Lady Wants Money Back

Decorating By cakechic87 Updated 13 Apr 2014 , 7:10am by howsweet

cakechic87 Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 10:34am
post #1 of 14

I recently made a 1st birthday cake & smash cake for someone with a gum paste figure sitting on top of the bottom cake (on the ledge next to the top cake). One of the legs of the figure was hanging down the side of the cake & the rest of it's body was was on top. Well, I made the cake the evening before & there was plenty enough room for the figure & I had it "glued" to the cake with some candy melts. The cake sat in it's box, in a cool dry room over night for pick up early the next morning. The cake was fine the next morning when the lady picked it up. She traveled an hour back to her house with these 2 cakes. She made it to her house fine, put the cakes on her kitchen table & a little while later while she was doing something she turned around & said the figure fell off the cake & the leg broke off when it fell & it took one of the polka dots with it (where the candy melts/figure was glued to). She acted like the whole cake was ruined, like the icing was falling off the entire cake. I had to ask her several times what actually happened & what was wrong with the cake. I told her how sorry I was & that this never happened before. This was the 3rd time I've done this exact cake with this exact figure on it & I never had any problems with the figure falling off.

 

Well, the next day I saw her post some photos of the birthday party on her facebook page. I saw photos of the cake & smash cake. The smash cake was fine, the little boy loved it, he had it smashed all over his face. The main party cake also looked like it was in great condition. The only problem I saw was that the monkey wasn't on it, but the large gum paste number 1 was still standing up, all of the buttercream icing was still on the cake, & so were all of the fondant decorations. The cake was also perfectly level, nothing shifted or anything. It looked exactly how it left my house minus the figure sitting on the ledge... she had it sitting on the cake board. She doesn't know I saw the photos.

 

I'm not sure what to do next. She is now asking for a refund for the cake. Should I refund the whole price, half the price, just the price for the figure that fell, or nothing at all? They were still able to eat & enjoy the cakes so I'm thinking just give her the money back for the figure. Idk.

13 replies
sugarflorist Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 10:40am
post #2 of 14

AI would not refund, the cake left you in perfect condition. You cannot be responsible for how she handles the cake.

maisie73 Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 10:56am
post #3 of 14

ANo refund! And I'd tell her you've seen the facebook pictures.She obviously used the cake for the party so it's not as if the day was ruined and she'd paid for a cake she couldn't use. Refund her for the figure if it makes you feel better but I really don't think you need to.

BeesKnees578 Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 2:49pm
post #4 of 14

AI wouldn't refund....MAYBE offer her a 1/2 doz complimentary cupcakes with her next order, or some small credit ($20?). Let me tell you why:

I once gave a customer a FREE cake because the points on the gumpaste tiara that I put 1/2" balls of fondant on were flopping over after being refrigerated and brought out into the super humid July weather. She is a returning, happy-to-pay customer and I probably could have gotten away with a small credit toward a future cake. It was MY fault for not knowing better at the time. So I was out the income. But it was MY fault.

You don't need to do a full refund, of course, BUT I will suggest that if you are going to use candy melts to adhere a figure to a cake, I would make sure it's a fondant cake. It sounds like it was glued to a fondant dot, which as on buttercream? SOFT buttercream would pull right off if the figure was heavy enough. If it were stripes that went up the side and over the top of the cake, gluing with melts would have been fine.

I think you have been lucky this didn't happen to your other cakes...maybe because they didn't have as long of a drive?

I would have used some sort of skinny dowel or popsicle stick to push down into the cake, coming out of the figure's bum. Just for security.

Depending on how much she paid for the cake, she may have felt that it was ruined. If I paid a couple hundred bucks for a cake, I would expect perfection. It doesn't sound like the cake was mishandled, so I am not buying the "you can help what she does with the cake after she picks it up" explanation.

Just some thought to consider. And I have no idea what she paid for a cake, just throwing a number out there.

HTH

jenmat Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 3:11pm
post #5 of 14

While I agree that you can't control what she does with the cake, I also agree that it doesn't sound like it was mishandled. The figure should have been anchored with a skewer if it was going to travel that far. 

 

I would be refunding at least the amount of the figure, if not a bit off the cake itself. If she paid for the figure to be on the cake and it wasn't on the cake when she displayed it, then she deserves some type of compensation for that- doesn't matter if it has never happened to you before, it did happen to HER. 

 

And while it sounds like she was a drama queen about the whole situation, if you take the emotional reaction out of it, she didn't get exactly what she paid for.  

maisie73 Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 3:14pm
post #6 of 14

AI think Beesknees has a good point about how much the cake was actually. But, a full refund? I think that's unreasonable. I don't sell cakes by the way, I'm just a hobby baker, so I'm coming at this from a customer point of view. I do expect good service and to get what I paid for but at the same time it was a minor mishap, not a catastrophe. I've just been back to read your post to make sure I read it right, it sounds like she's asking for a full refund, like I said, that's unreasonable. And it must have been secure to survive an hour long drive. Maybe she's being a bit economical with the truth to get some money back.

IowaBaker Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 4:43pm
post #7 of 14

I'm a hobby baker. I'm not sure if a partial refund is due, but I don't think so or at most only for the figure. I agree a skewer would have been a good idea with an hour of travel. I would definitely save a copy of the cake at her party before telling her you saw it if you do tell her. the leg was still attached in the photo? And doesn't look repaired? Either way, I'm wondering if the birthday boy or another child had something to do with the figure falling off? Although I'm not sure you can suggest that without her feeling her integrity is being insulted.

 

What does your contract say about damage after the customer receives it?

AZCouture Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 10:16pm
post #8 of 14

APlease don't take the attitude that once the cake leaves your hands, you're completely off the hook for any and all mishaps that the cake may endure. I'm not saying you are, but it's a really bad attitude I see a lot of around here, and any professional can tell you that is NOT the way to earn a good reputation. Like mentioned above, make sure figurines are secured somehow, and give good directions to the customer on how to store and handle. Again, not saying that's your attitude. And a full refund is absolutely out of the question. Offer the cost of the figurines back or a percent off her next order, and thank her for bringing that mishap to your attention, EVEN if she is snotty. Either don't do work for her again, or she might be shocked by your professionalism and mention how gracious you were when something went wrong.

And I can't stress enough how the attitude of "it's not your fault, she must have done something", as a blanket excuse for everything is baaaaad business.

costumeczar Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 11:24pm
post #9 of 14

AGet screenshots of her facebook pictures before telling her that you saw them :smile:

Norasmom Posted 29 Mar 2014 , 12:03am
post #10 of 14

I would not give her a refund because she drove for an hour and had the cake overnight.  You do not know how she drives.  You cannot control the cake unless you travel with it yourself.

I deliver all of my cakes for this reason.  

If your gut instinct is telling you to do something for her to make up for it, then offer some cupcakes or a very small refund.

Maybe "cake insurance" should be offered, customer pays a premium to replace cake if it somehow becomes damaged, like an "extended warranty" of sorts…

cakechic87 Posted 29 Mar 2014 , 4:07pm
post #11 of 14

I added candy melts under the figures bottom (sitting straight on the buttercream icing) & behind it where it touched the polka dot on the top cake. The figure & the dot are the only things that came off of the cake. I don't think adding a skewer inside his bottom, into the cake would make that much of a difference because if a heavy medium sized fondant figure sitting on a soft buttercream cake is going to fall off it can still pull that stick out with it. There's nothing saying for sure that stick will hold it in place. I never once tried to blame her for what happened, the cake made it to her house fine. The reason I said I made this cake before with no problems is because I didn't know why this particular figure fell off when the others didn't. Maybe it had something to do with the hour drive or the weather (it was warm & humid), idk. All I know is that the figure was secure enough to make it through the long ride to her house & it sat on her table a little while without falling off so using candy melts must have not been that bad of a thing to use. When she ordered the cake I didn't know she was an hour away. Most of my customers are local. Next time I will try using a skewer, but like I said, even with a skewer it can still fall off. I believe it is something that just happened, the figure was kinda heavy & I guess the buttercream gave out and/or the figure just fell off. I told her to put the cake in a cool, dry room & to support the cake under the bottom. I don't believe she was rough with the cake. The only thing that made me angry was how she acted like she wanted a full refund & that it was worse than it was so that's why I wasn't sure what to do because the cake wasn't damaged like she acted. I didn't think she should have received a full refund. Her & her guests still ate it, enjoyed it, & took pictures of them. I already apologized & I just mailed her back a refund for the figure & polka dot ($20), I only charged her $90 for the cake. Thanks to everyone for the advice!

FioreCakes Posted 29 Mar 2014 , 5:03pm
post #12 of 14

Hi cakechic-- I agree a full refund was not in order...but just so you know, the skewer makes all the difference! and as backup if you're worried about the skewer ripping through the cake you could put a bubble tea straw in (less likely to rip through) and glue the figure to that with candy melts. Much more secure than gluing it to buttercream. Also, Gluing it to a fondant covered cake is much more secure than a buttercream cake. Just for future reference. 

msdato Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 2:11am
post #13 of 14

AI have a mention in my standard contract that I cannot be held responsible for anything that happens to the ordered cake after it leaves me (within reason). If they want to pay for delivery and provide me with clear driving instructions- I will make sure it gets there. I do agree though that in future it would be best to secure your figures into your cake with a skewer.

howsweet Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 7:09am
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat 
 

While I agree that you can't control what she does with the cake, I also agree that it doesn't sound like it was mishandled. The figure should have been anchored with a skewer if it was going to travel that far. 

 

I would be refunding at least the amount of the figure, if not a bit off the cake itself. If she paid for the figure to be on the cake and it wasn't on the cake when she displayed it, then she deserves some type of compensation for that- doesn't matter if it has never happened to you before, it did happen to HER. 

 

And while it sounds like she was a drama queen about the whole situation, if you take the emotional reaction out of it, she didn't get exactly what she paid for.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Please don't take the attitude that once the cake leaves your hands, you're completely off the hook for any and all mishaps that the cake may endure. I'm not saying you are, but it's a really bad attitude I see a lot of around here, and any professional can tell you that is NOT the way to earn a good reputation. Like mentioned above, make sure figurines are secured somehow, and give good directions to the customer on how to store and handle. Again, not saying that's your attitude. And a full refund is absolutely out of the question. Offer the cost of the figurines back or a percent off her next order, and thank her for bringing that mishap to your attention, EVEN if she is snotty. Either don't do work for her again, or she might be shocked by your professionalism and mention how gracious you were when something went wrong.

And I can't stress enough how the attitude of "it's not your fault, she must have done something", as a blanket excuse for everything is baaaaad business.


I think these posts pretty much cover it. You might consider using tylose glue to attach gumpaste/fondant figures because once it's properly and securely attached and dried it's melded onto the cake. Something like chocolate or royal icing can snap off.

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