authenticakes Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 4:52am
post #1 of

My whole body was shaking and I felt like throwing up when the bride's friend called me looking for the cake few hours ago.  Then her mother in law took over the call and started yelling. The wedding was today, friday but she gave me the wrong date. It was for tomorrow.  I feel so terrible but I don't see I else I could have done since she gave me the wrong date.  I am not an established bakery. I do this at my home.  We don't have a formal contract but it was confirmed thru email for the 28th on 2 separate messages.  I feel so terrible for the bride.  The cake was paid in full. I am planning give her a refund but is it appropriate to deduct the cost of the cake?  I am stuck with 4 tier cake @ home.  I feel so bad for her but what else can I do?

37 replies
dreamcakestoo Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 5:02am
post #2 of

You didn't plan the wedding, they did, and they can't expect you to be psychic.  I would definitely deduct the cost of the materials.  Fact is, I'd deliver the cake tomorrow too and keep all of it.  You would be executing your part of the contract as it was expected in writing.  It's upsetting but you didn't do anything wrong.  It's standard for them to call a week or so out to confirm everything.  Honestly, what bride doesn't know the exact date of her wedding months in advance?

remnant3333 Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 5:15am
post #3 of

 I feel for you and know you must be pretty upset!!!  I am wondering what the others will think of this. Obviously, the bride and her mother think that you got the date wrong but your emails are proof that your end of the bargain was to make the cake on the 28th. This is my opinion that they should pay you for the cake. You should not have to pay for their mistake.

 

I am not sure what the professionals would do in this situation so hopefully one of them will advise you what you should do. Good luck and don't feel bad because you did nothing wrong at all!!!!

carmijok Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 6:06am
post #4 of

AWow...what a nightmare...I feel for you and the bride. I would copy both emails with the confirmation of date and send them to the bride along with a note from you saying how sorry you are for the mix-up but you were going by the information that was presented to you. However because you feel for her situation you will return her money sans the amount you spent for materials and time spent baking.

Does she deserve a refund? Maybe not, but given how I'd feel as a bride in the same situation, I think it would be a nice thing to offer.

cupcakemaker Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 7:32am
post #5 of

ANever apologise if you did nothing wrong (lawyer speaking)

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 7:39am
post #6 of

AI would apologize from the point of being sympathetic. And I would then ask where she would like the cake delivered tomorrow, at a time convenient for her. And no, there is no refund due.

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 7:41am
post #7 of

ATomorrow she'll have a better attitude about it, and have the emails printed out in your posession when you deliver it. Be sympathetic, but not overly so. If you confirmed everything to everyone's satisfaction, then you did everything correctly. You shouldn't be punished because of her error.

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 7:43am
post #8 of

AAnd from now on, because weddings are best left to professionals, use a contract and develop a confirmation system to prevent this from happening again. Or don't take on weddings. You don't get a do over with something like this, it's not a birthday.

soldiernurse Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 9:22am
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

I would apologize from the point of being sympathetic. And I would then ask where she would like the cake delivered tomorrow, at a time convenient for her. And no, there is no refund due.

Wow

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 9:38am

AWow what? It sucks, but I don't think I'd be offering up any money after fulfilling my obligations, based on a date that was confirmed not once, but twice. I would however have used a contract, and maybe that would have prevented it.

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 9:47am

AAnd anyone who knows me, knows I am pretty quick to say when a decorator needs to fess up or take ownership of situations that they're at fault for; I am not one of the "bash the customers" fanatics that is just way too rampant around these parts. But this isn't her fault, obviously the email communications were acceptable to both parties (wouldn't be for me, I make a contract for every single order but that's not helpful at this point), and she did what she was hired to do. I'm not saying "not" to refund, by all means whatever makes you feel better, but I certainly don't see an obligation to do so.

VanillaSky Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 11:08am

AWhat is the posturing of the bride now? If its nothing less than apologetic over her mistake and the fact that you were YELLED at for no reason, then I'd just deliver the cake and offer nothing. Any refund is a gift by you, and the bride so far has not earned a gift.

vgcea Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 11:52am

AI'm sorry you had to go through this OP. I suspect the stress of the event and the family members not knowing that it was the bride who made the error caused them to lose it. On your part though, you still have to think like a business. Often people let emotions override good business sense. Yes the bride made an error. It's really sad but you as a business fulfilled your part so a refund would be at your discretion, and not compulsory. If you choose not to refund, make sure you still deliver what the client paid for.

If I had to deal with this, I would've tried to get the cake to them with a super scaled down design if I could. I'm talking textured BC or plain fondant with satin ribbons. Maybe have one of the yellers run to the store for a wedding cake topper. Or I would offer to use one of my display cakes at the reception and serve what I already baked in the back. Basically, I would still try to help the customer save face.

Random FYI: By the day before the wedding, most professionals already have the cake covered and waiting for decorations. Many have the cake finished by the day before.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 12:08pm

AI always write both the day & date on the contract. Friday, September 5, 2013. Makes for less confusion.

Original message sent by vgcea

Random FYI: By the day before the wedding, most professionals already have the cake covered and waiting for decorations. Many have the cake finished by the day before.

I did once have a similar situation. I was putting the finishing touches on a cake when the planner called. My hands were shaking. I quickly finished, tossed everything in the car, and took off for the reception. The bride never even knew there was confusion.

In this OP case, the only culpability is not confirming details on Monday and having a contract. I personally would feel such guilt that I would refund the cost of decoration. If there is a new delivery location, I'd revise that part of the bill as well. I'm keeping the rest! Not only because I made the cake but also because I turned away other business to commit to hers.

lolathreads Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 1:29pm

AI feel so bad for this original poster. Big hug honey, because just thinking about this happening gives me the chills. It wasn't your fault. Maybe if you haven't covered the cakes in fondant freeze them, and as a goodwill gesture offer to deliver them later in the week as individual cakes. Maybe they could use them or give as gifts to those integral to the wedding. I would not offer a full refund, if you feel generous whatever you feel comfortable charging or 3 or 4 simply decorated cakes delivered in the coming days. Just one possible (not too great I might add) solution for a really unfortunate booking.

VanillaSky Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 2:15pm

AIt might just be word choice but I don't think the OP is "culpable" for not having a contract or for not confirming the date a week out. She is not required to have a written contract nor do I see see the absolute necessity of confirming a date that has been given to her twice, in writing. Also, I don't think it's her fault for not having the cake 90% done the day before its due. Many professionals do this primarily because they have multiple cakes due on Saturdays, and to avoid day of mistakes on the baker's side, but i don't fault the baker for not conforming to this practice, particularly if she just does one cake at a time.

That said, all of these three things are good business practice and will save the OP stress and help mitigate any future issues. But in the present case would not change, what is IMO, the fact that the OP is not required to refund the bride.

Cakespirations Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 3:35pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I would apologize from the point of being sympathetic. And I would then ask where she would like the cake delivered tomorrow, at a time convenient for her. And no, there is no refund due.

 

I COMPLETELY agree with this, it may sound harsh but it isnt and covers your butt. Say you don't deliver it the day they ACTUALLY gave you in the emails, YOU now have not fulfilled the contract and must refund. I would tell her in under no uncertain terms that her cake is awaiting.

kikiandkyle Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 5:50pm

AI would have thought any bride having a Friday wedding would be paranoid that somebody would make the mistake of assuming their wedding was on a Saturday and confirm the actual day with each vendor at least once.

How far into the day was it that they tried to call you?Did they try to call at a time when it was possible you could have still gotten the cake to them?

Ultimately the client is responsible for giving you the correct date. If you can possibly disassemble the cake and freeze it to use for something else then you could offer a full refund but if it's past that point you have to just suck it up and let them know there's nothing you can do but deliver the cake as per the contract.

AZCouture Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 6:01pm

AAny event that's not a Saturday gets special attention from me. I flag those on a physical calendar that I pass by at least 10 times a day, and I set pop up reminders a couple of days, and a day before the work is set to begin.

authenticakes Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 7:13pm

thanks for your response & I appreciate all comments.  I sent copy of the emails with the date confirmation of "sept 28 which is suppose to be today to the bride.  She kept changing her mind about the design so we were in constant contact this week.  They didn't call me until the reception was almost over. They said they were calling me but I didn't get any call on my cell. I was running out & about doing errands. and yes all 4 naked cakes were at the fridge ready to be decorated suppose to be early this morning. 

I finally got hold of the bride but it looks like she's more worried about her mother in law getting mad at her than not having a cake last night because she paid for the cake. I decided to give her a partial refund.  I don't think all the problem was at my end and I did mention to her that I didn't appreciate her mother in law talking nasty to me and that she owes me an apology. The whole time I talked to the MIL yesterday, I was very apologetic since I didnt want to make the situation worst that it was. I really feel awful about the whole thing....

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 7:56pm

Technically, the e-mail would be considered 'contract' in court, I think, but I am certainly no lawyer! That was just advise I was given years ago, but I would certainly start using a proper contract after today. It doesn't just protect the bride, but it protects you form things like being yelled at by a MIL.

 

I agree completely with AZ, I would definitely be sympathetic, but no refund. It was very nice of you to offer one, and since you did, I hope you didn't finish and deliver the cake!

 

I was given the wrong date once, signed a contract, I confirmed the date/time of delivery the beginning of the week. Then got a call the day before asking where I was.

I was lucky that I had covered everything, and keep flowers on hand. They didn't get the original design, but they got a cake, and only because they called right away.

All that to say, even with a contract and confirmation, they still got it wrong! Sometimes things just are out of your control.

kikiandkyle Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 8:53pm

AScrumdiddly, as someone who has been married for almost 12 years trust me when I say that there is no contract that stops you from being yelled at by a MIL!

Brettley Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 9:29pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

Scrumdiddly, as someone who has been married for almost 12 years trust me when I say that there is no contract that stops you from being yelled at by a MIL!

Ain't that the truth!

jason_kraft Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 9:40pm

AAn email may be considered as a binding contract if both parties agree and both give consideration, such as a promise to provide goods/services or a promise to pay a certain amount. However, emails are very easy to fake (for example, the customer could print out an edited version of the email with the correct date or fabricate a followup email with modified headers indicating the error), one party could claim that someone else read the email and replied with consent (in the absence of a digital signature), etc.

Relevant case: http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=b3f00118-0370-46fb-abcd-fac4c02df74c

jenmat Posted 28 Sep 2013 , 10:13pm

Wow. I'm glad that the bride has changed her tune a little bit. 

 

As far as what professionals do (from your original post):

1. Have a contract

2. All details MUST be finalized 2 weeks (or whatever) prior. No changes from that point on. 

3. An invoice with date, time and location

4. A "last hurrah" email confirming everything on Monday or Tues, including setup instructions and delivery location/date/time

5. Often a venue contact- asking the venue for any special instructions and alerting them of when you will arrive

 

All of these are done to make darn sure the cake is being delivered at the right time, to the right place and on the right date. 

 

It sounds like this bride was loopy to not remember her own wedding date and truly any refund is goodwill on your part. 

 

That said, the cake in question should still be delivered if you are only issuing a partial refund. Or something signed to make sure they waived their right to the cake. That MIL sounds like she may come back at you for cake because "SOMEONE'S going to pay for this," and not delivering a product even when it is only partially paid for could be an issue. 

howsweet Posted 29 Sep 2013 , 3:10am

It wasn't your fault, but when confirming a date, always include the day of the week. This has saved me a few catastrophes. 

 

 

Norasmom Posted 29 Sep 2013 , 3:37am

The whole time I talked to the MIL yesterday, I was very apologetic since I didnt want to make the situation worst that it was. I really feel awful about the whole thing....

 

Why did you apologize for something that was not your fault?  To apologize is to admit you did something wrong, and you did not make an error with the date.  You made an error in not having a contract, but now you have learned.  That's good.

 

As for the MIL, she's not nice.

 

I would love to say I would not have given any refund of any kind, but I probably would have done similar....sometimes it's best to be kind.  I hope you did not lose too much money.  That's what it would be about for me, the loss of income that resulted by giving a refund.  A large bakery would not have offered a refund of any kind.

 

So try not to think about it too much longer.  It's a learning experience.

 

  

Cakespirations Posted 29 Sep 2013 , 1:50pm

My honest opinion is that The OP got caught between an issue going on between the bride and the MIL. Something isn't lining up. just my thoughts

Jillywilly4964 Posted 29 Sep 2013 , 2:33pm

Hi, you shouldn't feel bad she should know the date of her wedding!

DeliciousDesserts Posted 29 Sep 2013 , 4:31pm

 

cul·pa·ble
ˈkəlpəbəl/
adjective
 
  1. 1.
    deserving blame.
     
    "sometimes you're just as culpable when you watch something as when you actually participate"
    synonyms: to blame, guilty, at fault, in the wrong, answerableaccountable,responsibleblameworthy, censurabl

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by VanillaSky 

It might just be word choice but I don't think the OP is "culpable" for not having a contract or for not confirming the date a week out. She is not required to have a written contract nor do I see see the absolute necessity of confirming a date that has been given to her twice, in writing. Also, I don't think it's her fault for not having the cake 90% done the day before its due. Many professionals do this primarily because they have multiple cakes due on Saturdays, and to avoid day of mistakes on the baker's side, but i don't fault the baker for not conforming to this practice, particularly if she just does one cake at a time.

That said, all of these three things are good business practice and will save the OP stress and help mitigate any future issues. But in the present case would not change, what is IMO, the fact that the OP is not required to refund the bride.

 

I'm not saying this is her fault.  I am saying that anyone trying to find fault would point to not having a contract (which confirms date) and confirming the date early in the week.  But for the fact she didn't, this would not have happened.  I do it not only to avoid my own mistakes but also those made by the client.  Perhaps it's because I have done so many cakes, I know clients often mistake dates.  ALWAYS confirm day & date.

Quote:

Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

I would have thought any bride having a Friday wedding would be paranoid that somebody would make the mistake of assuming their wedding was on a Saturday and confirm the actual day with each vendor at least once.

Ultimately the client is responsible for giving you the correct date. If you can possibly disassemble the cake and freeze it to use for something else then you could offer a full refund but if it's past that point you have to just suck it up and let them know there's nothing you can do but deliver the cake as per the contract.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by authenticakes 
 

I did mention to her that I didn't appreciate her mother in law talking nasty to me and that she owes me an apology

ABSOLUTELY!  Without doubt.  And, so does the bride.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

It wasn't your fault, but when confirming a date, always include the day of the week. This has saved me a few catastrophes. 

 

 

Just one more note on the culpability issue.  Committing to a wedding cake is a huge responsibility.  If you accept it, the least you can do is act professionally.  Seriously!  (This note is not directed toward the OP.  I seriously don't think this is your fault.  It's really more directed to VanilliaSky.

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