rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 1:17am

I have been shipping out cookies for several years.  I have the way I prepare, package, and wrap them down to a science.  One time I had 1 cookie break in transit, and since then, I always include an extra for each dozen.  This week has been TREMENDOUSLY hot and humid.  I shipped out Monday, and got word today that 2/3 of the cookies were broken, cracked, a mess.  I am heartbroken.  This person is a childhood acquaintance and first-time customer who ordered these back in December for her daughter's birthday.  There's no way that I can get more baked, decorated and shipped to have them to her by Saturday.  I offered a refund and she said she feels bad taking a refund.  What would YOU do to make it right?  Refund her for 2/3 of the order and include a certificate for free shipping on her next order?  That's what I'm thinking...

18 replies
denetteb Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:38am

Refund the full order.

CWR41 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 5:23am

Don't work for free.  Broken or not, they're still going to eat them.  Ask what your friend would like for you to do.
 

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 5:36am

I did end up talking to her.  She said basically the same thing as CWR41...that I still did the work and they will eat the broken ones...so she just asked for 1/2 of her money for cookies and 1/2 of the postage back.  I gave that to her with a voucher for one dozen cookies free with any other order she places.  She was great about it once we finally talked.  I just feel like crap!

mermaidcakery Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 5:48am

AI wonder what the box looked like. Don't blame yourself, shipping can be so unreliable

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 12:49pm

She sent me pics...they really do look like they were crushed.  Ugh.  So upsetting!

denetteb Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 1:28pm

I am glad that you and the customer worked it out but I still disagree with anything other than a full refund.  It wasn't your fault but it certainly wasn't the customers either.  When you have a business that involves shipping it seems to me that you bear the responsibility if there is any shipping problem of any kind, part of the cost of a shipping related business.  You agreed to provide a certain amount of a certain design and that isn't what the customer received.  Especially since they were for a special occasion.  It isn't like she could plate and display the crushed cookies as the centerpiece dessert, and that is probably what she had in mind if she ordered cookies from a distance.  The other thing is that on so many threads it is talked about that what bakers provide isn't just cake (or in this case cookies) but art, a centerpiece, the big design around which all else flows, etc.  But then when something happens and the product is broken then it becomes, well they could still eat the product.  If a person ordered a 3 tier cake for a special occasion and when you were delivering them you dropped two of the boxes and only one could be displayed but the other two crumbled cakes could have been served, with a spoon.  That simply isn't what the customer ordered and should be refunded.  I just don't think we can play it on both sides for our convenience, sometimes it is a centerpiece of art, other times it is just cake/cookies.  Yeah, it hurts the pocketbook but the client certainly didn't get what they ordered.  Just my two cents here.

dawnybird Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:22pm

I'm really sorry that happened to you, but I agree with denetteb. I think a full refund was in order. Her little birthday girl gets a plate of cookie pieces. Bummer. A bad deal for both of you.
 

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:26pm

I totally agree with you denetteb.  That's what I offered...a full refund plus her postage costs, but she kept saying that's not what she wants and she would feel bad about ordering from me in the future if I sent her all her $$ back.  It's a difficult situation...I don't offer a "money back guarantee" in those terms but I always ask for feedback so I can make any problem right.  This is the first time I've had to "make something right."  I had also offered to redo the order for her, but she couldn't get it in time for when she needed it.  I appreciate your feedback.  I certainly want my products to be the centerpiece of the party!  I did what she asked of me...and she keeps thanking me for "making it right" and "being so cool about it."  Tough!

denetteb Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:38pm

You made it right with this customer and that is what is most important.  My spiel/opinion in post #7 above was more directed to others reading this  post or that may refer back to it later in time when they are dealing with a disaster. 

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 

You made it right with this customer and that is what is most important.  My spiel/opinion in post #7 above was more directed to others reading this  post or that may refer back to it later in time when they are dealing with a disaster. 


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cakeyouverymuch Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:47pm
Quote:

Originally Posted by denetteb 

 

If a person ordered a 3 tier cake for a special occasion and when you were delivering them you dropped two of the boxes and only one could be displayed but the other two crumbled cakes could have been served, with a spoon.  That simply isn't what the customer ordered and should be refunded.  I just don't think we can play it on both sides for our convenience, sometimes it is a centerpiece of art, other times it is just cake/cookies.  Yeah, it hurts the pocketbook but the client certainly didn't get what they ordered.  Just my two cents here.

 

If you drop the cake during delivery of course you would refund the customer because it would be your fault.  If the venue moved the cake after you delivered it and dropped it, would you still refund the customer?  I wouldn't.  And if the customer asked me for a refund I'd send them to the venue as the responsible party.

 

This case is more akin to the 'venue dropped the cake' example.  The OP is not the one responsible for the order arriving in the state it did.

 

That said, was the package insured?  If not, why not?  If it was insured the OP could recoup part of the value of the item, and part of the cost of shipping and pass that on to the customer as a refund. 

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:53pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeyouverymuch 

 

If you drop the cake during delivery of course you would refund the customer because it would be your fault.  If the venue moved the cake after you delivered it and dropped it, would you still refund the customer?  I wouldn't.  And if the customer asked me for a refund I'd send them to the venue as the responsible party.

 

This case is more akin to the 'venue dropped the cake' example.  The OP is not the one responsible for the order arriving in the state it did.

 

That said, was the package insured?  If not, why not?  If it was insured the OP could recoup part of the value of the item, and part of the cost of shipping and pass that on to the customer as a refund. 


Unfortunately, it wasn't insured.  I sent hubby to the post office for me while I finished another order and he didn't do it.  Ugh!  All the times I insure a package and never need it and this time we didn't.  icon_redface.gif  Doh!

 

No matter what happened, I felt responsible.  She even emphasized to me she could tell that it wasn't anything I did...that it was well-packed, etc.  I feel better that she feels fine about it, but stuff like this makes me want to hide out for a while and not ship anything! 

cakeyouverymuch Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsaun 


Unfortunately, it wasn't insured.  I sent hubby to the post office for me while I finished another order and he didn't do it.  Ugh!  All the times I insure a package and never need it and this time we didn't.  icon_redface.gif  Doh!

 

No matter what happened, I felt responsible.  She even emphasized to me she could tell that it wasn't anything I did...that it was well-packed, etc.  I feel better that she feels fine about it, but stuff like this makes me want to hide out for a while and not ship anything! 

 

As emphatic as I was in my first post, I would feel exactly as you did, and would probably have offered a refund as a goodwill gesture as well.  That said, the question of responsibility is one to keep in mind so that one isn't offering refunds where no reasonable person would be expected to.

 

In a sense, your failure (your DH'S failure, lol) to insure does leave you on the hook for a partial refund in this case.

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:15pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeyouverymuch 

 

As emphatic as I was in my first post, I would feel exactly as you did, and would probably have offered a refund as a goodwill gesture as well.  That said, the question of responsibility is one to keep in mind so that one isn't offering refunds where no reasonable person would be expected to.

 

In a sense, your failure (your DH'S failure, lol) to insure does leave you on the hook for a partial refund in this case.

That's why DH is FIRED as my assistant!  icon_rolleyes.gif

 

I would feel responsible even if it was insured...I promised, she didn't get!  But...at least the responsibility would be shared with the post office.  It's a stinker of a situation and I never want to have it happen again.  Fortunately, I never "pay" myself until the order is delivered, so I had the money to refund her.  It's not the $$...it's that my customer got a less-than-satisfactory experience from me.  I KNOW I feel worse about it than she does...she seems inconvenienced at most, but I still hate it!

denetteb Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:23pm

So for the sake of discussion, cakeyouverymuch, I think it isn't to be compared to the venue dropping the cake because you didn't hire them to handle the cake.  What if it was your spouse or someone you hired to deliver the cake that dropped it.  To me that is more what this is to be compared to.  Rsaun, don't let it get you down, you made it right with the customer.  Just review your methods and focus on how many orders you have shipped that arrived in perfect condition.  Maybe the next time you are baking cookies you could make a couple and send to the family, just because you felt like it.  I am curious if postal insurance would pay out for baked goods...just wondering if bakers have been successful in getting a claim paid.

denetteb Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:23pm

We were typing at the same time.

rsaun Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 

So for the sake of discussion, cakeyouverymuch, I think it isn't to be compared to the venue dropping the cake because you didn't hire them to handle the cake.  What if it was your spouse or someone you hired to deliver the cake that dropped it.  To me that is more what this is to be compared to.  Rsaun, don't let it get you down, you made it right with the customer.  Just review your methods and focus on how many orders you have shipped that arrived in perfect condition.  Maybe the next time you are baking cookies you could make a couple and send to the family, just because you felt like it.  I am curious if postal insurance would pay out for baked goods...just wondering if bakers have been successful in getting a claim paid.

Great idea about sending them a few extra.  I have another order coming up here in a couple weeks for cookies and I'll do that!

 

I always purchase insurance, telling the postal clerk the value (the amount I charged).  I've never had to make a claim so I'm not sure...

maybenot Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 10:21pm

I really doubt that the PO would make good on an insurance claim.  They always ask if there's anything perishable or breakable in the box when I go in to mail an insured package.  I believe that if the answer is "yes" that it can void the insurance or severely reduce their liability. 

 

Many businesses will not ship perishables in the summer without extra charges for next day shipping cost or special packaging.

 

When I've shipped cookies--in cool weather, only, they've been in tissue paper nests, bubble wrapped box inside of box lined in peanuts.  Overkill?  Yes.  Broken cookies?  No. 

 

I'm glad that your friend was understanding and that you both agreed on the refund $. 

 

In the end, though, it really is up to the shipper to get a perfect product to the customer and the middle man--in this case, the USPS--will always try to blame the packaging or will question the condition of the item before packing.  It's nothing like delivering to a venue and then having them damage the cake because the delivered cake is fully visible to the 3rd party.  Damage that they inflict is easily accounted for.  With baked goods thru the postal service, they'll never accept blame for damage.

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