be good, at least enough to cover the ingredients of the second cake.
 

motherofgrace Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:39pm

she is getting it free becasue it is no where near what she originally ordered. In this case as a customer, I am not going to pay for something I didnt want in the first place. And YES I would just go down the street to walmart at that point, becasue the service would be about that same IMO, if I was charged.

.

jason_kraft Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:41pm

AThere's also the fact that you agreed to make the second cake over the phone without discussing price. The time to ask about a price was when you were talking to the customer and negotiating a solution, not when the customer shows up to pick up the cake (when she is presumably on the way to the party and would have to scramble at the last minute to find a replacement).

kkmcmahan Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:41pm

Thanks Motherofgrace, that seems reasonable when explained!
 

motherofgrace Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:44pm

no problem :) I am just trying to look at it from both sides

 

OP/ Any baker- Made a mistake, and should make it right

 

Customer- Is only looking for a solution and wants what they ordered

 

:)

puddles_gal Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:55pm

Wow, what a debate! Lol. I honestly think my client is going to insist on paying for it anyways, as she's just that kind of person. I understand both sides of the coin, its just hard deciding what is right for the both of us, as I wouldn't want something like this to affect future orders. I have to say I am still on the fence, as everyone here makes a lot of valid points! 

jason_kraft Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 4:58pm

A

Original message sent by puddles_gal

Wow, what a debate! Lol. I honestly think my client is going to insist on paying for it anyways, as she's just that kind of person.

It's great to have that kind of customer...perhaps you could put the ball in the her court by saying that she can pay whatever she feels the second cake is worth.

puddles_gal Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 5:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


It's great to have that kind of customer...perhaps you could put the ball in the her court by saying that she can pay whatever she feels the second cake is worth.

 

What a great idea Jason! I think I will let her take the initiative on this one-if she offers to pay, great, and if not, I will be fine with that too. 

motherofgrace Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 5:09pm

I like jason's idea :) let HER offer :)

puddles_gal Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 5:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherofgrace 

I like jason's idea :) let HER offer :)

 

 

I was kinda gonna do that anyways. I'm not a pushy in-your-face kind of person. I know that if I had ordered a cake from someone and it had got wrecked and they took the time to fix it the best to their ability, I would still want to pay. I'll wait and see what happens I guess! Thanks everyone for your help- you guys rock!

Apti Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 5:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


It's great to have that kind of customer...perhaps you could put the ball in the her court by saying that she can pay whatever she feels the second cake is worth.


Good idea.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 5:50pm

that's a good idea but it tends to put client on the spot to come up with an amount

 

as a customer she might think--omg--do i pay for the ship that sank too or what?

 

i mean of course she doesn't but unless you spell it out that might cross her mind y'know

 

everybody feels bad about the storm at sea thar she blows ;)

 

i would have an invoice ready for what the new cake might cost in a perfect world

 

and then in her presence write 'discounted' on the invoice

 

that way she has fair market value to work with  

 

and you have an easy out to kiss it goodbye as much or as little as you want/feel the traffic can bear

 

keeps you both from hemming and hawing--more professional i think

 

to me if it was a storefront bakery it would be completely different

 

since you have a relationship with her--you can feel it out this way maybe

vgcea Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 6:30pm

When I offer a client something, and find that I am not able to deliver, I don't feel that the customer should have to pay for my shortcomings. OP, you're lucky you're not dealing with a diva, because this situation could be worse. I would charge her the price of the simple cake, and hand her both. So she is in essence getting a discount on the cake she really wanted, and the second cake as my goodwill. 

 

I'm never one for handing out free stuff when they are not warranted but in this case I would bend over backwards to make this right. She had her mind set on something she's no longer getting, I'd do everything to ensure she's GLAD the first cake flopped. LOL.

 

As much as putting the customer on the spot for deciding what to pay sounds like a good idea, I'm against it in this situation. You're the professional, you're the one who screwed up. Own it.

 

A part of me feels like this "let her decide what to pay" as an option is on the table because OP knows the customer is a nice person. If you had a diva coming to pick up that cake, you would be scrambling for damage control. Don't take advantage of her kindness.

 

-- signed, VGCEA

President, Divas Anonymous.

Sassyzan Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 6:57pm

AI agree with vgcea. The customer is not responsible for coming up with a fair price. That would really make me feel uncomfortable having to name a price. I'd pay oo much and resent it later and probably avoid calling you in the future because if it. I would give her both cakes, charge her for the second simple one, and offer a discount on a future cake to try to preserve a future relationship.

puddles_gal Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 7:07pm

So glad that everything is over! My client did email me before pickup and asked how much the cake was,so I figured because she asked, she had every intention of paying for the cake. I quoted her a discounted price for the second cake and she was fine with it. So fine with it that she loved the second cake and even gave me a generous tip! She was nothing but understanding , and I couldn't ask for a better client, and I was sure to let her know that i appreciate her being so fabulous about it. 

    Yes, there are many divas out there, and I'm lucky she wasn't one of them. I'm extremely relieved that it worked out in the end! 

Annabakescakes Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 7:14pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassyzan 

I agree with vgcea. The customer is not responsible for coming up with a fair price. That would really make me feel uncomfortable having to name a price. I'd pay oo much and resent it later and probably avoid calling you in the future because if it.
I would give her both cakes, charge her for the second simple one, and offer a discount on a future cake to try to preserve a future relationship.

Hand me a paddle, because I am in the same boat as you! I would be resentful and feel stupid if the so called professional asked me to pay what I thought it was worth! I would just want a price! 

-K8memphis Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 7:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea 

When I offer a client something, and find that I am not able to deliver, I don't feel that the customer should have to pay for my shortcomings. OP, you're lucky you're not dealing with a diva, because this situation could be worse. I would charge her the price of the simple cake, and hand her both. So she is in essence getting a discount on the cake she really wanted, and the second cake as my goodwill. 

 

I'm never one for handing out free stuff when they are not warranted but in this case I would bend over backwards to make this right. She had her mind set on something she's no longer getting, I'd do everything to ensure she's GLAD the first cake flopped. LOL.

 

As much as putting the customer on the spot for deciding what to pay sounds like a good idea, I'm against it in this situation. You're the professional, you're the one who screwed up. Own it.

 

A part of me feels like this "let her decide what to pay" as an option is on the table because OP knows the customer is a nice person. If you had a diva coming to pick up that cake, you would be scrambling for damage control. Don't take advantage of her kindness.

 

-- signed, VGCEA

President, Divas Anonymous.

 

 

wait wait

 

op is clearly fully fully owning it

 

i think since op started the thread and gave us all this information in the first place--she's completely aware of screwing up

 

in no way does she intend to take advantage of anyone--

 

it just evolved that even though initially it sounded like a good idea to let the client decide the amount yeah no don't do it because it puts the client on the spot

 

it was never her intent to put the client on the spot in any way

 

she is not taking advantage of the client

vgcea Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 7:45pm

I didn't say that she was taking advantage, I said she would be if she put the client on the spot. Owning it includes making the pricing decision rather than tossing it up and hoping the client catches it one way. Not accusing the OP of any wrong-doing.

jason_kraft Posted 9 Mar 2013 , 9:28pm

A

Original message sent by vgcea

As much as putting the customer on the spot for deciding what to pay sounds like a good idea, I'm against it in this situation. You're the professional, you're the one who screwed up. Own it.

To me, allowing the customer to offer what they think is fair is owning it. The customer already knows the value of the cake she ordered, and the only one who can accurately quantify the cost of not having the cake she wanted is the customer.

In this case it worked out since OP overestimated the difference in value between the two cakes (hence the tip), but if OP had set the price of the second cake too high the customer would either pay it and be resentful, or leave, buy another cake, and be resentful.

If this happens to make the customer uncomfortable it should be easy enough to read that and quickly provide a starting point (such as the cost of ingredients).

Apti Posted 10 Mar 2013 , 5:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddles_gal 

So glad that everything is over! My client did email me before pickup and asked how much the cake was,so I figured because she asked, she had every intention of paying for the cake. I quoted her a discounted price for the second cake and she was fine with it. So fine with it that she loved the second cake and even gave me a generous tip! She was nothing but understanding , and I couldn't ask for a better client, and I was sure to let her know that i appreciate her being so fabulous about it. 

    Yes, there are many divas out there, and I'm lucky she wasn't one of them. I'm extremely relieved that it worked out in the end! 

What a lovely resolution to the problem!  Thank you for letting us know.

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