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What do I do about a client wanting her deposit back?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi All, 

 

I recently started a cupcake business in South Africa which is going well. Until this morning that is. 

I have a bride who booked cupcakes for her wedding in April phone to cancel her order and now is demanding her deposit be returned. 

 

I have already had 2 tastings with the bride as she changed her mind on flavours during the first. 

I offered to give her 50% of her deposit back, but she is not budging and wants the full amount. My terms state 

Should you cancel your order, depending on time scale and order quantity, charges may apply. Please advise The Vanilla Pod immediately of your intentions.

 

As a new business, I don't want to get bad reviews and press. How would you recommend I handle the situation?

 

The positive to this is that I have now amended my terms to state that all deposits are non refundable. I'm not getting caught out again. 

 

 

post #2 of 15

just to have something concrete to sink your teeth into

 

charge her for the two tastings and the time and for the rental on the booking date

 

itemize it for her

 

re-stocking fees are common things

 

she'll go away

 

if she bad mouths you that's exposure for you

 

not the exact way you hoped but her story is she ordered then cancelled and was unhappy

 

and she's taking some of it out on you

 

it's not like her cake fell apart or tasted like soap

 

no one will really find it odd that a refund is not fully returned

 

so what i mean is don't worry about her negativity she's clearly doing you a favor

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #3 of 15

Give her the deposit back in full.  GET RID OF THIS PEST.

 

You need to figure out how to say that you will provide ONE tasting per bride...your contract and policies have to be very clear and specific...

 

Write this bridezilla off as several cheap lessons in how to run your business.

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

 

You need to figure out how to say that you will provide ONE tasting per bride...your contract and policies have to be very clear and specific...

 

 

 

VERY specific.  There should be no question.  That is what is known as a "meeting of the minds."

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
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www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi All, 

 

Thanks for the feedback and advice. It's nice to know there's help when you need it. 

 

I tend to be a bit of a softy and don't want to offend clients. (The market in South Africa is very small and everyone seems to know everyone.) Here's how I've responded to her. Let's hope it gets the message across. I've offered her a 75% refund on her deposit. I really can't do more or I'll be out of pocket on the order. 

 

Dear Michelle, 

 
Please understand that there has been a substantial amount of work and product that has gone into your tastings.
I am happy to refund R750 of your deposit, the remaining balance is needed to cover product and production costs. 
 
With this said, I understand that the terms may not have been clear. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  
 
I wish you and Craig a wonderful wedding and future together
 
 
Thanks again for the help and advice. 
 
post #6 of 15

You might also want to reword your policies along the lines of "A non-refundable deposit of [you decide the amount or percentage] is due [you decide how long] before the date of delivery. The remaining amount is due [x number of weeks] before the date.". Everybody's right about being as specific as possible about EVERY LITTLE THING YOU CAN THINK OF in a cake contract. Otherwise, sooner or later, it will all come back to bite you in the you-know-where.

Marianna
"I know my own mind...and it's around here somewhere!"
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Marianna
"I know my own mind...and it's around here somewhere!"
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post #7 of 15
How big was this order?
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirls22 View Post

Hi All, 

 

I recently started a cupcake business in South Africa which is going well. Until this morning that is. 

I have a bride who booked cupcakes for her wedding in April phone to cancel her order and now is demanding her deposit be returned. 

 

I have already had 2 tastings with the bride as she changed her mind on flavours during the first. 

I offered to give her 50% of her deposit back, but she is not budging and wants the full amount. My terms state 

Should you cancel your order, depending on time scale and order quantity, charges may apply. Please advise The Vanilla Pod immediately of your intentions.

 

As a new business, I don't want to get bad reviews and press. How would you recommend I handle the situation?

 

The positive to this is that I have now amended my terms to state that all deposits are non refundable. I'm not getting caught out again. 

 

 

 

she already did that icon_biggrin.gif

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #9 of 15

my own personal opinion of cake contracts is that they are scary

 

we just did a refi that probably pales in comparison  to some of y'alls paper works

 

i just call them cake orders give the details of the order, dates of non refundable payments, serving sizes

 

last payment means no changes, additional servings can be added 25 servings a pop but order stands as written

 

we sign and/or payments received approves changes made by email (i incorporate changes into the order and email them)

 

this actually sounds much more complicated than it is

 

oh i also reserve the right to make the cake to the best of my ability

 

i just figure that covers it all

 

meaning if the cake table is in sunlight i get it moved--if there's a car wreck and i can put a cake out but i can't redo the japanese string work--they get what i can do and then we'll deal with the circumstances later--if a train derails and i'm evacuated from my house i'll do everything humanly possible to fulfill that order but sh*t happens even on wedding days

 

done

 

i do not chronolog every bad memory or potential situation 

 

the bride leaves with two pieces of paper--a copy of the order and her homework--getting color swatch or whatever phone# etc.

 

that's just moi


Edited by -K8memphis - 1/28/13 at 8:38am
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #10 of 15
No one is recommending you jot down every possibility, but your client should know what to expect in terms of refund. If you offer amounts relative to timeline, state them. If you live in potential hurricane evacuation area (as do I), outline your re-schedule/postponement policy.

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply
post #11 of 15

I looked at one contract template that was 16 pages - - what a ridiculous piece of horse hockey!  I like K8's way of doing it much, much better.

post #12 of 15
A contract is definitely important, but if it is more than a few pages you need to tighten it up. For most orders our contract consisted of a few paragraphs at the bottom of the invoice.
post #13 of 15

My cake contract is 3 pages, and most of my "rules" are because of past customers lol

 

 

Tina's Sugar shack cake contract.pdf 202k .pdf file
God's Word will either keep you from sin;
or sin will keep you from God's Word.
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God's Word will either keep you from sin;
or sin will keep you from God's Word.
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post #14 of 15

Sometimes as we learn what works and what doesn't we end up getting the short end of the stick. If your terms weren't clear as to a non-refundable deposit and if she argues with the %75 refund (which btw I think is MORE than fair) I would give her the deposit back and chalk it up to an expensive learning experience. As long as you use this opportunity to come up with a more clear and comprehensive contract it could be the expense now saves you several times over with headaches in the future.

post #15 of 15

I am sorry you had to go through this and sometimes we learn the hard way.. I revised my contract over and over again because of situations that would happen that i never thought about.. At the time they hand me the deposit I always say to them that the deposit is non refundable and i make sure they know this.. This business is so funny because it is a face game, we have to be overly pleasent but then you have to make sure when somebody goes against the terms of agreement we stand tall and stand by our signed contract.

 

you have gone above and beyond offering the 75%.

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