Need advice on refund request

Business By jenng1482 Updated 15 Oct 2013 , 8:24pm by Stitches

jenng1482 Posted 13 Oct 2013 , 9:56pm
post #1 of 28

Hello all!  I am trying to decide how to deal with a refund request.  PLease tell me what you would do.


A bride contacts to set up a tasting and design consult.  At the appointment with her was her mom and sister.  She places a large order and tells me that they definitely  want a groom's cake to celebrate the groom's 30th birthday that was taking place just days before the wedding.  The bride tells me that the groom's mom will be contacting me place to order as she is paying for it.


The deadline for order changes, final serving count and final payment comes and passes.  We are now one week out from wedding day.  ( I generally have a 3 week final deadline but this one slipped through) I contact the bride.  She makes the final arrangements and asks about the grooms cake.  I told her the MOG had not contacted me to place the order.  She told me to go ahead and order the cake ( I knew what she had in mind) and to add it to her total.  She told me to make it one of the flavors she had selected for her cake.  

Bride asks me to text her total and she will call me with CC # as she lives out of town and will not be in until a few days before wedding.


Please know that I was fully booked for this weekend and had been turning down orders for this weekend for a week or so.  So if the MOG had contacted me separately, I would not have been able to take her order.


I made my baking schedule for the week on Sunday evening 


Monday, MOG comes in to order grooms cake.  I told her that bride had already ordered it and a design had been selected.  I told her that if she wanted his fav football represented, she would need to provide me fabric to make the board, a topper, etc as I could not replicate the team logo.


MOG mentions another flavor and I jot it down on the order form my employee had started while I was out.  I returned to the shop in the middle of her visit and took over the order or i would have just used the bride completed order form.


MOG asks me of its been paid for.  I tell her bride is calling me today with CC#.  MOG says I'll just take care of it and pays for entire order.


Wedding day comes and its delivery time.  The bride, MOB, and MOG all see the wedding cake, groom's cake and kitchen cakes.  They love them all! Very happy customers!  I leave feeling satisfied and continue on the rest of my deliveries.  


Monday morning comes and I receive a very angry call from MOG.  The flavor of the groom's cake was wrong, she is extremely disappointed and "What am I going to do about it?"  I realize that the error occurred because I already had my baking schedule made and I did not change the flavor of the cake when MOG came in the Monday before the wedding.  I told her i could make her a cake in the flavor she wanted or ... She cut me off and said refund.  She stated her address to send the check.  I told her would have something figured out by end of week.


To get a better idea of the situation, I contacted the bride, did not tell her about MOG complaints, but gave another congratulations and asked how everything went.  She responded with "Thank u so much! All we heard all night was how great the cake was!  The main cake looked magnificent!  I loved it"


So, ask you: who's order was this?  I made the order the bride placed.  She was my client.  Would you refund?  If so, how much?


Sorry this is so long.  I just don't know what to do.  Thanks for your advice

27 replies
-K8memphis Posted 13 Oct 2013 , 10:03pm
post #2 of 28

so if i understand this correctly, the mog paid for the bride's cake and kitchen cakes and groom's cake? all the stuff the bride ordered? that really complicates things--or did she just pay a small remaining balance due?

jenng1482 Posted 13 Oct 2013 , 10:08pm
post #3 of 28

She paid for everything except the deposit bride had paid at consult.  She bride was going to send me CC # later that same day when she was off work 

liz at sugar Posted 13 Oct 2013 , 10:12pm
post #4 of 28

I would just give her 50% of the price of the groom's cake back.  Not changing the flavor was an oversight on your part, but it was what the bride originally ordered.  Apologize and move on.



-K8memphis Posted 13 Oct 2013 , 10:22pm
post #5 of 28

i mean what if you did the mog's flavor and the bride called all pissed that you did the wrong flavor on the groom's cake--


you should not hold the bag for the two chicks


i would explain that and refund half the amount.


i mean you have two different orders paid for by two different people--you would get it wrong either way--


half is super generous imo

kikiandkyle Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 12:19am
post #6 of 28

A10% is generous, it was a flavor approved by the bride, even if it was not the specific one. Your contract states changes can't be made after a certain date for this very reason.

It's simply a gesture of goodwill at this point, since she's not returning the cake. Or she can have 6 cupcakes in the flavor she wanted.

jenng1482 Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 12:33am
post #7 of 28

Thank you for your advice.  If was considering 50%.  The whole situation is complicated with the MOG paying, but the bride ordering because MOG didnt follow through in time.  I'll send her a check for 50% of the groom's cake and call it a day.  I'm not upset about the situation at all, I just needed a little guidance in dealing with the MOG 

liz at sugar Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 12:41am
post #9 of 28

I agree that 50% is MORE than generous, but to me it is best to just wrap it up and be done with it.  Maybe the bride was supposed to order the MOG's flavor the whole time and didn't - you just don't know, and honestly, probably don't care.  And it is so complicated with two parties paying for it . . .


I'm sure your generous offer will take care of it. :)



Cara-mel Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 1:58am
post #11 of 28

AI think you are very gracious at considering a refund at all! I believe in contracts. I think a rule should be added that changes must be made by person placing the order so that parties must reach a mutual agreement and your left out of that mess.

Sassyzan Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 4:28am
post #12 of 28

AI think a refund is in order. This was not a case of not being able to accomodate a late change. You bent your own rules here. You said you could do the flavor and wrote it in the wrong place. You didnt deliver on what you said you would. I think a refund is in order. Since there was some confusion i think 50% is a good starting place. (Eta: 50% of the grooms cake, not the total order right?)

kikiandkyle Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 12:47pm
post #14 of 28

AIt's not like she gave them a flavor that was completely out of the realm, and the cake was still loved and eaten. 50% seems outrageous to me. No wonder customers like this have such ridiculous expectations when it comes to refunds.

liz at sugar Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 12:51pm
post #15 of 28

ABut she personally took the order change and then didn't deliver it. It was her mistake, and 50% off should rectify it.


-K8memphis Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 3:25pm
post #16 of 28

cost of doing business--nobody said it was fair


it's reasonable all things considered--


if mog stays upset even with that--i'd offer a scaled down version of the g cake in the right flavor instead of refund-- i mean there might be out of town family members who will not travel back for the re-do--it's a moment in time lost--and it's a responsible business practice


wasn't it a sculpture or something? it was also to cover the groom's birthday too--lotta family buzz there--weddings are cataclysmic --they paid way late --mog stepped up and paid for bride--


i'd offer either 1/2 refund or scaled down re-bake or lump it (the mog lumps it)

gatorcake Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 3:53pm
post #17 of 28


You cannot violate the terms of your own contract, make the mistake as a result of that violation, and then say to the customer see this is why I don't allow changes in the contract I'll discount your next order.  If you have such a clause in the contract then you have to live by it.  At the point you allow the change, which the OP noted she wrote down, you become responsible for completing the order correctly per the change.  It is not the client's fault that you chose not to enforce the terms of your contract.  You are now responsible for any mistakes/confusion caused by the change.  


Why should you hope she does not come back?  She asked and you made the change, the client is certainly not at fault and is not being unreasonable.  If she had pitched a fit when she asked for a different flavor (not indicated in the account provided) this would be understandable.  There is nothing unreasonable about requesting a refund when you fail to provide the correct product.  No matter what the contract said this is exactly the situation since the no changes clause was voided by the OP.

Paperfishies Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 5:41pm
post #18 of 28

Honestly, I probably wouldn't refund anything.  You made the order the bride placed, which was the correct order, since it was HER wedding...The bride was and is happy.  On wedding orders, I always do whatever the bride says...Also the deadline for changes had come and went, too bad for MOG, I would simply tell her that after further review you made the order to the bride's specifications, MOG missed the deadline for making any changes.

jenmat Posted 14 Oct 2013 , 6:06pm
post #20 of 28

The no changes after xxx date is a good clause, but also I have one that says that changes can ONLY be made by the person who signed the contract. So if the MOG had come to me and wanted the change, I would have said 2 things: 1.I'm sorry, bride would have to approve this change in writing and

2.Since it's the week of the wedding, no changes can be made. 


But I understand in a hectic situation when you walk into the middle of an order it may have been not worth your time and annoyance level to explain either of those things and easier to just say "sure, whatever."


But that's neither here nor there. You gave the MOG the impression that the changes she made were perfectly fine, then you didn't make the changes. 50% refund due, like you said, moving on. 

Stitches Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 12:21am
post #21 of 28

You are correct. A mistake happened. I don't see it as a big enough problem to even mention it, yet alone to ask for any money back.


We all have different feelings about what's reasonable and normal. If the OP had made a completely different cake than what the bride or mog had asked for than I can see them getting upset. But personally, I'd never be upset about something like this. Having everyone love my purchase would have been my only goal when purchasing food for others. At the very most maybe in casual conversation I'd mention the mix up to the decorator, but I'd never complain about something people enjoyed.


I wouldn't want her to come back because as a client because she doesn't seem like a reasonable person to me. It's cake. The OP didn't remove the wrong kidney or install the wrong flooring that couldn't be changed and others would suffer from such a mistake. If people hadn't liked the cake, than the mog has a reason to be unhappy about the cake. But this is petty in my opinion. I must have a lot more problems in my life than other people because I wouldn't even dream of telling the decorator there was an issue over something that was so well liked. I save my efforts of getting upset over something that caused more of a problem.

jenng1482 Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 12:46am
post #22 of 28

I wonder if the MOG mentioned her beef to the bride at all?

costumeczar Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 1:34am
post #23 of 28

I once delivered a wedding cake where I realized that I'd put the wrong filling flavor in one tier. I delivered the cake, set it up, then wrote a check for the entire cost of that tier and handed it to the MOB, who was saying that I didn't have to do that. I made a mistake, I didn't deliver what was contracted, and I repaid it. Lesson learned, double-check everything, and own up to it right away. It doesn't matter if they ate it and enjoyed the cake (I'm sure they did), I made a mistake and it's better to just clear it up right away. If you allow changes then you need to do those changes, and if it ends up being a lesson for the future, then there's that. The whole situation was confusing, but a mistake was made, so a refund was in order.

jason_kraft Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 4:08am
post #24 of 28


Original message sent by Stitches

I wouldn't want her to come back because as a client because she doesn't seem like a reasonable person to me. It's cake. The OP didn't remove the wrong kidney or install the wrong flooring that couldn't be changed and others would suffer from such a mistake.

From the customer's point of view, the cake is often a very important component of a one-time event. If you deliver something the customer didn't ask for for a one-time event, there is nothing you can do besides grant a refund, invent a time machine, or convince all involved to recreate the event at a future time when you can make and deliver the correct cake.

As costumeczar mentioned, it's great if they still enjoyed the cake, but it's still not what the customer was promised.

kikiandkyle Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 4:23am
post #25 of 28

AI agree 100% with Stitches, no way I would have even mentioned it, let alone demanded a refund.

Poor bride, she has a lifetime of joy ahead of her with someone like that as a MIL.

costumeczar Posted 15 Oct 2013 , 5:15pm
post #27 of 28

The OP seems to have decided to give a refund that reflects the mistake that was made, and that's the professional way to handle it. There's no reason to insult a customer because the baker made a mistake, no matter how confusing the situation was.

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