Do I Give A Full Or Partial Refund?

Decorating By joyandcake Updated 28 Oct 2014 , 7:42pm by babyblue113

joyandcake Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 5:42pm
post #1 of 17

Some opinions please ....

 

I delivered a 3 tier wedding cake and a sheetcake for extra servings on a Saturday night.

 

On Wednesday I got a call from the mother of the bride telling me that the cake was inedible!  (My first ever complaint about taste in the many years I have been in business!)  She told me that the cake was so hard that the bride could not cut into it and then that the sheetcake was an odd texture, something the caterers had never seen before.

 

I apologized to her and let her know that I would provide a refund.

 

In my letter accompanying the refund check, I reminded her that the terms in her contract are that no refund is given if the cake is used as the centerpiece for an event and is served to guests.  The terms indicate that a cake must be returned or refused for a refund.  The terms indicate that if a client is unhappy with the cake but serve it, then we will do our best to make that up to them.

 

I let her know that I felt for her unhappiness and would refund the amount she had paid less the price of the same cake had it been a display cake (since they loved the look of the cake and it was the centerpiece of the wedding for hours) plus an additional 30% (for her disappointment that her guests did not enjoy the taste of the cake).  The total refund on the cake was 70%.

 

I considered giving her a full refund because I would hate to think of a bride being unhappy, however I felt that I was not given the opportunity to rectify or verify the situation.  I left  my cell phone number with the caterer and had I received a call the minute they discovered there was a problem I could have had a replacement cake there in 30 minutes. But nobody contacted me.   And even if I could not have rectified the situation, I am sure that the tiered cake was perfectly fine even if there was a problem with the sheetcake (I tasted it when I leveled it and the problem cutting was the very dense fondant floral decor on the tier they tried to cut) and I would have liked to have been able to taste the cake with them to determine if there was truly an issue.  I explained this as well.

 

I am very torn about whether I did the right thing.  I value customer service more than profit so giving a full refund felt more "right".  But on the other hand, a lot of time and expense went into the cake and they loved the way it looked and I truly believe that there was nothing wrong with the tiered cake and I honestly can't say that there was anything wrong with the sheetcake.  

 

What do you all think?

16 replies
-K8memphis Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 5:55pm
post #2 of 17

most everybody has cake leftover after an event especially if they didn't serve it all because they didn't like it -- i would not give any more than the 70% -- you did them more than right -- no you shouldn't have given a full refund -- why didn't you request the return of the cake?

joyandcake Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 5:59pm
post #3 of 17

Thanks for your thoughts!

 

There was no cake to return ... they served it to the guests.  Which is sort of what is weighing on me .... if it was "inedible" then why did they even plate it?  Why didn't they call me and tell me that they could not serve it? 

-K8memphis Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 6:07pm
post #4 of 17

they intentionally served inedible cake? at some point they'd figure it was 'inedible' before they finished serving -- there's a bs flag on this play -- and why didn't you uphold your own contract? 

 

seems like you got flimflammed doesn't it?

 

what does the caterer say?

joyandcake Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 6:10pm
post #5 of 17

I like you K8memphis!  You have given me a few things to think about!

pastrypet Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 6:52pm
post #6 of 17

They spent money on a cake. Somewhere they got the idea that if they complained afterward that the cake was nearly impossible to cut and inedible (although they ate it anyway), they would get a refund and laugh all the way to the bank. There are a lot of these "how to save money on your wedding" schemes.

 

For an unhappy customer, do not react right away. If the cake was inedible, then they need to return the uneaten cake. If the cake was pretty enough to be displayed AND it was eaten, no refund. It's just buyer's remorse, or actually planning to scam you out of the cost of the cake.

 

Does the venue agree that the cake was inedible? Do you know anyone who went to the wedding whom you could ask what the cake tasted like? If the complaint was "nobody liked it" ask for names and contact them yourself to ask about the cake.

 

Get all the facts before you respond to the complaint.

johnson6ofus Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 7:18pm
post #7 of 17

Fondant texture and taste is often a problem for "lay" people, but the caterers should know it.

 

I once saw this on a famous BBQ menu..."Our BBQ chicken develops a light pink hue as we smoke it over 12 hours. It is fully cooked when served. We will not accept returns to the kitchen for "pink" chicken. "

 

I wonder if, on the cake contract, a line to be initialed by the customer you write:

"You have ordered a cake covered in and/or decorated with fondant decorations. Many people are not familiar with the taste and texture of fondant. We use the best fondant available, and it is completely edible. Our cakes are made with a complete layer of buttercream, under the fondant. Therefor, you may instruct the cake server/ caterer that the cake be served with the fondant, or without."

costumeczar Posted 17 Oct 2014 , 10:50pm
post #8 of 17

The first thing you should do when you get a call like that is to call the venue or the caterers to see what happened. They would tell you if the cake was eaten or not. I had a situation where the MOB called and said that there was way too much cake left over because nobody wanted to eat it, it was dry, etc etc. I called the venue and they said that she had been IN THE KITCHEN during the reception telling them to cut the pieces really thin so that she could take a lot of cake home. Another time a bride called and said that they had an entire tier left over that nobody ate. The venue said that there was nothing wrong with the cake, but that they had about half th number of guests show up that they had paid for, so of course there was a lot of cake left over.

 

Having said that, since you gave her a refund already you're done. 70% is a lot more than I would have given without investigating what went wrong, if anything. If she cashes the check it means that she's accepted the refund and you're finished with her.

FioreCakes Posted 18 Oct 2014 , 12:10am
post #9 of 17

Just wanted to say that the advice given here is great!

Norasmom Posted 18 Oct 2014 , 1:39am
post #10 of 17

MOB wants free cake, IMHO.  You were generous to offer the refund.  I would check with the caterer about what went on with the cake.

 

Maybe cake contracts should have a clause that says "all refund requests must be sent within 24 hours of noticing cake has not been eaten, and a refund will be at the discretion of the baker."  I think she waited entirely too long to let you know she didn't like the cake.

indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2014 , 3:34am
post #11 of 17

One of my catering stories is similar to this.  MOB called to tell me how bad the scalloped potatoes were and everyone hated them.  I said, "Hmmm.  THat's odd because we only had about 3 servings left at the end of the night." (and I ALWAYS made more food than was actually needed!)  MOB then says, "Well ... they may have put it on their plate but they didn't eat it because it was bad."  To which I replied, "I'm sorry, that's not true either.  See, my staff KNOWS that when they collect the plates and scrape the garbage, they are to notice what they are trashing.  Because when I walk into the kitchen and ask "what are we seeing?", they let me know if there is any particular food that is being left on the plates.  And last night, my manager told me, "Plates are clean."  So you can see why I can't agree there was a problem with the potatoes."

 

She discontinued her push for a refund.

remnant3333 Posted 23 Oct 2014 , 9:20am
post #12 of 17

It is terrible how some people try to get their money back by making up lies!! Sorry that this happened to you!! I agree that you should call the venue and ask questions because I think that something else here is going on.  Your cake was probably delicious!!

cai0311 Posted 23 Oct 2014 , 2:17pm
post #13 of 17

AI would call the venue/caterer to find out what really happened. It sounds to me like a case of greediness on behalf of the MOB.

Now, I do not agree with the thought that cake at a wedding needs to be returned for a refund. The client is not cutting the cake so by the time they realize there is a problem, the cake is probably already cut and served. Plus, what is a wedding without a dessert. Even if I realized the cake was bad, I don't think I would have stopped my caterer from serving it. What is a wedding without dessert?

Now, that being said, I do think it is fishy that the MOB waited 4 days after the wedding to call you. Because of that, I think something is amiss in this situation.

If you haven't already informed her what her refund will be I would do some investigating before you send her anything. Since you already told her something will be refunded - you are stuck to that. But that something could be $1.

julia1812 Posted 24 Oct 2014 , 4:32am
post #14 of 17

AI get all stressed out from reading this... Just happy I don't do wedding cakes (yet)

babyblue113 Posted 24 Oct 2014 , 1:45pm
post #15 of 17

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

The first thing you should do when you get a call like that is to call the venue or the caterers to see what happened. They would tell you if the cake was eaten or not. I had a situation where the MOB called and said that there was way too much cake left over because nobody wanted to eat it, it was dry, etc etc. I called the venue and they said that she had been IN THE KITCHEN during the reception telling them to cut the pieces really thin so that she could take a lot of cake home. Another time a bride called and said that they had an entire tier left over that nobody ate. The venue said that there was nothing wrong with the cake, but that they had about half th number of guests show up that they had paid for, so of course there was a lot of cake left over.

 

Having said that, since you gave her a refund already you're done. 70% is a lot more than I would have given without investigating what went wrong, if anything. If she cashes the check it means that she's accepted the refund and you're finished with her.


OMG I didn't know these type of shenanigans go on.....I'm glad I know now!

costumeczar Posted 24 Oct 2014 , 4:04pm
post #16 of 17

Quote:

Originally Posted by babyblue113 
 


OMG I didn't know these type of shenanigans go on.....I'm glad I know now!


Oh, if you talk to venue managers you'll get an ear full!

babyblue113 Posted 28 Oct 2014 , 7:42pm
post #17 of 17

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 


Oh, if you talk to venue managers you'll get an ear full!


Thanks for the tip!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%