Customer Is A Bit Sketchy.

Business By MarleyCakesVT Updated 28 Sep 2014 , 4:23pm by Rosie93095

MarleyCakesVT Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 9:48pm
post #1 of 44

I've been running my home based bakery for a few years now and this is a first for me. I have a general rule that any cake over $75 needs to have a deposit, but up to that, customers can pay upon pickup. I have recently been emailing with a potential client about a cake for her daughters birthday. During this email chain, I started to feel like this person may not be very reliable and decided that even though her cake only came to $50, I would ask for payment in full, up front. He cake is due to be delivered on Thursday and I have not yet received payment, even though I have emailed and tried to get payment from her. She makes excuses that she does not have any credit cards or a debit card to pay with. She supposedly does not have checks either or uses PayPal. She even asked me to come pick up her boyfriend to take him to the bank so he could get the money. I find this to be highly suspicious and unprofessional.

 

My question is, how do I nicely tell her that she will not be getting this cake if I do not receive payment by Tuesday evening. I don't want to be mean and have her give me a bad review, but I do not trust that this woman will pay me when I deliver the cake. Any suggestions to protect myself and my reputation? :-(

43 replies
-K8memphis Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 10:39pm
post #2 of 44

y'know it's a crap shoot --you're danged if you do and danged if you don't -- oh and you gotta deliver it too -- i'd just write her and say -- 'regrettably, due to non-payment your cake order is cancelled' i'd just send it today and if she can figure out how to get you the money then you can decide if you want to go forward when you're looking at the green stuff -- because you'll eliminate the whole pins and needles thing of waiting and waiting and waiting -- this way the ball's in her court and the matter is clear cut and settled for you -- done --

 

this is your second post in three years? things are going well then   :-D don't be a stranger 

MarleyCakesVT Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 10:51pm
post #3 of 44

Its funny, I've had other issue before and I always forget about this place. I need to post more. you guys are great!

mattyeatscakes Posted 22 Sep 2014 , 11:21pm
post #4 of 44

A

Original message sent by MarleyCakesVT

Its funny, I've had other issue before and I always forget about this place. I need to post more. you guys are great!

Ohhh my spidey senses are tinggling.. Let this one go..

810whitechoc Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 10:59am
post #5 of 44

I'm thinking SHOW ME THE MONEY!  You have to take the boyfriend to the bank to get the money - definitely dodgy.

-K8memphis Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 12:01pm
post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by 810whitechoc 
 

I'm thinking SHOW ME THE MONEY!  You have to take the boyfriend to the bank to get the money - definitely dodgy.

 

 

question -- whose account will we be accessing :-D  oh yeah you don't have a bank account -- wait there i'll get right back to you on that................

Rosie93095 Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 1:34pm
post #7 of 44

I am facing a similar situation right now. I have a customer who ordered a custom designed Great Gatsby themed wedding cake for October 4th yes next week:) She ordered it two months ago, paid the customary retainer fee, but her balance was due to be paid by 9/20 and she still has not paid the balance. I have had to buy special molds for this cake and am reluctant to start actually working on the gum paste decorations (which need several days to dry) until she pays her balance.

I emailed her last week and she assured me she would send a check asap- but I still haven't received it. How do I tactfully tell her she is losing her retainer (which is in her contract) and not getting her wedding cake if she doesn't pay soon.....

leah_s Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 2:24pm
post #8 of 44

Ya'll are just too nice.  There's no need to queston this or worry about being tactful.  These "customers" are the ones disrespecting you and jerking you around.  No need to be nice to people like that.

 

"Per our signed contract, non-payment by  (date) results in forfeiture of your retainer and cancellation of the production of a cake for your event."

craftybanana Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 2:26pm
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarleyCakesVT 
 

. She makes excuses that she does not have any credit cards or a debit card to pay with. She supposedly does not have checks either or uses PayPal. She even asked me to come pick up her boyfriend to take him to the bank so he could get the money. I find this to be highly suspicious and unprofessional.

Sounds like the cake is a scam to rob you. As a former delivery driver, I've had a lady take the pizza from me, eat a slice while she rummaged through her purse and then say she didn't have enough money. I naively gave her a ride to the store so she could get her daughter some medicine and cash, telling her I could not bring her back to her condo. She called my boss and said I had promised to wait for her. Long story short, I eventually got my money (no tip) and a door slammed in my face. She got on our "No pizza for you" list.

 

Do NOT fall for it, cancel her order unless she pays in full by a date you set, do not say "soon." And if she still does not pay, tell her order is canceled. If she gives you a bad review, so be it. Most people that threaten that stuff are full of hot air and just move onto the next person hoping for a naive one.

 

She could just as well drive to your house to give you the cash in person. If she does give you a check, take it to the bank and cash it immediately as it could be a fraudulent check. You can also ask the bank if it's any good. The banks can also issue her a check made out to you.

AZCouture Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 2:32pm
post #10 of 44

A

Original message sent by leah_s

Ya'll are just too nice.  There's no need to queston this or worry about being tactful.  These "customers" are the ones disrespecting you and jerking you around.  No need to be nice to people like that.

"Per our signed contract, non-payment by  (date) results in forfeiture of your retainer and cancellation of the production of a cake for your event."

No kidding, and good grief, she's already burned thru fifty dollars of your time, and you haven't even MADE the cake yet. Yeesh.

AZCouture Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 2:34pm
post #11 of 44

AIf a customer does not have the ability to pay for a custom cake immediately, when it's that low of a price anyways, they aren't your customer. Period. Chasing people for fifty lousy dollars....

Rosie93095 Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 2:50pm
post #12 of 44

The cake I'm making has a $557 balance due.... I will email her today and take Leah's suggestion:)

MarleyCakesVT Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 4:23pm
post #13 of 44

Quote:

She could just as well drive to your house to give you the cash in person. If she does give you a check, take it to the bank and cash it immediately as it could be a fraudulent check. You can also ask the bank if it's any good. The banks can also issue her a check made out to you.

 

That's the other weird thing, no car and no cell phone. I've already decided not the do the cake and I will be emailing her this evening. Thanks for all the advice. I also wnet back to my website and made sure all of my policies are clear. Thanks again!

Gingerlocks Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 4:50pm
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarleyCakesVT 
 

 

That's the other weird thing, no car and no cell phone. I've already decided not the do the cake and I will be emailing her this evening. Thanks for all the advice. I also went back to my website and made sure all of my policies are clear. Thanks again!

What I am going to suggest is going to make me sound like a paranoid skitzo..bbuutt; has it crossed your mind that she's a rival decorator in your town? I only say this because there was a woman in my town who (what a start up cheep cake lady), but she was placing orders with other decorators and then flaking out when it came time to pick up/pay..she tried it with me, but I require a deposit and the story from her sounds very similar to yours.."O I don't have Internet" "No credit card" "Can you please just not take a deposit, you have my world I'll pay in full when I pick up"..and after some miraculous emails (considering she had no Internet), I googled her info, and sure enough she did cakes. Apparently she had done it to a few people, and they actually made cakes for her..and she of course never picked up. I think it was like some sort of sabotage in her mind I don't know..maybe she has the same mindset as my local crazy cake lady?

costumeczar Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:28pm
post #15 of 44

I had to email a bride this week to say that if I didn't receive payment by that afternoon there wouldn't be a wedding cake. Interestingly enough, about half an hour after I left messages at every phone number I had in her contact info,  the payment showed up.

 

What gets me about the OP's original post is the thing about not wanting to be mean. It isn't "mean" to ask to be paid for your work. It isn't "mean" to want to make a profit on a business. I took my cat to get his claws cut yesterday and I didn't think about how mean they were to charge me for it. When I filled up my gas tank I didn't think about how mean they were to make me pay (well maybe a little, but you get the point.)

 

If you're running  a business, don't put up with any funny business. You're not there to be nice to people, you're there to perform a service and provide a product that they PAY FOR.

AZCouture Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:32pm
post #16 of 44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rosie93095 
 

I am facing a similar situation right now. I have a customer who ordered a custom designed Great Gatsby themed wedding cake for October 4th yes next week:) She ordered it two months ago, paid the customary retainer fee, but her balance was due to be paid by 9/20 and she still has not paid the balance. I have had to buy special molds for this cake and am reluctant to start actually working on the gum paste decorations (which need several days to dry) until she pays her balance.

I emailed her last week and she assured me she would send a check asap- but I still haven't received it. How do I tactfully tell her she is losing her retainer (which is in her contract) and not getting her wedding cake if she doesn't pay soon.....

And how much was the retainer that she paid to hold her spot?

AZCouture Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:35pm
post #17 of 44

That's another BIG mistake I see a lot, and Im NOT referring to you @Rosie93095 , because I don't know the amount (yet). But in general, when I see people referring to retainers/deposits of piddly amounts like $25 or even $50 for cakes that are going to be hundreds of dollars, that's no bueno. 

 

A retainer/deposit needs to be large enough that it will hurt the customer to just walk away from the order, should they find themselves no longer in need of your services for whatever reason. I can see people walking away from an order if all they had invested in it so far was $25 to $50, even more, really. If they put down $250 on a $500 cake, it's doubtful that they're going to disappear. 

costumeczar Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:45pm
post #18 of 44

On that note, another mistake that people make is to take too much in advance and go spend it right away without taking note of their own refund policies. I only do a $100 retainer because I don't want to hold that much money in my bank account for months to a year. Since there's a section in my contract that allows for a full refund of the retainer if I drop dead, I leave the retainers in my account until the cake is done. I rarely have trouble with anyone not paying, I think I've had to chase down two people in 15 years. $25 or $50 is too low IMO but I don't think you need to take 50% unless you want to. And don't take the money out until the cake is delivered in one piece.

costumeczar Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:52pm
post #19 of 44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gingerlocks 
 

What I am going to suggest is going to make me sound like a paranoid skitzo..bbuutt; has it crossed your mind that she's a rival decorator in your town? I only say this because there was a woman in my town who (what a start up cheep cake lady), but she was placing orders with other decorators and then flaking out when it came time to pick up/pay..she tried it with me, but I require a deposit and the story from her sounds very similar to yours.."O I don't have Internet" "No credit card" "Can you please just not take a deposit, you have my world I'll pay in full when I pick up"..and after some miraculous emails (considering she had no Internet), I googled her info, and sure enough she did cakes. Apparently she had done it to a few people, and they actually made cakes for her..and she of course never picked up. I think it was like some sort of sabotage in her mind I don't know..maybe she has the same mindset as my local crazy cake lady?

This isn't as farfetched as you might think it sounds...I started charging for appointments recently because I had so many no-shows and I also had planners who I suspected were sending people to me just to make it look like they were giving them a choice before pushing them toward the bakers who give them kickbacks. As soon as I started charging all of that nonsense stopped, and certain planners have totally stopped sending people to me. I suspect that certain jerky bakers in town call to make fake appointments with other bakers just to waste our time.

AZCouture Posted 23 Sep 2014 , 11:56pm
post #20 of 44

Oh I believe it!

AZCouture Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:02am
post #21 of 44

OMG!

 

Reminds me of a story I read very recently on a Facebook cake group. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. So this decorator took a last minute, like as in the night before the cake was due, last minute order. Apparently when it was time for the customer to come pick it up, they were a no show. So this decorator packed up the cake, drove over to the house, and asked for payment. The customer didn't have the full amount, so the decorator said that was fine, took what they did have,, stuck her hand in the cake to dig a chunk out, tossed the cake on the ground, and walked off laughing. :x 

 

Really? You're a dumb bunny first off for taking an order without FULL payment before even turning the oven on, and then you pull an embarrassing stunt like that? Good luck with future work with an immature reaction like that. :-X

costumeczar Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:05am
post #22 of 44

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 
 

Reminds me of a story I read very recently on a Facebook cake group. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. So this decorator took a last minute, like as in the night before the cake was due, last minute order. Apparently when it was time for the customer to come pick it up, they were a no show. So this decorator packed up the cake, drove over to the house, and asked for payment. The customer didn't have the full amount, so the decorator said that was fine, took what they did have,, stuck her hand in the cake to dig a chunk out, tossed the cake on the ground, and walked off laughing. :x

 

Based on the number of people who have started selling cakes with no business experience regarding professionalism, I would believe this actually did happen.

AZCouture Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:12am
post #23 of 44

It may have, it may have just been what she wanted to do, but either way, the likes and "atta girls" that she received for her story was atrocious. 

AZCouture Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:14am
post #24 of 44

Hey @costumeczar , you quoted my post but left out the awesomely huge OMG! What gives?:twisted:

cakesbycathy Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:22am
post #25 of 44

OP, She's yanking your chain and deep down you know it or your spidey sense wouldn't be going off like crazy.  She has every excuse in the book AND she wants you to drive the boyfriend to get money?  Frankly, that's the biggest load of BS I've heard in a long time.

 

Email her or call and tell her since she has not paid so she will not be getting a cake.  Just keep repeating it until she gets the message.  Honestly, even if she did bring you cash payment if full within the hour I would still turn down the order seeing how sketchy the whole situation is.

cakesbycathy Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:25am
post #26 of 44

And for the Great Gatsby wedding... you need to call AND email AND text the client and tell her per her contract since she has not made her payment on time she is NOT getting a wedding cake.  Tell her she has forfeited her deposit and wish her luck finding another baker.  Offer her the chance to bring you the final payment in CASH within 24 hours.  And don't do ANY work until you get the money.

AZCouture Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:50am
post #27 of 44

Yep, yep, yep, @cakesbycathy , you broke it down, no nonsense style! :party:

costumeczar Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 10:12am
post #28 of 44

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

Hey @costumeczar  , you quoted my post but left out the awesomely huge [SIZE=72px]OMG[/SIZE]! What gives?:twisted:

I generally quote the part I'm referring to and edit out the rest [SIZE=7]hahahaha[/SIZE]

Rosie93095 Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 12:51pm
post #29 of 44

She put down a $200 retainer. That is my customary for a cake over $400. Otherwise I just require 50%.

Like costumczar, I keep the money in the account until the cake is delivered just in case something horrible on my end happens.  The mold I bought for this cake , I can definitely use for future cakes, so it is just a business expense, but I definitely won't start working on the deco or cake until I get paid. Sent out email, and voice mail message today, still waiting to hear from the bride..... I will give her 24 hours then let her know the order is cancelled..

Gingerlocks Posted 24 Sep 2014 , 2:29pm
post #30 of 44
Quote:

 The customer didn't have the full amount, so the decorator said that was fine, took what they did have,, stuck her hand in the cake to dig a chunk out, tossed the cake on the ground, and walked off laughing. :x 

 

Really? You're a dumb bunny first off for taking an order without FULL payment before even turning the oven on, and then you pull an embarrassing stunt like that? Good luck with future work with an immature reaction like that. :-X

 

This is one of the most horrific stories I have ever heard; Dear Lord! She can kiss her business goodbye once people hear about this..and she'll be the one telling them about it no doubt; and then be completely mystified when people stop placing orders..

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%