What To Do If Customer Does Not Like Their Cake???

Decorating By zinger60 Updated 10 May 2015 , 7:57pm by costumeczar

zinger60 Posted 2 May 2015 , 2:48pm
post #1 of 26

I have been making cakes for about 5 years now and have sold hundreds of them over the years.  We have had only 1 complaint in all the years and that was from a lady who said the technique I used for her tutu cake was not what she was looking for.  So yesterday, I had a cake pickup, which the lady paid and never said anything about not liking it.  I get a phone call an hour later from her saying that she was not happy with the colors on the cake.  Then I received a message from her husband, who actually ordered the cake, and said his wife "hated" the cake, was in tears and said the colors were not "bright" like they wanted and the colors were like a baby shower cake.  I used the colors that he told me to use but now they say the colors were not bright enough and they want to bring me the cake back and get their money back,  I told them there is no way I will take back a cake after it leaves my possession.  I have no way of knowing if the cake was adulterated by them while they had it.  I told him if she would have said she didn't like it when she picked it up, I would have just kept it and donated it to a local shelter and she could have kept her money.  So I finally offered them a partial refund and they said no, they want all their money back, which was $60, or they want another cake.  What should I do?  What do you guys do when you spend time and money making a cake and the customer says its not how they wanted it?

25 replies
-K8memphis Posted 2 May 2015 , 3:39pm
post #2 of 26

could you doctor up the colors brighter with an airbrush or a paint brush or something -- maybe replace a few of the elements with brighter coloring -- sounds like garden variety buyer's remorse to me on the surface -- somebody thinks somebody paid too much -- tears? over a cake color? -- there's more going on behind the scenes but i think it's buyer's remorse

zinger60 Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:02pm
post #3 of 26

Unfortunately it was mostly the whole body color of the cake they did not like and there's no way I can change that.  I would have to take the fondant off the whole cake and start over.  I bent over backwards for these people to begin with.  I took his order 5 days before the party, which we normally require 2 weeks notice so that we can get the deposit and get the cake booked.  Then when I told him he would need to get me the deposit soon, he said him and his wife were so busy, there was no way they could get a deposit to us so wouldn't we just "trust" him to pay when he picked up the cake.  Then, 2 days before the party, he completely changed the design of the cake after I had already baked the cakes a different shape and colored the fondant.  So I agreed to change the design and now all of these problems.  I don't know whether to offer to refund half, refund the full amount or tell him no deal.

-K8memphis Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:06pm
post #4 of 26

i'd want to say 'no deal' of course but...i think 10-25% off would be my max -- full refund means full cake gets returned -- they don't get to use part of it first and get all their $ back

-K8memphis Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:10pm
post #5 of 26

but seriously who cries over a cake color -- there's other stressful issues out there for them impacting on this -- make it as painless as possible for both sides

-K8memphis Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:14pm
post #6 of 26

y'know make a decision and stick to it -- game over -- they may or may not be happy with it but they are not happy anyway kwim

zinger60 Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:20pm
post #7 of 26

Thanks for your help. I know a lot of people make cakes and sell them so I was curious what others do when the customer has a problem with their cake.  I've only dealt with this one other time so I'm not sure what to do.  If I felt it was my fault, I would gladly return their money but I think they are making things up to get their money back. 

-K8memphis Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:43pm
post #8 of 26

i do too -- if they kept the cake you keep their money -- right? they coulda brought it back -- 

i have a friend who hilariously described how she paid a fortune for some chocolate bonbons loaded with booze and she just about passed out when she heard how much she owed but she tried to play it cool like she wasn't fazed and whipped out her credit card -- have you ever been in that spot where something you ordered was out of line for you at the time and you didn't know how to put it in reverse -- i have and maybe something like that is going on here -- i don't know -- but the tears mean much more than the color of the cake is disturbing her --

i think they put your face onto their troubles -- i mean you offered them a partial refund fair and square they rejected your offer - done. bam. next...

no refund for them

Jedi Knight Posted 2 May 2015 , 4:57pm
post #9 of 26

Customer's being an entitled a-hole. Please post the pic so we can assess the cake.

After reading everything about what went down - there were several things you could have don to nip this situation in the bud!

johnson6ofus Posted 2 May 2015 , 5:27pm
post #10 of 26

Sorry, custom cake made for a customer as ordered. Some color variation is expected. Colors are never guaranteed. the "drama" (tears) over a cake color is also just a ploy to get $$$, and that makes very even more likely to just say no. 


If, in your eyes, you delivered (made) a product as ordered, no refund!

remnant3333 Posted 2 May 2015 , 7:46pm
post #11 of 26

 Sorry this happened to you!! Sounds like buyer's remorse. You always have one or two people like that who try to get their money back!!!  You should always make person sign for the cake when they pick it up that they are satisfied with the way the cake looks. That way, when they come back on you they have no leg to stand on because they signed for the cake!! Color, to me should not be something that would make them cry!!!

SweetDesire88 Posted 2 May 2015 , 10:38pm
post #12 of 26

Color, design, flavor ect. These type of customers have always dislikes.

Not long ago I had a customer that wanted a sample cake. I told her how much it would cost with all the glamour she wanted. She freaked and said to me a sample cake for 25. So I did. Wrote the order down specified what was going to be on the cake: how many flowers, colors, cake flavor, and so on.

Well she came to pick it up she was pleased with it. Then weeks later she calls me saying that she didn't like it and if she could get a refund. I said no, she agreed how the cake was going to be.  


denetteb Posted 2 May 2015 , 10:52pm
post #13 of 26

DId they order bright colors?  Did they receive bright colors?  That is the issue.

CakesbyMichele Posted 2 May 2015 , 11:31pm
post #14 of 26

I had the same thing happen!  Miscommunication on design and the color was wrong.  Tears from the woman that ordered while I was setting up.  I was really shocked at the response.  Angry and crying and her husband is yelling that it's no big deal.  Email 3 days later saying she thought it tasted like angel food cake and her husband thought it was dry (it was white cake) Going on about how she is not a scum bag but wants half off as it was only fair with the miscommunication.  I had a bad feeling about her, especially since she started complaining about the cake taste and just wanted her to go away so I gave the half off ($80) cake but I wasn't happy about it.  I guess we can call it customer service (or scum bags)

costumeczar Posted 3 May 2015 , 2:06am
post #15 of 26

You offered a discount, they said no, you can re-offer it but don't give them their money back entirely.

 

In the future, don't accept orders with less than the two weeks. If you put that policy into place there was a reason, so don't make exceptions. And you can send someone a paypal invoice online that they can pay using a credit card if they're "too busy" to bring you the money. Never turn your oven on unless you're received payment in full.

maybenot Posted 3 May 2015 , 2:28am
post #16 of 26

Sometimes, we "train" our customers by being too nice to them.

#1: Taking an order 5 days out--without a HUGE rush order fee.

#2: Not requiring payment in full before delivery--heck, before even starting to baking-- with a sign off noting that it's a last minute order & there will be no changes & no refunds

#3: Accepting a drastic change order 2 days before the party


Seems to me that it's a case of giving them a mile and they came back for a 5K.  They have nothing to lose.  They got a custom cake in 5 days for regular price. They already know that they robbed you.

I'd let it drop.  If they contacted me again, I'd probably tell them that the refund offer was off the table.  I understand that you might not want to do that, so you can re-offer it, but I wouldn't go a dime higher.  No matter what you do, they're going to bad mouth you.  It's a no win situation.

Remember their name and never be available for them again.

denetteb Posted 3 May 2015 , 2:37am
post #17 of 26

But once she accepted the order with short notice, she is still responsible for providing the cake in the colors that were ordered.  Were they the proper color?

maybenot Posted 3 May 2015 , 3:14am
post #18 of 26

In my world, if they paid for the cake and left the premises with it, without complaint, then yes, it was the right color.

johnson6ofus Posted 3 May 2015 , 3:15am
post #19 of 26

^^^ YES!^^^

Marian64 Posted 3 May 2015 , 3:19am
post #20 of 26

Did you see the colors they wanted beforehand? I get people saying it isn't worth tears and they are right, but I went to a graduation party where the colors was suppose to be a bright orange (like a tiger) and it was a light peach. Needless to say they weren't happy, but neither did they ask for a refund or go back for another cake from her.

Definitely wouldn't make them another cake. You already offered a partial refund so I think that was enough. I know pricing is different everywhere but $60 for a custom cake is a steal.

goodvibrations Posted 3 May 2015 , 3:21am
post #21 of 26

Insist that quotes and final invoice are all done via email. Describe the cake in full on the quote. Include color "swatches" that can easily be found on the internet. If everything is in writing............nothing to argue about.



zinger60 Posted 9 May 2015 , 3:34am
post #22 of 26

Well, I ended up offering him half his money back to get rid of him and he immediately said "Thank you!"  This was done by text message and I actually thought at first he was being sarcastic because he had been so mean about everything in all his texts and had refused my lower offer.  It was almost like he wasn't expecting me to give him back half the money,  Kept telling me how bad my customer service was because I immediately didn't give him all his money back.  But anyway, he got his custom cake for $30 and I'm sure they ended up eating it.  I'm just glad I'm not dealing with them anymore.  And to those that asked about the "bright colors", to me the colors were bright but to one person, the word "bright" might mean something different to another person.  I guess I should have had things spelled out more clearly but I have never had anything like that happen before.  It taught me a good lesson.

johnson6ofus Posted 9 May 2015 , 4:16am
post #23 of 26

Sorry that happened to you, :((((((


Doesn't seem to be worth 1/2 off, but getting rid of him probably is. 

CoveredinGrace Posted 10 May 2015 , 5:28am
post #24 of 26

This is why sticking to your policies and having contracts and a signed invoice that states that they are happy with the design and condition of the cake upon receipt are SO important. You learned a somewhat inexpensive lesson (compared to this happening on a wedding cake or something) and now you know to get it all in order to protect yourself in the future. 

I saw on another forum the other day that color seems to be the new "my cake was dry" scam for free cake, but with the proper procedures in place, you don't have to be a victim of it again. People will still try to pull it occasionally but you can just point them back to what they signed and wash your hands of it. I'm not saying there aren't rare cases where the color really IS off and for those, we should absolutely own it, but generally we cannot guarantee exact matches. We're not mass producing cakes and our icing doesn't come pre-colored in most cases so there will be slight variations. 

zinger60 Posted 10 May 2015 , 2:34pm
post #25 of 26

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  As for colors, how do you determine what an exact color would be for a cake?   If someone says, "bright colors", that could mean different things to different people.  If they send you a picture by email, the colors in the email picture can vary also.  For wedding cakes, I tell them if they want an exact match, I would need a color swatch.  I don't know how I could do that for the rest of the 'all occasion' cakes I make.  I think someone mentioned about getting a color swatch online.  If you do a search of a certain color online, the swatches they show are so varied from one to another. Also, it seems that even from one person's monitor to another, there would be variations in the colors.  I just don't want to have to go through this again.

costumeczar Posted 10 May 2015 , 7:57pm
post #26 of 26


Quote by @zinger60 on 5 hours ago

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  As for colors, how do you determine what an exact color would be for a cake?   If someone says, "bright colors", that could mean different things to different people.  If they send you a picture by email, the colors in the email picture can vary also.  For wedding cakes, I tell them if they want an exact match, I would need a color swatch.  I don't know how I could do that for the rest of the 'all occasion' cakes I make.  I think someone mentioned about getting a color swatch online.  If you do a search of a certain color online, the swatches they show are so varied from one to another. Also, it seems that even from one person's monitor to another, there would be variations in the colors.  I just don't want to have to go through this again.

Exactly, which is why you don't tell people that you can match colors exactly. In fact, I think I have something in my contract about that. Even if you did match a color exactly food colorings can change as the icing sits, so there's no way you can 100% match something. If someone says they need an exact color tell them that you can't guarantee a color match, there are too many variables. 

Don't be surprised if they DO call you for another cake, people like that seem to never go away, especially since they think they probably put one over on you. Learn to say this word: Noooooooo.

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