luvscakes Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 8:28pm
post #1 of

AWhat would you do?

I had a client email me and order a 3d unicorn cake a month ago. I do all my payments through Paypal invoicing. Mt invoice has my name, address, phone number etc. on the top.

I spent 16 hours on this cake ( in my photos) and grossly undercharged client as I had never done a 3d horse ( and knew it would be hard to make look right!)

Client has emailed me 11 times about cake this month.

Today was pickup day. I raced home to meet her, only to find a frantic email where client realized I'm in FL and she is in KS. She asked me for a refund or to mail her cake.

I told client I'm sorry she made that mistake, but everything says I'm in FL. ( I was in KS 3 years ago but have deleted all listings for KS that I could- although 3rd party places have collected info and listed me)

Anyway, I donated the cake today to the children's hospital and told client my time and money had already gone into this cake so I could not refund her nor could I ship it ( it would never make it!)

I'm just curious as to how you would handle such a mess up??

49 replies
manddi Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 8:48pm
post #2 of

AReally? She wanted you to ship the cake?

I think you handled it well. A clients mistake does not equate to you losing money.

liz at sugar Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 8:53pm
post #3 of

luvscakes - I probably wouldn't have refunded either.  But when you received her Paypal payment, it should have listed her address as well.  It would have been nice if one of you had caught it.

 

But in the 11 e-mails, no asking directions of how to get to you for pickup?  Seems surprising that someone would enter into an internet transaction like this and have no idea the seller was halfway across the country from them. (????)

 

By the way, your signature line here still says Kansas, too . . .

 

Liz
 

Cakechick123 Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 8:56pm
post #4 of

OMG!! If the paperwork she received (and hopefully signed) has all your details on I would definitely not refund her. Surely you check the address where you have to pick a cake up?

 icon_surprised.gif

the same thing also almost happened to me a while back. There is a company with a similar name about 6 hours away from me, the client accepted my quote via email but wanted me to deliver. At the time the suburb she gave me didn't ring any alarm bells as we have  one in Johannesburg, but thankfully I asked for a street name to calculate the delivery. I realized there was no such street in Johannesburg, but google found one in Durban. At the time I said to my husband I would not have refunded her as my area is clearly stated on my website

reginaherrin Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 9:28pm
post #5 of

I have had some similar experiences.  My bakery's name is Unique Cakes by Regina and it states on my website that I am in Texas as well as on my paypal invoices and in any listing you come across has it as well.  But for some reason I have had tons and tons of Canadians emailing me wanting cakes because they think I am in Regina Canada.  My contact page requires a phone number so if it is not an area code I recognize I will make sure they know I am in Texas.  I have had one go so far as to make the deposit before I realized she did not live in Texas.  I would not have refunded as well since it is her duty to make sure you are close enough to her that she could easily pick it up.  I would ask her if she found a listing that still had you in Kansas though so that you could change that if so.  Also, since she paid via paypal I would be nervous about her disputing the charges.  And if she does there is nothing you can do, I have had a customer dispute charges before and nothing I said made any difference. 

luvscakes Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 9:47pm
post #6 of

AYes, I did email her to ask where she found my info. I have a feeling someone referred me to her, but if not, I need to get it taken care of.

I looked up my PayPal receipt and it doesn't show me her address, just an email and a place for them to give me a message, (at least in the message I get in my inbox.) It might when I log in but I don't do that for every payment/ that would waste my time!

Ugh. It's just a mess. I cannot imagine ordering something custom ( I dunno a dress, a purse?) and not making sure I know where to pick it up. And since all my info is on an invoice I don't ask if they know where to come... I assume as adults and the customer that they have my address. Yikes!

jason_kraft Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 9:51pm
post #7 of

AGenerally it's a good idea to get the phone number and address of the customer to include on the invoice, mostly so you know how to reach the customer in case there is a problem, but in this case you would have realized that the customer was out of state.

I would watch your PayPal account carefully since the customer may end up disputing the charge. PayPal tends to favor the customer so be sure to have your documentation in order.

kaylawaylalayla Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 10:56pm
post #8 of

AAww. What an unfortunate situation for the both of you. I wouldve refunded half because its just a mistake its not like she was trying to take advantage of you. but thats just me and I don't have a cake business.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 11:23pm
post #9 of

I would not have refunded the money. You put a lot of time and work and $ into making the cake. It is unfortunate but you should not LOSE $$ because of her mistake...I hope she is able to find a replacement on short notice icon_sad.gif Also it is not like she is going to be a repeat customer or recommend you to her friends. Any reasonable person would not expect a refund.

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 12:01am

AShe asked you to mail it, and if she paid for it, she's entitled to it, no matter the condition it would arrive. Since it was you who refused to "deliver" (by mailing)her cake, Paypal will give her a refund.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 12:26am

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

She asked you to mail it, and if she paid for it, she's entitled to it, no matter the condition it would arrive. Since it was you who refused to "deliver" (by mailing)her cake, Paypal will give her a refund.

Not necessarily. If the invoice clearly states that the order will be picked up, it would be expected that delivery/shipping would cost extra.

Annabakescakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 12:32am

AYou could always bake a cake, ice it, cover it in fondant make a unicorn horn and throw it in a box and ship it (for cost plus handling).... No on e would know it wasn't a unicorn before it arrived, it will be a mess just the same.

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 1:47am

A

Original message sent by jason_kraft

Not necessarily. If the invoice clearly states that the order will be picked up, it would be expected that delivery/shipping would cost extra.

My guess is that the invoice didn't state that. Regardless, if the client requested shipment, the right thing to do is collect postage and mail it. If it is covered in fondant, it could be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and would arrive in one piece. It wouldn't look as nice but it would still be edible.

BatterUpCake Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 1:48am

I disagree..if your business does not offer shipping and you are not familiar with shipping food products you just open a can of worms.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 2:13am

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

My guess is that the invoice didn't state that. Regardless, if the client requested shipment, the right thing to do is collect postage and mail it. If it is covered in fondant, it could be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and would arrive in one piece. It wouldn't look as nice but it would still be edible.

In order to ensure a cake arrives in one piece you need to package a cake very carefully to ensure the temperature is controlled, and you would probably need to sent it overnight (especially over the summer). Shipping and packaging costs would be in the $100-200 range or more. You can't just wrap it in plastic.

Even if the invoice does not specifically say that the cake will be picked up, OP still has emails from the customer indicating the expectation that the cake would not be shipped.

reginaherrin Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 2:39am

I totally agree that she should not have mailed the cake since it would not arrive in one piece, would be expensive and it wasn't her fault the customer didn't due diligence in finding an appropriate bakery.  But I have to say, if she decides to dispute the charges with paypal they will give her the money back regardless of the situation.  They normally could care less about the vendor they just will favor the buyer.  But who knows, she may not dispute at all.  I had a customer order a 3-d bottle cake, paid for it and never picked it up and never asked for a refund or disputed the charges (which I fully expected would happen). 

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 2:51am

AYou can argue with me all you like, however, I am simply pointing out her error as far as PayPal will be concerned. Customer asked that item be shipped + seller refused = refund.

Regardless of how the cake would have arrived, I would have asked for postage, had the client agree that the condition of the cake would be seriously impacted from shipping, and then send the darn thing.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 2:57am

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

You can argue with me all you like, however, I am simply pointing out her error as far as PayPal will be concerned. Customer asked that item be shipped + seller refused = refund.

Regardless of how the cake would have arrived, I would have asked for postage, had the client agree that the condition of the cake would be seriously impacted from shipping, and then send the darn thing.

That's a good point. If OP did not even offer to ship the cake (with the customer covering the cost) that will probably be grounds for the customer to successfully dispute the charge.

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 3:01am

AEven if you did ship it you'd still be out your money if they filed a dispute because it's clearly not going to be 'as described' on arrival, and they'd get the shipping refunded too so that's even more out of your pocket.

cakestomuch Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 6:18am

ANot sure if you are a commercial business or not, but if you operate under the Florida cottage food law then you must meet the customer in person. That would have solved the problem.

Annabakescakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 6:28am

A

Original message sent by cakestomuch

Not sure if you are a commercial business or not, but if you operate under the Florida cottage food law then you must meet the customer in person. That would have solved the problem.

The plot thickens... So, do you have to take orders on person, or what? I don't get it?

luvscakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 6:54pm

AThanks guys for the input! My invoice DOeS actually state that they are agreeing to pick up cake at the said time.

It is such a bummer as the cake REALLY was magnificent, and I was so excited for birthday girl to see it. I only charged her $100 for it. Pricing for basic 3D shapes normally START at $130 and a horse is ANYTHING but basic! ( it's in my pics)

I personally cannot imagine ordering something and not knowing where the place was, or not paying attention before I handed over money. I mean, if I order a custom suit or purse I'll make sure the place is a) reputable and b) close to where I live. I really have no idea why she would have thought I was still in KS. I don't even know where she got my email? But everywhere it's listed online states I'm in FL.

I really don't hope to battle with PayPal. In the event that were to happen, and they made me refund it, I would switch to a different company to process my online orders.

Thank you for all your help!

sixinarow Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 7:06pm

You did an amazing job on the cake, it is beautiful! I know this is a stress on you right now, but think of the joy the kids at the hospital got to have for a few moments while admiring your amazing cake!!

melodym38 Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 7:15pm

Wow, this is a tough one, but I can say that if she files a dispute with Paypal she will probably win due to the fact you cannot prove that she got the item and if the item is not received Paypal WILL refund NO matter what. Trust me on this one lol

luvscakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 8:09pm

AYes, I currently operate under FL cottage law. And yes, it does state the customer must meet face to face.

I need to make sure the hubby is staying in one place before I invest in the brick and mortar!! :)

Ugh. Not that it matters, but usually, people fill out a form on my website, which requires a phone # . This email came to me directly- and I didn't even think about that until late last night when I was up feeling sick about this. She hasn't responded to my request to know where she found my info though.

Late, late last night I got an email from her asking me to hold the cake "for a while"instead of mail it- until she could get someone to pick it up. I explained that I already took it to the children's hospital and that I can't just " hold" a big cake like this as I carefully plan my orders and need my space in my cake fridge for my other orders. Hers had a filling that must be kept I'm the fridge.

Again, I can only hope she really sees this is her mistake- not mine. She had an invoice with my address, she had all my contact info, and still no bells that I was in another state??

Sassyzan Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 8:28pm

AMaybe she found you on cake central. When I clicked on your name to find the cake photo, the first thing that pops up is "Location: Kansas."

I am not sure this can be totally laid at the customer's feet either. I mean, I think it was just a mistake, not anyone's fault...I don't know...that's a really tough one. And the cake is amazing, btw.

cakesbycathy Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 8:41pm

Did you tell the client her cake was going to be donated before you did it?

If not, I can see where you might have a problem.  She paid for the product and you gave it away before giving her the opportunity to come and get it.  Your reason for doing so is totally fine.  But when she asked you to ship it and you told her you couldn't  that was the time to tell her you were going to get rid of it.  There would be no reason for her to think that you weren't going to hold on to it, if you know what I mean.  Clients don't necessarily understand/assume that you only have a limited amount of space or that you have other orders.

 

I do think this is a mistake, but if all your contact info clearly states that you are in FL then it was the client's responsibility to make sure you were in her same state.  If there is anything out there that could lead her to believe otherwise then you also share partial responsibility for the mix-up.  If that's the case then a small refund would probably be in order.  It is NOT the client's fault/problem that you under priced the cake.
 

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 8:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy View Post

Did you tell the client her cake was going to be donated before you did it?

If not, I can see where you might have a problem.  She paid for the product and you gave it away before giving her the opportunity to come and get it. 

I agree, she needed to be made aware that you were giving it away, since she paid for it you were essentially giving away something that belongs to her, and you need her permission to do that. 

carmijok Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 9:21pm

AI don't know... I think I'd just chalk this up to an expensive lesson, refund the money and take a tax deduction on the donated cake. Look at it this way...you have a great addition to your portfolio...you made some children happy and you learned what to do and not do next time. That poor mom has got a disappointed kid and nothing to show for the money she spent. Who knows...that could have been a real strain on her budget. Does it really matter who is at fault at this point? Anyway it's your call. Sorry this happened to you!

Annabakescakes Posted 7 Jul 2013 , 9:31pm

AI don't mind being a turd, saying that since you broke the rules, and did not meet face to face, then I sincerely hope you refund the money. This is your fault, since if you had been playing by the rules, it wouldn't have happened. I agree she had a disappointed kid and nothing to show for her money. The fact you spent your money and time on it is a moot point.

I suggest you play by the rules or get out of the game.

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