inspiredbymom Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 5:59pm
post #1 of

Last year, I had a consult with a bride and her mother.  They loved our cake and put down a deposit.  They wanted a wedding cake and cupcakes for the guests.  Today, I received an email stating that they want to change the order.  They want us to do the cake but want someone else to do the cupcakes.  

 

In the past, I was asked to do a dummy cake for a wedding with someone else making servings for the guests.  I turned it down before we even consulted.  If the other bakers cakes were not good, I didn't want someone thinking that we made it if someone asked "who made your wedding cake?".  

 

Now it is happening again!  Only this time, they have had their consultation, they placed their deposit to hold the date.  They also want us to make a real cake so some of our cake will be there but someone else's cake will be there too only in a different form.  They will be cupcakes so people will know the difference.  I am torn.  Do I tell her "no thank you" and give her deposit back or should I just hope that nobody will confuse some other bakers cake for our cake?  I am really torn.  

 

Advice please!  

21 replies
jason_kraft Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 6:20pm
post #2 of

AIf you don't feel comfortable with someone else's cupcakes there you can tell the customer, but I would refund the deposit since it's your choice to cancel the order.

Another option would be finding out who is making the cupcakes and checking the reviews for that vendor. If the cupcakes will be made by an unlicensed baker you could talk to the venue to see if they will even allow them to be served at the event.

Bluehue Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 6:40pm
post #3 of
Quote:

Originally Posted by inspiredbymom 
Hi inspiredbymom

I have strong views on this kind of arrangement  requested by customers....for the exact same reasons as you posted below.

No, i don<t supply one cake or Cupcakes only to have another Baker/Caker do the other half of the order.

My reasons are... no two Bakers/Cakers make the exact same cakes - or decorate in the exact same way.

Sadly, if half of the order is not up to par, then your good name and reputation can be harmed due to the other suppliers downfall.

If your customer is going to be demanding and wants her cake order completed in this manner - then i would offer a refund informing them that this is not your policy. Yes, you may loose the order - but you could loose more than that if the cupcakes (in this particular situation) aren't up to scratch.

 

I was asked to decorate someone else's fruit cake... which i turned down.

Imagine if the fruit cake was dry and horrid... no one at the wedding would put their hand up to claim it - instead i would/could get the blame. Not worth the hassle and drama that goes with this type of wish from a customer.  The Mother of the Bride even phoned me twice, asking me to reconsider... the second phone call i bluntly told her AGAIN my reasons and left it at that... some just don't like No for an answer..

No way would they walk into a florist and slap some flowers on the counter and say...arrange these for my wedding.

No way would they have a wedding gown made by someone and then say - Ohhh leave the hem, we will take that up.

Same goes for us Bakers and Cakers...its either all or nothing.... or it should be.

 

 

Last year, I had a consult with a bride and her mother.  They loved our cake and put down a deposit.  They wanted a wedding cake and cupcakes for the guests.  

 

Today, I received an email stating that they want to change the order.  They want us to do the cake but want someone else to do the cupcakes.  

 

In the past, I was asked to do a dummy cake for a wedding with someone else making servings for the guests.  I turned it down before we even consulted.  If the other bakers cakes were not good, I didn't want someone thinking that we made it if someone asked "who made your wedding cake?".  

 

Now it is happening again!  Only this time, they have had their consultation, they placed their deposit to hold the date.  They also want us to make a real cake so some of our cake will be there but someone else's cake will be there too only in a different form.  They will be cupcakes so people will know the difference.  I am torn.  Do I tell her "no thank you" and give her deposit back ...Yes, do this...

 

or should I just hope that nobody will confuse some other bakers cake for our cake?

I don;t think that's going to happen...you have your style and another Caker has theirs...  I am really torn.  

 

Advice please!  

 

Bluehue

Annabakescakes Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 7:25pm
post #4 of
Quote:

I was asked to decorate someone else's fruit cake... which i turned down.

Imagine if the fruit cake was dry and horrid... no one at the wedding would put their hand up to claim it - instead i would/could get the blame. Not worth the hassle and drama that goes with this type of wish from a customer.  The Mother of the Bride even phoned me twice, asking me to reconsider... the second phone call i bluntly told her AGAIN my reasons and left it at that... some just don't like No for an answer..

No way would they walk into a florist and slap some flowers on the counter and say...arrange these for my wedding.

No way would they have a wedding gown made by someone and then say - Ohhh leave the hem, we will take that up.

Same goes for us Bakers and Cakers...its either all or nothing.... or it should be.

 

Oh yeah, I would like to see someone plunk down flowers and try to get them arranged! That is a very good comparison!

 

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 8:15pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

 

Oh yeah, I would like to see someone plunk down flowers and try to get them arranged! That is a very good comparison!

 

It actually happens a lot! I have a family member that is a florist, and she gets calls ALL the time from brides wanting to order roses from costco and have her arrange them.

We cakers aren't the only ones that people try to nickle and dime, lol.

 

I agree with the others, I don't provide cake/cupcakes to an event unless I am the only baker providing them.

I would talk to her and let her know it's your policy to be the only baker, and I would explain why. It can be done very professionally, it doesn't sound like you're bad mouthing the other baker, of course. And I would offer the deposit back, since like Jason said, since it is your choice to cancel.

kikiandkyle Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 8:18pm
post #6 of

And maybe add this to the terms and conditions of your contract, so that if someone else tries it in the future you won't have to refund the deposit.

inspiredbymom Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 8:30pm
post #7 of

Thank you all for your responses!  I was just gearing up to talk to her and offer her the deposit when I received an email from her cancelling my services.  I really don't know what happened or why, but I get to keep the deposit!  icon_biggrin.gif  I am sure that I will eventually hear the scoop!  

 

I am glad that I am not the only one who feels this way about two bakers/one wedding.  I thought maybe I was just being a cake snob!  I didn't want to be thought of that way but I don't want someone else's liability!  

 

Thanks again all!  I appreciate it!

jason_kraft Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 8:31pm
post #8 of

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

And maybe add this to the terms and conditions of your contract, so that if someone else tries it in the future you won't have to refund the deposit.

That sounds good in theory, but from the customer's perspective it seems pretty hostile. People don't like their money to be held hostage, and if they decide to continue with the order to avoid losing the deposit they may just bring in outside cupcakes anyway or retaliate by complaining about the quality of the cake and stopping payment on a check or disputing the CC charge.

jason_kraft Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 8:32pm
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by inspiredbymom

I was just gearing up to talk to her and offer her the deposit when I received an email from her cancelling my services.  I really don't know what happened or why, but I get to keep the deposit!  

Is the customer clear that she is forfeiting her deposit by cancelling the order?

kikiandkyle Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 8:49pm

I'm sure that offering the deposit back as a gesture of goodwill (minus a fee for the tasting), assuming it's not too close to the booked date, goes a long way for customer relations. But I don't think businesses should refund as a matter of policy, and stating it is non-refundable in the terms covers those occasions when you don't think a refund is warranted. 

annabananana Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 9:09pm

AWhy the heck would people expect there money back if they cancel? That just seams plain stupid to me. Everybody knows you don't get the deposit back and anyone who tries it are the ones being hostile. What an imbecilic thought. Of course there are people who will try but the vendors who give them.back are the ones with a problem. Reminds me of a neighbor who would return her kids clothes back to the store when they grew out of them. For real. The store always did it, so she kept coming back to do it again.

jason_kraft Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 9:13pm

A

Original message sent by annabananana

Why the heck would people expect there money back if they cancel?

It depends on the contract. If the contract does not specifically say that the deposit is non-refundable, it's a valid question. The customer also may not have read the contract very carefully. In any case, it's better to sort this out now instead of waiting for things to escalate (in the case of a misunderstanding).

It's also probably best to avoid calling the customer names too. ;)

inspiredbymom Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 9:14pm

She is fully aware that the deposit to save the date was just that, to save the date.  She also mentioned it in the email that she sent to me cancelling.  I was going to offer it back because I thought I would have to break the contract, but that was not the case.  The "save the date" money is to hold the date and not accept anything else that date.  She had not finished her decisions on the size of cake yet so we did not get the 1/2 down yet.  It was a work in progress but we have had many hours in the last six months in correspondence and consults.  I feel better about it (other than not doing a 380-400 serving wedding!) and now know to add that to my contract!  I have already turned down several orders for that weekend.  I will follow up with those and see if anyone is still wanting to book.  It is still 6 months away!  

 

Ah, the joys!  Deep breath and roll on!

jason_kraft Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 9:18pm

A

Original message sent by inspiredbymom

She is fully aware that the deposit to save the date was just that, to save the date.  She also mentioned it in the email that she sent to me cancelling.  

In that case it shouldn't be a problem, glad to hear things got resolved so easily.

kikiandkyle Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 9:36pm

I'm guessing her cupcake person had a no co-star rule too...

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 11:41pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by inspiredbymom 

She is fully aware that the deposit to save the date was just that, to save the date.  She also mentioned it in the email that she sent to me cancelling.  I was going to offer it back because I thought I would have to break the contract, but that was not the case.  The "save the date" money is to hold the date and not accept anything else that date.  She had not finished her decisions on the size of cake yet so we did not get the 1/2 down yet.  It was a work in progress but we have had many hours in the last six months in correspondence and consults.  I feel better about it (other than not doing a 380-400 serving wedding!) and now know to add that to my contract!  I have already turned down several orders for that weekend.  I will follow up with those and see if anyone is still wanting to book.  It is still 6 months away!  

 

Ah, the joys!  Deep breath and roll on!


A pain in the butt, but glad it all got resolved seemingly drama free! My deposit is half of the total, a save-the-date deposit is definitely yours to keep, glad you did!

Annabakescakes Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 2:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by annabananana 

Why the heck would people expect there money back if they cancel? That just seams plain stupid to me. Everybody knows you don't get the deposit back and anyone who tries it are the ones being hostile. What an imbecilic thought. Of course there are people who will try but the vendors who give them.back are the ones with a problem. Reminds me of a neighbor who would return her kids clothes back to the store when they grew out of them. For real. The store always did it, so she kept coming back to do it again.

I knew people that would return year old, used shoes to Walmart. icon_confused.gif They never had to buy any for full price. As long as the company has policies in place that don't prevent it, there will be people to take advantage.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 2:11am

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

I knew people that would return year old, used shoes to Walmart. :?  They never had to buy any for full price. As long as the company has policies in place that don't prevent it, there will be people to take advantage.

Retailers do have policies in place to prevent this, they track returns based on the bar code on the receipt (or based on driver's license number if there is no receipt) and reject returns once they reach a certain threshold. There are even third-party companies that contract their services to retailers and maintain central databases that track return activity across multiple retailers.

Annabakescakes Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 2:15am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

And maybe add this to the terms and conditions of your contract, so that if someone else tries it in the future you won't have to refund the deposit.

That sounds good in theory, but from the customer's perspective it seems pretty hostile. People don't like their money to be held hostage, and if they decide to continue with the order to avoid losing the deposit they may just bring in outside cupcakes anyway or retaliate by complaining about the quality of the cake and stopping payment on a check or disputing the CC charge.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

And maybe add this to the terms and conditions of your contract, so that if someone else tries it in the future you won't have to refund the deposit.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inspiredbymom 

I was just gearing up to talk to her and offer her the deposit when I received an email from her cancelling my services.  I really don't know what happened or why, but I get to keep the deposit!  

Is the customer clear that she is forfeiting her deposit by cancelling the order?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

I'm sure that offering the deposit back as a gesture of goodwill (minus a fee for the tasting), assuming it's not too close to the booked date, goes a long way for customer relations. But I don't think businesses should refund as a matter of policy, and stating it is non-refundable in the terms covers those occasions when you don't think a refund is warranted. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by annabananana 

Why the heck would people expect there money back if they cancel? That just seams plain stupid to me. Everybody knows you don't get the deposit back and anyone who tries it are the ones being hostile. What an imbecilic thought. Of course there are people who will try but the vendors who give them.back are the ones with a problem. Reminds me of a neighbor who would return her kids clothes back to the store when they grew out of them. For real. The store always did it, so she kept coming back to do it again.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

Quote:
Originally Posted by annabananana 

Why the heck would people expect there money back if they cancel?

It depends on the contract. If the contract does not specifically say that the deposit is non-refundable, it's a valid question. The customer also may not have read the contract very carefully. In any case, it's better to sort this out now instead of waiting for things to escalate (in the case of a misunderstanding).

It's also probably best to avoid calling the customer names too. icon_wink.gif

based on this conversation, I don't see where Annabanana called any customers names.... I reread this a couple times and I honestly thought that she was saying that the customer has more sense than to demand the deposit back, and that you were having an imbecilic thought to think that the customer is going to be that stupid... I could be wrong though.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 2:24am

AThe highlighted portion of my post above was general advice.

Sweet_Cakes Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 11:11am

Thanks for this post...I'm able to use this experience to put refunds and deposit information in my contract. Glad it worked out for you!

BatterUpCake Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 12:46pm

"That sounds good in theory, but from the customer's perspective it seems pretty hostile. People don't like their money to be held hostage, and if they decide to continue with the order to avoid losing the deposit they may just bring in outside cupcakes anyway or retaliate by complaining about the quality of the cake and stopping payment on a check or disputing the CC charge."

If you have a stellar repuattion one person badmouthing you will not hurt your business. And as stated by someone else you refuse business based on the order. The amount of time you put in a cake is not just baking and frosting. I go to the bridal store to get swatches to match the colors, do lots of research and right now I have to recreate a brides dress from fondant so I spent a lot of time making a dressmakers dummy from paper mache.

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