I Got My First Complaint :-( Should I Have Given A Refund?

Business By livin4ever Updated 30 Apr 2014 , 3:33pm by -K8memphis

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 1:41am
post #1 of 37

I'm 17, and I've been doing cakes for about a year. I've had all positive feedback up until yesterday. I haven't heard anything back from the lady that ordered the cake, but her sister (or mother, not sure, but had same last name) just commented on my business page saying how the colors were not right, they couldn't cut into the cake (I am assuming they didn't know what fondant was), and said that she was glad only one family had to see the horrible experience :-( I emailed the lady that placed the order and explained to her why the cake was firm on the outside (fondant) and showed her that the colors matched the picture to a tee. I told her I stand beside my work, and that I would giver her a full  refund. Should I have offered that? Like I said, this is my first complaint, and I am not really sure how to deal with it. Below is the picture, she wanted it small, it was only for a few people.*

36 replies
livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 1:50am
post #2 of 37

Oh, and might I add, that I only charged her $45 and that included delivery.

Norasmom Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 1:58am
post #3 of 37

You need more experience, so keep baking.  We know nothing about your business, but hopefully you have the legalities taken care of.


If you offered a refund, you must give the refund, however, taking a refund from a 17-year old is not something I would be able to do in good conscience, and I hope that your customer will not accept the refund.


Most everyone in the cake business will get a complaint from time to time.  It happens.

remnant3333 Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:08am
post #4 of 37

 You should always explain the difference between fondant and butter cream before making anyone a cake because some people prefer all butter cream. Most people who do not like fondant peel it away from the cake and do not eat it. 


As for your cake, it looks pretty cute to me. They got a bargain for only $45.00 especially with delivery. For you being only 17 your cake is very cute!! Good job!! Hopefully, someone here can give you advice. There are some people who just want to get their cakes for free!!! You should put them on the "no cake for you" list in the future!!!

Sorry you are going through this. Hang in there!!!

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:19am
post #5 of 37

Thanks remnant333 :-) I explained to her when I delivered the that it cake was covered in fondant and that some people don't like it, but can peel it off and there is frosting underneath. I was originally going to use just frost it in buttercream with fondant chevron stripes (because I know the large amount of people that don't like fondant :-) ), but it just did not look good at all. I don't like covering cakes in fondant (actually this is just my 2nd one in fondant), but felt the need to with this one. Oh well!

denetteb Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 4:09am
post #6 of 37

I don't sell cakes but it seems that it isn't a good idea to sell a fondant cake if they ordered buttercream, or at least get them to confirm in writing that they are ok with that before you make the change.  I also am not sure why you would offer a full refund if the person who ordered the cake hasn't contacted you.  I would at least call the person who ordered it (not email, a real  phone call), tell them what was posted of facebook and see if they actually have any concerns and what they are before you offer a full refund. 

BrandisBaked Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 12:08pm
post #7 of 37

AI think you have potential, and the cake is very cute. It is not, however, a $45 cake. You need to put your cakes on nicer boards, and keep up the practice - you'll get there.

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 12:16pm
post #8 of 37

Thanks for your advice denetteb :-) The picture she actually sent of the cake she wanted was a fondant covered cake, but did not clarify if she wanted buttercream or fondant (to which my fault I did not ask). I contacted the buyer, and she did not feel the need to contact me about it and said it must have been her mother.

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 12:39pm
post #9 of 37

Thank you BrandisBaked, when you say it is not a $45 cake, is the price too low or too high? Do you have any recommendations on where to get nicer cake boards? These were the best I can find, but I live in a rural area, so I have pretty slim pickings :-)

-K8memphis Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 12:52pm
post #10 of 37

you can use those boards--tape or hot glue two or three together and get some wilton foil  (some use florist foil but it is not approved for food) the wilton is approved to use with food--and cover your board--get the edges nice & smoothy smooth--you can then cover that edge with ribbon or leave plain--last i knew they make gold or silver--


you can buy cake drums--mail order through the internet--you can get foamcore sheets and cut your own--


sometimes i use cleany clean fabric to cover a board--i'll cut out a wild shape and cover the board with a cool fabric then the cake itself is still on it's own cardboard cut to fit the cake so it doesn't show--but cardboard is there to further protect the cake--for ease of serving & for ease of handling the cakes when you are decorating and don't want to mess up your custom cake boards--i adhere the cake to the board with hot glue or with a nice smear of icing--


and me personally i like a board that is usually 4 inches larger that the cake--i think a 2" border is nicer but that's just moi


another idea is to use paper lace doilies--cut them in quarters or eighths and slide them under the cake all the way around--it conceals the cardboard edge and overlap them a bit for a ruffly effect--


random cake board ideas for you--


best baking to you--love your cake!

BrandisBaked Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 12:54pm
post #11 of 37

AYou can find them online. As for the price, that would depend in the size. But I do think you overcharged a bit... Not a lot (I'd say it's more a $25-35 cake depending on size), but like I said - with more practice, your cakes could command top dollar.

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 1:02pm
post #12 of 37

Thanks so much K8memphis! Those are some awesome ideas :-)

denetteb Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:07pm
post #13 of 37

So the  buyer was happy with the cake and therefore no refund?

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 2:12pm
post #14 of 37

The buyer was not 100% pleased with the cake, so I offered a refund.

costumeczar Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 6:11pm
post #15 of 37

I disagree that it's priced too high. There are things that you could do to make it fancier but it's neat enough that $45 is fine if not too low. Is it an 8" round? I charge $40 for a 5" round that's undecorated for anniversary cakes, and that's only as a favor to the couple. Don't drop your prices, there's no way that you should unless you enjoy working for free.

livin4ever Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 6:31pm
post #16 of 37

Yes costumeczar, it is an 8in.  round. I could not have afforded to charge any less, I spent about 5 hours working on it (lets just say the chevron print was a headache :-D ) it would have came to about $6 an hour by the time you factor in the ingredients and the gas to deliver it. I just can't work for that. I'm glad you agree with the price too :-)

howsweet Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 7:24pm
post #17 of 37


Original message sent by costumeczar

I disagree that it's priced too high. There are things that you could do to make it fancier but it's neat enough that $45 is fine if not too low. Is it an 8" round? I charge $40 for a 5" round that's undecorated for anniversary cakes, and that's only as a favor to the couple. Don't drop your prices, there's no way that you should unless you enjoy working for free.

Same here. I hope you don't mind my saying that the cake is not up to my professional standards, but if I had made a similar, better, cake, it would have been maybe $170. This 8 inch cake was $200

[IMG ALT=""]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3227416/width/350/height/700[/IMG]

Lfredden Posted 28 Apr 2014 , 8:50pm
post #18 of 37

Jessicakes has a tutorial online that explains how to get fondant stripes onto a cake, it might help with your chevron pattern.  I'm definitely far from being a pro, but I would hone my skills more before selling cakes.  The bright side is your super young and have talent and time on your side, you'll get there.

costumeczar Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 2:50am
post #19 of 37

I hate chevron, reminds me of Charlie Brown's shirt. But if I did have to do it, or any other design that was really angular like that, I'd use modeling chocolate instead of fondant because it's stiffer.

BrandisBaked Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 7:09pm
post #20 of 37

AWhat really matters is what the customer thinks. Did SHE think it was a $45 cake?

howsweet Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 7:28pm
post #21 of 37

AI have to disagree. An extremely high percentage of people selling cake have no idea how to price, let's not add customers to this mess.

Ultimately they have their voice in terms of demand anyway.

howsweet Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 7:32pm
post #22 of 37

AI was that way at first, but it's starting to grow on me. It will be completely retro by the time I fully embrace it though :)

Sorry, on my phone and it's not cooperating. That was supposed to quote costumeczar.

AZCouture Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 7:50pm
post #23 of 37

It already is. It's called rick rack.

costumeczar Posted 29 Apr 2014 , 11:06pm
post #24 of 37


Originally Posted by AZCouture 

It already is. It's called rick rack.

Hahahahaha! Rick rack...I used to have a bunch of stylin' clothes in the early '70's with Rick Rack on them. The biggest, fattest rick rack was the best. http://lh6.ggpht.com/-PJEZneBtR84/UpRnEQYYAVI/AAAAAAAAorU/RpqUMPG_ig0/s1600-h/jumbo%252520ric%252520rac%252520skirt%25255B4%25255D.jpg


And I agree with the customer and pricing...You set the prices, not the customer, unless it's a haggling situation. Of course they're all going to say that everything should be less than it is, that's their job as the customer regardless of what the item is.

bubs1stbirthday Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 12:07am
post #25 of 37


Originally Posted by AZCouture 

It already is. It's called rick rack.

Funny how sayings can be similar but different - chinese whisper style - around here we say 'riff raff'.

MBalaska Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 12:35am
post #26 of 37


MBalaska Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 12:39am
post #27 of 37


Originally Posted by livin4ever 

".................I told her I stand beside my work, and that I would giver her a full  refund. Should I have offered that? Like I said, this is my first complaint, and I am not really sure how to deal with it. ....""""


So how did this turn out for you, did you stick with your decision to refund all of her money?

feuerrader24 Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 12:49am
post #28 of 37

AWell, since you offered her a refund, you will need to honor that if she comes back and requests it. Whether or not you should have offered one is a different story, so I have a few questions....

- Did you take an order specifically for buttercream? If yes and you delivered fondant instead, you did not give the customer what she ordered.

- Did you quote her $45 for the cake PRIOR to adding the fondant? Or did you quote $45 for buttercream and did fondnt anyway?

- Did you practice the chevron prior to agreeing to this cake? Did you try making chevron patterns on the requested medium (in this case, buttercream)?

Basically, if a customer orders something, you need to be 100% confident you can deliver what they request. This is a really good learning experience for you. If you don't know how to do a specific technique, you need to let your customer know that you can't do what they want. I would much rather someone say, "I am unable to do that, let me suggest this" than "Oh OF COURSE I can do that!" and give me gabage. And if you come across something you cannot do, PRACTICE! Online videos, tutorials, books, whatever. Learn it now so you can do it later. Don't wait until the night before a delivery to figure out you can't do something.

I also think if you are going to sell cakes, sell what you know you can do. If that means basic buttercream with nice writing and flowers, do it! But practice your other skills in between. My hair stylist practiced extensions on me while she was in training and now she is skilled enough to offer them in her shop and make good money off of them. Sell what you are good at and work to become better!

As far as cake boards, the Wilton wrap comes in a lot of fun colors and there are TONS of stores you can order supplies from. Even a cake board covered in tin foil looks cleaner than a naked cake board!

livin4ever Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 1:10am
post #29 of 37

It turned out, she really wasn't that all displeased. It was her mom that left all the nasty comments on my page. I offered her a refund, but I never heard back from her after that. I figured she was just embarrassed with everything that went on with her mom :-)

howsweet Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 2:33am
post #30 of 37

AYay! Live and learn! Love those cakes in your avatar :-D

Quote by @%username% on %date%