How would you refund?

Decorating By punkin90 Updated 1 Nov 2013 , 3:50pm by punkin90

punkin90 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:10pm
post #1 of 32

I just had a cake disastericon_cry.gif. I delivered a 8x6 tier cake yesterday. It was fine when I met the lady to give her the cake. I opened the box and checked. She put it in her car in the front seat. I looked at the seat and it seemed pretty level with only a slight "tilt". She took the cake home and then back to the party area the next day. I got a call from her saying the cake had "tilted" I am sure from traveling twice in her car. There was a dowel rod inserted. The cake must have jiggled. I thought the dowel was inserted into the cake board firmly. I went to see if I could repair it and honestly the more I tried the worse it seemed to get. It started cracking. So I chose to leave it and offer her a full refund. She only took a small amount back. I don't think this was all my fault.  I wish I had told her to place it level. Although I don't know where she would have put it in her car. I feel horrible. She was so excited about the cake and couldn't have been nicer about it.  Is it then their responsibility? Should I give her a full refund? I am near tears! 

31 replies
-K8memphis Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:14pm
post #2 of 32

for going forward advise your clients to bring a roll of paper towels with them and/or be prepared to give them a roll to set in the seat to level it out-- i mean an empty coke can works too--but paper towels sounds better--quietly add it to your operating cost when it's a 'pickup'


so didja have dowels implanted in the 8" holding up the 6" beside the dowel going through the from top to bottom?


if not, how tall were the tiers?

Embles Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:21pm
post #3 of 32

AI think you were being really kind to offer a full refund!! Cakes are not meant for travelling and even though they have to sometimes all you can do is make them as sturdy as possible. This customer did the damage to the cake, if it was straight when you gave it to her then I would say its 100 percent her responsibility to keep it safe from there. If you bought a bottle of wine at tescos got it home and dropped it on the kitchen floor you wouldnt go back to tescod for a refund because once you had taken it from the shop it is in your hands. Im glad the lady was so nice about it but you delivered exactly what you promised after that its not in your control and u should not have to pay for it.

FromScratchSF Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:21pm
post #4 of 32

If you delivered it to the venue with damage then it's your problem, but think about this:  You go Wolfgang Puck's restaurant.  You order a steak dinner to go.  They hand you the food.  You drive away and go to the tallest building in in your town.  Then take the food and throw it off the top of the building.  Oh noez!  Teh food is teh broken!  Call Wolfgang and tell him the food isn't perfect after being thrown off a building!  Would Wolfgang send come to try and fix it?  And if he couldn't, would he offer a refund?




As a business your responsibility ends as soon as you hand off a perfect cake and if you don't have a signature release for client pick up of tiered cakes, this is your wake-up call that you need one.  It's not your responsibility to make sure they bring an appropriate vehicle to transport it and you have no control over how they drive once they take it away.  If this were me and I got a call from a client that the cake was falling over after they picked it up I'd tell them "I'm so sorry, take photos now while you can and remove the top tier ASAP to prevent further damage".


No refund or discount.  If they wanted a perfect cake delivered to the venue then they should have made arrangements for YOU to deliver!!!


It's too late now, you've already promised money back so you need to honor that.  I'm only telling you how I handle stuff like this.

punkin90 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:26pm
post #5 of 32

Yes, I used straws in the 8" for support and the dowel rod was through to the cake board.

punkin90 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:31pm
post #6 of 32

I did give her the amount she agreed upon. As I said she couldn't have been nicer. I did apologize and also explained that I was pretty sure the damage was caused by not sitting level. Still hate it though.

BrandisBaked Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:35pm
post #7 of 32

AYou did not advise her to keep it level. I think the fault lies with you since anyone outside of the cake world would have no idea what the internal supports were our how easily it would topple.

If I bought a dry clean only dress and there was no label inside telling me so and I washed it regularly and ruined it, I would certainly return it and expect a full refund.

punkin90 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:47pm
post #8 of 32

 I did try to give her a full refund and she would only take  partial. I would feel better if she would have took it all. Of course I always blame myself before anyone else can. I hate that!

-K8memphis Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:49pm
post #9 of 32

even if you tell people to keep it level--they will trot right out to their car and set it on the dang car seat


you really have to do their thinking for them as i mentioned above with paper towels


often people have enough stuff in their car already you just have to look around--hey--hand me that jacket--that coke can, that pair of mittens, that fat paperback book whatever--any little thing that can make up the difference in the slope of the car seat


we did this character cake of a frog i think it was --put it in a half sheet box--this guy came to pick it up and was walking out--got to the door--in one quick motion while we watched open mouthed unable to speak sucking air --he tossed it under his arm like a stack of books sideways and opened the door with his free hand--poof he was gone


we knew we were gonna get a call on that since he held it completely sideways but we never heard a word...


i think the small refund you gave is sufficient--lesson learned--on to bigger and brighter and leveler icon_biggrin.gif

punkin90 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 7:56pm
post #10 of 32

The paper towels is a great idea. I also had a guy stuff a cake under his arm. I never heard anything but he was a friend so hopefully he realized what happened if he had a mess! I have that 1st wedding cake coming up this weekend and yes I will be delivering! Although I am still a little nervous and today's events sure doesn't help any.

remnant3333 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 8:16pm
post #11 of 32

It is not your fault. I hear a lot of stories of people picking up their cakes and having a mishap. Once it leaves you it is the customers responsibility. Don't beat yourself up too bad about this.

punkin90 Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 8:36pm
post #12 of 32

Thanks! You all have made me feel a little better. A lesson learned!

ajwonka Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 3:21am
post #13 of 32

For the future, you may want to consider adding travel guidelines to your contract.  Our clients have to initial & sign that the cake will need to ride flat on the floor of the vehicle (never on the seat!) when they place their order.  We both initial the condition of the cake at pick-up.

imadreamer702 Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 4:17am
post #14 of 32

AInstead of using straws, I now use the plastic dowel rods. I have used straws, and I really believed they would do the trick because I watched some tutorials and saw other people use straws. However, I had the same problem with a few of my cakes slanting/falling apart completely..... ugh it was so terrible. But! I have learned! I now stack my cakes like Edna De La Cruz . Go to to watch her tutorial. Since I started stacking my cakes "her way", my tiered cakes are sooo much more sturdy. As far as the refund.... I feel like its my responsibility to make sure that the cake is as ready as it can be for the clients who may not realize how delicate the cakes need to be treated. I have to make it as sturdy as I can for them, remind them to keep it level, drive slow, etcetcetc.... They don't know how delicate they need to be with their cakes. They really have no idea. If I knew that I did everything in my power to keep that cake sturdy, and then the cake just "magically" started to tilt over, I wouldn't give a refund. I would KnOW it wasn't my fault. But if not, if I thought that in any way it was my fault, I have offered a free cake to make up for the one that. I - Yes, "I" ruined ( like when I expected straws to hold up my tiers) that was totally my fault...

punkin90 Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 10:29am
post #15 of 32

Thanks for the info on Edna De La Cruz. I will definitely check that out. I did try to give a full refund and she would not take it. She did take a partial. I do take responsibility for not telling her about driving slowly, keep on a flat surface, etc. Although she had no where else to put it in her car but in her trunk. She mentioned that later and that she was worried about it sliding around. The thing that I didn't realize was that she had to drive the cake all the way back to her house and then back to a party the next day. I could have took it to her but she didn't say anything but maybe I should have asked. I know that if she had got the cake at a supermarket they wouldn't have said a thing to her about transportation but I want to do better than that of course. I have since typed information on a sheet I plan to tape to the cake box just in case I forget to tell someone how delicate cakes are.

AZCouture Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 1:44pm
post #16 of 32

ADon't blame the straws, that's what holds up every one of my cakes. :D

knlcox Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 1:54pm
post #17 of 32

What type of straws do you use? I've been using dowels and I want to try straws but I'm unsure as to what kind to get that will hold up heavy tiers?? 

punkin90 Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 2:07pm
post #18 of 32

I usually get the thicker, bigger ones. I really don't think that was the problem with this cake. I think it wasn't sitting level and maybe the ride jostled it causing the problem. I had it chilled and when she took it from me it was fine. She was so excited about the birthday cake for her daughter. I hate that it happened.

AZCouture Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 2:14pm
post #19 of 32

ABoba or bubble tea straws. I get them fron Boba Tea Direct.

imadreamer702 Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 6:14pm
post #20 of 32

AI have heard those are really great straws to use, but I personally haven't tried them. I do blame my straws and my silly thinking that they ( the flimsy, very unsturdy, wide-yes, but not heavy-duty-enough kind of straws that I used from Big Lots) were DeFiNiTeLy the reason my cakes toppled over and fell apart. I will never ever ever try to use those again. I would like to try those bobo straws or whatever you call them, but, right now I'm happy with my dowels. They never fail me.

Chefhotmama Posted 24 Mar 2013 , 6:41pm
post #21 of 32

AIt was really nice of you to offer a refund. Sounds like the client was at fault.

RoyalCreamery Posted 4 Apr 2013 , 8:14pm
post #22 of 32

ADoes anyone have a signature release form and/or traveling guidelines they wouldn't mind sharing??

pghritchie Posted 30 May 2013 , 4:38pm
post #23 of 32

You are very kind.  I ALWAYS tell my customers that I prefer to deliver any stacked cakes, but if they is no longer my responsibility if it is ruined once it is in their vehicle.  I made this HUGE graduation cake and a lady wanted to take it all the way from Chesapeake VA to James Madison University in the back seat of a Toyota Camry!!!!!!  I doweled this thing to death!!!  But I still warned her that it might not survive the hills, turns, stops, and starts because I have no idea how she drives!  Duke Dog was made of rice crispies and modeling chocolate and was heavy!  The entire thing weighed 55 lbs!  I know it was put together amazingly well and I wouldn't hesitate to deliver it I always tell my matter how stable I think it is....IT IS STILL JUST CAKE!!! 


punkin90 Posted 30 May 2013 , 8:07pm
post #24 of 32

Do you know if the cake made it to JMU? I just had someone who wanted me to make a 2 tier cake that she is going to drive 5 hours with! After my experience with the cake that didn't survive the small trip, I told her it would be best if I gave her the cake in 2 separate boxes and she stacked it once she got to her destination. I know she wanted me to still have it stacked when I delivered it to her but I told her no.

punkin90 Posted 31 Oct 2013 , 6:35pm
post #26 of 32

The cake made it 5 hours away! I put wooden dowels in ( I usually use straws) and a center dowel. Phew! Had my fingers crossed.

punkin90 Posted 31 Oct 2013 , 11:18pm
post #28 of 32

This is an old thread. I was trying to get a feeling of how I should handle the situation. I did take the blame and offered a full refund to the customer but she would only take partial which makes me think that she realized she may be partially to blame. I did look at her seat and it looked pretty flat. Only a very slight tilt. I do believe I mentioned that it should be sitting on a flat surface but there was no where else to sit it. I really think some of the problem was due to her driving it up a curvy road and then back down the next day. Which I had no idea she would be doing. I value everyone's opinion on CC and believe me I am always SURE I tell people now that cakes have to sit on a flat surface. I have told one in particular every time she picks a cake up it has to sit flat. The other day she picked one up and she put it in the back seat of her SUV. I don't think people really understand how delicate cakes are. I feel like I am preaching to them.

howsweet Posted 1 Nov 2013 , 2:48am
post #29 of 32

I give them a speech and look worried lol. I wasn't trying to emphasize what happened as you clearly took the blame-- I just couldn't believe some of the responses you got. 

AZCouture Posted 1 Nov 2013 , 3:41am
post #30 of 32


Original message sent by howsweet

I give them a speech and look worried lol. I wasn't trying to emphasize what happened as you clearly took the blame-- I just couldn't believe some of the responses you got. 

hey, all that was missing was some nasty name calling, a couple of "omg I can't believe the customer was that stupid!", and the obligatory "put her on the no cake for you" list. Did I cover the major ones? Ha ha!

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