A Deposit Is Not A Gift Certificate.

Business By jenmat Updated 26 Nov 2014 , 1:39am by jenmat

jenmat Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 3:42pm
post #1 of 10

Hey all~

So I have a bride who was booked for Jan 24th. 2 weeks ago she cancelled her wedding. She paid a $50 deposit/retainer. This locks in the date and comes off the price of the cake.

 

Yesterday I got an email saying that while she cancelled her cake, she would "hate for her deposit to go to waste" and would like to cash it in for a cake or cupcakes. She was nice about it.

 

My contract states that if you cancel 30 days prior to the wedding, all monies minus the non-refundable retainer fee will be refunded. It does not say that the deposit is non-transferrable. (although it will from here on out.)

 

She had neither designed her cake nor paid in full. So it is just the $50. The design appointment was supposed to be yesterday. She has paid for a tasting and there have been emails back and forth, but nothing I would consider hard work.

 

I will most likely offer her a round cake or cupcakes, but as an offer of goodwill. I want to avoid nickel and dime-ing of what exactly $50 worth of cake could be, as she would probably then need to order several times unless she wants a larger cake (it's just her now), and I don't want to be providing her with a bunch of little cakes throughout the year.

 

My post is really for your thoughts on this. I can see her point, but really, she can't tell me that when she cancelled her venue she asked for a gift certificate for the deposit. Same for the florist, dress and photographer. A deposit is to hold a date. It is a promise of more payment as well- I have a minimum of $375 for wedding cakes. She signed a contract that says it is non-refundable.

 

BUT I can see her feeling that the deposit was to pay for cake, and she wants cake. Also, I can see her saying that she will order for her original wedding date if I throw out the "this was to book Jan 24th". But still, I'm not going to set a precedent that if you breach contract, you now get a benefit from it.

 

 

In other words, a deposit is not a gift certificate, right?

 

(I will still be giving her some kind of cake because it will be better than arguing, but I wanted everyone's thoughts.)

9 replies
-K8memphis Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 5:26pm
post #2 of 10

i have little patience having used most of it up earlier in life :D and this annoys me (on your behalf) i'm glad she doesn't have attitude about it but she is making it difficult --- i think you're saying your deposit/retainer is not refundable so don't refund it -- just in general i'm surprised that you would refund 30 days out less the deposit --

 

idk -- i keep the money if they cancel -- to me a brick and mortar bakery can flex better and would refund but not the little micro bakeries --

 

and i see your point to bake something for her anyway but that makes me tired -- i would want to double the salt in it :-D 

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 5:47pm
post #3 of 10

A deposit is a deposit...something you give to say you will give more and if not, you are compensating the recipient with something for them reserving your space.  No, it is not a gift receipt.  In her case, you could have turned down other work for her date...with her cancelling, you have no order from her (thus no more money), no other work (which you could have had) and now she is asking you to make something else??!  You WILL end up out of pocket.  For what it's worth, I require a 50% deposit paid up front and the rest is due 1 month before the wedding.  If they cancel within that time, they get no refund.  Good luck! x

Gingerlocks Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 6:04pm
post #4 of 10

I wouldn't give her a cake or cupcake or anything else... you reserved that date for her. No one else is going to book a $375 wedding cake with you for that date in the next 30 days..you are out of pocket because she canceled on you. So don't feel bad for her; you are out of pocket because of her.

costumeczar Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 6:15pm
post #5 of 10

Hmmm...I don't usually refund deposits because you never know whether they're trying to scam you and go take their business elsewhere, but if she really did cancel you want to preserve the goodwill of having her come back to you when she eventually does get married. Did you check with the venue to see if she did really cancel the wedding? I do that if I get a cancellation because I've run into situations where family members were trying to mess with people by cancelling someone else's plans...Yes, even wedding plans, it's unbelievable.

 

Anyway, if she really did cancel and it's not a big deal to make a dozen cupcakes or just refund the deposit, I'd do it, especially for $50. I had one bride cancel and later got three wedding cakes from it because she kept referring people to me. She said I was the only vendor to be nice to her after she had to cancel her wedding.

jenmat Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 7:57pm
post #6 of 10

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, I figured I was on the right track. 

 

This bride is an out of towner, so as far as referrals, I highly doubt it. BUT that doesn't mean she can't blast me somewhere, nor does it mean I want to leave her with a bad taste in her mouth, so to speak. 

 

I have adjusted the contract I have to say that the deposit is non refundable and nontransferable, so in the future, that should cover me, right? 

 

I'm going to play this as "well, the deposit is actually non refundable, but I would be happy to provide you with blah blah blah as a gesture of goodwill and to enjoy at your convenience."

 

I cringe to think that she may come back all hot and bothered demanding $50 worth of cake....and then we have to get technical....ugh. Hopefully nicey-nice will be the end of it. 

 

I don't typically accept final payments until 30 days prior to the event, so a full refund minus the deposit is no skin off my back- they would have to pay me and turn around and cancel the wedding the next day. I'm curious to know what others do with this. I typically have a bride book about 8-12 months out, design her cake about 4 months out and then finalize one month out. Not ideal, but at the 8-12 month out mark they don't even know what they want so it is what it is. In other words, there is no way to put down a 50% deposit if we have no idea what they are doing for their cake. 

 

I guess there is a plus side to having a low deposit...I'm only supposed to make her $50 worth of cake  instead of $187! (50% of 375) 

 

Ugh. SMH.

Pastrybaglady Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 9:47pm
post #7 of 10

A[quote name="costumeczar" url="/t/780873/a-deposit-is-not-a-gift-certificate#post_7563558"] Did you check with the venue to see if she did really cancel the wedding? I do that if I get a cancellation because I've run into situations where family members were trying to mess with people by cancelling someone else's plans...Yes, even wedding plans, it's unbelievable.

SERIOUSLY??? What is wrong with people!!!

costumeczar Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 10:18pm
post #8 of 10

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenmat 

 

 

I have adjusted the contract I have to say that the deposit is non refundable and nontransferable, so in the future, that should cover me, right? 

 

 

 

That should do it. I doubt that she would give you trouble anyway, she's probably just fishing.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pastrybaglady 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 

Did you check with the venue to see if she did really cancel the wedding? I do that if I get a cancellation because I've run into situations where family members were trying to mess with people by cancelling someone else's plans...Yes, even wedding plans, it's unbelievable.

SERIOUSLY??? What is wrong with people!!!

Oh, yeah...One girl's sister cancelled her honeymoon reservations, and I had one bride who called off the whole thing to elope because her mother was changing all the details without telling her. She only found out when the custom dressmaker called to say she needed some additional measurements for the changes that had been made on her dress.

MKC Posted 25 Nov 2014 , 10:42pm
post #9 of 10

Adid you lose business because you booked this date for her? did you invest money in ingredients or tools? if yes, then I would keep it.

also I would be worried that she would demand a specific cake or cupcakes. like someone else said...she's going fishing.

jenmat Posted 26 Nov 2014 , 1:39am
post #10 of 10
Alls well that ends well...she took what I offered gladly. This was a great lesson for me- even after years and years I still need to check my contract for holes! 
This is what I sent her (and yes, I said gesture of goodwill TWICE! Can't believe I didn't catch that!)
 
Well, the deposit is actually nonrefundable, so it isn't something I can credit you. But as a gesture of goodwill, I'd be happy to do a dozen cupcakes or an 8" cake of your choice as a gesture of good will. 
 
I'm doing a bunch of cakes for Christmas with a beautiful motif design...maybe that is something special you'd like to share with your family?

 

And here was her response:

 

Thank you so much Jen! I know you did not have to do this, but I really, really appreciate it.  The christmas idea sounds fun! Or else I am planning a weekend in Chicago with my family, the weekend of what would have been the wedding, and we are going to see disneys frozen on ice! So maybe some cupcakes would be fun for that. Let me think about it and get back to you if that is ok?
 
Again I really appreciate you doing this, I'll be looking forward to some yummy cakes :)

Thank you!

 

So there you go. 

 

And to answer- no, I didn't turn any business away since this was an off season wedding. But the deposit agreement assumes that this is a possibility. I was afraid it was going to come to me making her cousin Lou's Minecraft cake or something and I would rather poke my eyes out with knitting needles. So this was a wonderful way to dodge a bullet and still make her feel special. And sew up the contract with those knitting needles....

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