My first cake complaint! I feel so discouraged.

Business By Crystalolvera60 Updated 1 May 2014 , 2:25pm by JEtaarten

Crystalolvera60 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:14pm
post #1 of 88

I usually require more than a weeks notice on all cake orders so that I for sure have all the supplies and enough time to fulfill it. I got a call on wednesday asking for a cake for sunday (yesterday). So  I went ahead and took the order just because she said she knew my aunt. 


I did not have enough fondant for her order on such short notice & I told her that I was unable to make exactly what she wanted and that I just couldn't make her cake. She didn't want to take my no for an answer and said to make it work with just buttercream instead. 

I tried my best to match what she wanted with the buttercream, but it's hard to do when it was all supposed to be fondant. I had only 4hours of sleep trying to finish her order (I was booked this weekend with cakes).


I don't usually deliver cakes but she wanted it done so I agreed. I took it to the party and she went bonkers! She was screaming, crying and yelling! She said "this is not what I wanted" "where's the fondant black band around the top not this thing" "it's all wrong" "NOOOOO" 

I apologized & so did my boyfriend (who went to carry it in for me since it was heavy).  


I've never had someone hate my cake before. I've made so many with all nice things to say but she HATED IT. She threw a tantrum. It discouraged me so much I cried for 2 hours...and even now I feel sick to my stomach. I knew it was ugly, but I warned her it wasn't going to be perfect, because I didn't have the fondant.  


I originally charged her $130.00 but after that happened I sent my boyfriend with an envelope with all her money in it. So I made nothing off of this order & I spent a lot of my own money. He said she answered the door and was eating my cake! With a smile on her face...she took her money back and said she wishes the cake came out the way she wanted and that it's a good thing it tastes good. 




I need help coping with what just happened. I've never experienced this before. Have you guys had complaints before like that? I'm so sad. How was it like for you guys when it happened? Did I do the right thing giving back the money? 

87 replies
morganchampagne Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:18pm
post #2 of 88

AI think your cake is lovely. To say that was on short notice is a real accomplishment.

I would have done what you did, and say ICant do the cake. But in this instance she seemed desperate and you tried to make if work. All I can say is brush your shoulders off. This kind of thing happens. Rest assured that this isn't the end of the world. It will all be ok

cakealicious7 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:28pm
post #3 of 88

AThat cake is sooo pretty!!! Don't feel discouraged, you are very talented and she was acting like a spoilt brat! If you told her in advance that you couldn't make what she wanted what did she expect?! You will come across people like her a lot don't let them phase you.

scorpio1966 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:42pm
post #4 of 88

I'm so sorry this happened to you,the cake was really cute and her reaction was rude and not to mention you worked like crazy to get it done for her. Brush it off, those kind of people are out there, and no matter what you had brought her it wouldn't have been right.

AnnieCahill Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:46pm
post #5 of 88

Don't let people bully you.  There are some cakes which just can't be translated into buttercream from fondant.  That's the reality of it.  I don't want to say it was your fault, but if you knew the design couldn't be executed according to the customer's specs (in fondant) then you should have told her to go elsewhere or to choose a different design. 


I don't think the cake is ugly and I wouldn't have given her a full refund.  I would have given a partial refund.  This is indeed a lesson learned.  Don't take any crap from anyone and use your best judgment. 

BatterUpCake Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:50pm
post #6 of 88

I don't understand why people are so quick to refund money when they delivered what the customer asked for? Did you have emails of texts where she told you to do it in buttercream? DO you have pictures of the cake she asked for to share with us? Did you not have time to buy or make any fondant? Some customers are just difficult and some are just in their complaints. If they are just being ridiculously difficult in my opinion I would come here and ask advice BEFORE I was so quick to refund the money. You don't want to be known as the pushover or you will have a lot of customers who will be unhappy with their cake just to get their $$ back!

NcLeora Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 2:53pm
post #7 of 88

I agree with AnnieCahill, and I think you did a good job.  Don't feel obligated to take on orders you know are going to be an issue..I bet we've all learned this the hard way.  Chin up, buttercup!  ;)

AnnieCahill Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 3:02pm
post #8 of 88

You should also make a contract if you're running a business.  That way everything's in writing and nothing is ambiguous. 

Norasmom Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 3:09pm
post #9 of 88

An email chain is always going to be helpful in these situations.  Some people don't understand that fondant doesn't always translate well into buttercream.  It was good of you to offer a full refund, but her behavior was over the top rude.  Sorry you cried.  I would have cried too!

therealmrsriley Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 3:24pm
post #10 of 88

Oh my goodness. How awful and rude of her. There was absolutely nothing wrong with your cake. It came out lovely and tasted good. That is a victory! I'm sorry you cried about this order.


To echo many other remarks...if you're not comfortable, don't take the order. It doesn't matter how much a customer begs. If you don't feel that you can confidently deliver your best work, don't let anyone goad you into it. Maybe you gave the full refund because you were caught off guard and stunned by her reaction. But if a customer keeps the cake AND eats it, then a full refund should not be warranted.


This cake is gorgeous! Get back on that horse because you have talent!

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 3:33pm
post #11 of 88

ALet this be a very expensive lesson in when to say no. Sometimes it's better to just walk away, I know it's easier said than done in the moment but this lady will be telling everyone she knows about her delicious free cake now and they'll all be wanting one.

silva1214 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:09pm
post #12 of 88

AI agree your cake is beautiful I work for a very popular bakery and I see people do this a LOT. They only want a free cake.

Goreti Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:09pm
post #13 of 88

The cake is NOT ugly.  It is cute and she was lucky that you were able to pull this off on such short notice.   I wonder if she has pulled this stunt on others in order to get a refund.  I have a funny feeling she has and that is why she didn't have a cake for her party.

Claire138 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:14pm
post #14 of 88

I feel for you:(

-K8memphis Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:27pm
post #15 of 88

that client did a very mean thing--i hate stuff like that 


do your best as you work through this to eventually get it firmly behind you--i know you will be reliving it but as soon as you can get it tucked away down in the memory banks the better you will be--try to go through all the emotions including getting angry with her for her narcissistic behavior


and fwiw--i am cussing her out for you--that b----! 


that chick abused you verbally and that is far beyond absurd--so be aware that in time you will have much tougher skin to protect you from the devious mentally ill amongst us


also consider getting this into your modus operandi--into your future game plan--take the (effing) cake back next time -- hopefully there won't be a next time but you'll be prepared if there is one


mean people suck (and damage others) more than can be told


so very very sorry you encountered sucha nasty little person -- and hoping your recovery is quick 

-K8memphis Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:31pm
post #16 of 88

you cake was very well done too there's no question at all about that nor is there any question at all about her mental illness (as you have described this situation)


you were fine and are fine

vgcea Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:36pm
post #17 of 88

AIn my experience, last minute orders are never worth the hassle. That said, please say no the next time a client asks for something you know you cannot make to their specifications. If the design calls for fondant and you can't get fondant say no because ultimately, as you've found out, you could stress yourself making what essentially ends up being a free cake. Nothing but pain and stress to show for all that hard work. Nobody's worth doing this to yourself for. I hope you feel better soon.

onmymind Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 4:44pm
post #18 of 88

AI think the cake is very nice! And for being last minute, wow she shouldn't have any complaints!! I understand that since this was your first complaint you felt like you needed to give the money back, but next time (I hope there isn't one!) keep what you spent in supplies and give the rest back and I would have told the lady that it would have looked differently had you had enough fondant and since she agreed to buttercream that she couldn't get a full refund.

Please don't feel discouraged. The cake was very nice. Some people just are not satisfied with anything.

Put it behind you and just use it as a learning experience. Write up some refund policies and make sure last minute cake request know what they are.

Good luck!

dawnybird Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:09pm
post #19 of 88

I totally agree with everything everyone else has said. I wanted to add that I totally get how you feel. I'm very sensitive and want everyone to like me and not think bad things about me. Probably a Pollyanna attitude, but it's who I am and it sounds like you are that way too.


Please don't let this woman's hateful reaction make you feel down on yourself. I love your cake. It's very pretty!

CakeChemistry Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 5:23pm
post #20 of 88

AShe sounds like one of life's arseholes. She will have been righteous to all of her guests whilst chowing down on the cake and all of her 'friends' will probably just nod and smile whilst silently knifing her in the back because otherwise she will scream and shout at them. People like that exist but they will never be happy therefore they spread their pernicious spittle to attempt to drag themselves out of the quagmire. I read on here once that a cc user delivered her cake and the customer went mad saying it wasn't what she ordered. Later on the customer's friend contacted said baker and told her that her friend was more than happy, if not ecstatic with the cake, but was being vile about it to get a discount. The customer's 'friend' clearly thinks the world of her.

Sorry she made you cry. If that was in Costco they wouldn't get away with being awful because there would be too many witnesses and a trail of paperwork. She is clearly trying to take advantage of the situation.

All this being said, make a contract, don't take on what you can't achieve (for whatever reasons) and don't be too nice. Pleasant, helpful and professional yes. But never nice! Cake looks ok to me. What was the picture you were working to?

Crystalolvera60 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:29pm
post #21 of 88

Thank you to everyone! I will take all of the advice for the next time I make an order. Thanks for the kind words also! It's definitely helping me heal. 

Pastrybaglady Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:40pm
post #22 of 88

I am fairly new to CC and I am shocked at how many stories there are just like yours where some totally unreasonable person hassles the baker and then flips out when they get their cake just to get their money back even though they had no problem polishing off the entire thing.  I would be horribly upset just like you!  I think a large part of why people like to bake is because they like to make people happy.  Just from reading these boards I've learned a lot about the need for a thick skin and a no nonsense business attitude.  Your cake was very pretty, some people just suck.

Claire138 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:51pm
post #23 of 88

I think it's also bc they figure "oh I could do it, I just don't have the time". Yes, I've had people say that to me, so therefore they don't take it seriously enough & then freak out bc although they've asked for it last minute, they don't understand why it isn't it twirling, flashing lights, dancers on top and 5 tiers all for 20€. Don't forget that the latest craze in tv  of baking shows where it's all done with a magic wand and in 20 minutes also leads to this delusion. 

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 6:56pm
post #24 of 88

AHer reaction was over the top rude. However, I can see where she would have had complaints if she thought you could make buttercream look almost as good as fondant (there are those who can). I do think your piping needs some work and I think that was a lot of money for a two tier cake that wasn't perfect.

I would have done a partial refund because while it is certainly cute, it isn't professional looking (though, you did do a great job on the bow). Maybe buttercream just isn't your thing?

Don't let it get to you.

BeesKnees578 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 7:15pm
post #25 of 88

I'm sure if you ask around (your aunt) you may get some input as to how she was at the shower. 


Did she brag a little about its awesomeness...or did she complain to everyone (while everyone looking at the cake could tell she was out-of-her-mind and acting like a spoiled brat) and say it wasn't what she ordered?  Which I can't even believe because you FLAT OUT told her that it wouldn't be.


Do you have a pic of what she DID want?


If she was eating that cake when your boyfriend showed up to give her the money back, did she know he was coming or did he just show up?  If she knew and was smiling while EATING the cake....she's a smug little POS that didn't deserve her money back.  It would have been so hard, but necessary, to leave that money for her.  Otherwise, she would have REALLY dragged your name through the mud.  Oh, in a perfect world...


I am mortified for you and hope that this passes...everyone at the shower probably thinks she is NUTS! 


The best thing that could happen is that you get a bunch of business from her friends!


If it is any consolation, what comes around goes around, right?

RoseySweets Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 7:19pm
post #26 of 88

My post was similar to this. I totally know how you feel. And that cake is NOT ugly! She just wanted a free cake. I'm sorry you had to experience this. I didn't accept another order for almost 2 weeks after my first complaint. I'm just now feeling like being bothered with it all. Definitely create a contract and no more offering full refunds for things of that nature now. Otherwise, ask that they return the cake to you. The fact that she was munching away happily speaks volumes of her character. 

remnant3333 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 9:19pm
post #27 of 88

Good thing it wasn't me because I would have told her since you don't like the cake I am taking it back with me!!! BTW, your cake was very cute!!! I think you did a fantastic job on it!!! Sorry that this idiot made you cry!!! She was very rude to you and did not deserve to have any of the cake!!!  You have real talent so don't let this rude person get you down!!!

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 9:29pm
post #28 of 88

AYou can't be scared of upsetting people like this. Their friends will have known for a long time that they only ever complain to get free stuff, rather than because there is some actual issue. You don't want orders from their friends because they'll only be looking for the same kind of deal.

shebysuz Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 10:15pm
post #30 of 88

1. This nasty ol bird ordered a custom 2- tiered cake on Wednesday, for a Sunday event. Who does that? Difficult, unrealistic cake meanies do, that's who. "There's ur sign"


2. You didn't have enough fondant. Learn a lesson from this. If you can't jet out to the local craft store and buy some fondant last minute, always have a cake emergency preparedness plan! Have a homemade fondant recipe on hand and practice making it until your can do it with your eyes closed. Google Liz Marek fondant  recipe. It will change your life.


3. You improvised with the buttercream dots and borders, which to me looked fine. The cake was still cute, but not the clean Pinteresty look she was after. You warned her of this and she didn't listen.


4. Her behavior was UNACCEPTABLE. If she was disappointed in the design and her expectations were not met, she should have tactfully expressed this to you . She acted like a petulant child and should NOT have been rewarded with a full refund.


5. She ate the cake and had something cute to serve to guests.  The professional thing to do would to issue a partial refund since she paid for all fondant design and got half buttercream. I would have knocked 20% off at the most!


6. Put her on the no cake list ASAP. And assign her number its own ring tone on your phone. I suggest the JAWS theme or the Wicked Witch bicycle pedaling music from Wizard of Oz.

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