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Need to play nice! Cancelling customer order due to non-cooperation.......

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone.

 

So here is my little problem-O.

 

I have a client with a cake due in the next two days. The order is fully paid off, but she has yet to sign and return the contract. (This is a client I have served in the past, many years ago before my contracts were born). I have been very adamant about obtaining it, and have told her that I will not make her cake unless that paper is signed and emailed back to me. She agreed to send it this morning.

 

Weeeell it is now evening and still no contract. I have explained to her thoroughly why I need it, I have sent her 2 emails and 1 text reminder today, and had an actual phone call about it earlier.

 

My question here is regarding actually cancelling her order due to her lack of cooperation. We all know she will want a full refund, to which I would laugh at the thought of. However, what do YOU GUYS feel is reasonable in terms of a refund (if any). How would you word it to not sound like the jerk every fiber in my body wants me to be? 

 

Here's how I view this:
-I have already spent time researching the theme, sketching designs, emailing back and forth, dealing with phone calls, bla bla bla.....
-I have turned down another client because this is a rather complex design and I can only accommodate 1 cake per day. 

-I am giving her a deal so good that it makes me question my sanity, but hey, gotta keep the lights on!

 

Thanks to all. =)

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post #2 of 31

I'm wondering why it's imperative to have the contract if she's paid in full. Do you expect a problem?
 

post #3 of 31

Since we don't know how much this cake is worth ( on cakes with low value most ppl won't use a contract ).

 

You could:

1) Do the cake and let it go, alternatively putting this client on your NO CAKE FOR YOU list.

2) Do the cake, give the client the contract when they pick it up and if they don't sign, refund and no cake. ( if you can take the loss ).

3) Tell the client because the contract was not returned signed, the order was canceled and apply whatever policy your business uses ( money paid goes to future orders, refund ).

post #4 of 31

That's weird.  I would never pay for a service before I signed a contract, because it would potentially mean losing all of my money to a shoddy contractor.  When home repairs are done, no one pays everyithing up-front and a contract is signed saying payment will be given in full at the end of the project.  So keep her money and don't do the cake...

or...just do the cake.  You have her money.

post #5 of 31
You probably shouldn't have accepted the money without a signed contract. As it stands, you have no legal agreement for a transaction, so if you cancel the order you really have no choice but to return her money.

Just like no deposit = no order, no signed contract = no order.
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

I sent her a copy of an invoice along with the terms and conditions and specifications that I needed a signature. Since she is a bit far from my location, she deposited the amount directly into a business account I have for these purposes (although she had notified me she about the deposit AFTER it had been made). I again told her, I NEED BOTH PAYMENT AND SIGNATURE or the order is not valid.

 

Conveniently, she also ASKED for specific changes to be made on the invoice itself, but "just so happened" to overlook the Terms page, claiming she never saw it. I re-sent it to her in two formats and she was very hesitant to sign it, claiming "she trusts me" and she would never go "after me". It is a $400 order.

 

And the reality is, I have no idea what intentions she may have. She very well may be a trustworthy client who won't pose a problem. Then again, she may be the type to complain about some mundane issue beyond my control JUST to get a free cake. There is no certain way to tell. So I choose to cover my butt, regardless. 

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post #7 of 31

when she collects the cake have a copy ready for signature. Let her read all you conditions in front of you and get her to sign it. If she refuses then she gets no cake! Butt covered icon_biggrin.gif

post #8 of 31

I would probably go with what cakechick said, I've never been in a similar situation though, so it's not something I've given a ton of thought to.

I will never, ever, under any circumstances let a cake go out my door without a signature, I would prefer to lose the time and money making the cake and not giving it the customer.

The catch is, I don't accept money until the contract is signed, my contract has a section covering payment details, and it protects both me and the client from any sketchy business on either parties end.

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakechick123 View Post

when she collects the cake have a copy ready for signature. Let her read all you conditions in front of you and get her to sign it. If she refuses then she gets no cake! Butt covered icon_biggrin.gif

 

Agree.

I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

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I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

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post #10 of 31

Cakechick's approach makes sense to me.  It seems that because you accepted her payment in full, you agreed to an "implied contract."  i think it would be kind of tacky of you to take her money and not produce a cake.  But, I do understand your need to cover yourself if there are problems.  Just canceling on her at this date seems wrong, somehow. 

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post #11 of 31
I would call and send her an email stating that your business policy is to receive a signed contract before you fulfill any order and unfortunately since you have not received the signed contract from her that you cannot fulfill her order. Let her know that she will be receiving her refund in the mail. I have to get retainers signed by clients all the time and when I let them know that the attorney will not be appearing for them because we didn't receive their signed retainer, they send it right away. Good luck.
post #12 of 31
Your.cancellation of the job because of her not returning the contract would ever be honored in a court of law. She gave you money, you need to give her a cake. We need to be as "by the book as possible" whenever we can, but make the dang cake. Do as suggested above, and have one waiting for her.
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post #13 of 31
When I send off an electronic invoice, I include a statement that essentially says payment of invoice constitutes acceptance of terms listed in contract. Might not be waterproof, but I makes me feel better. Usually they return contract, sometimes they don't. I don't worry about.
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post #14 of 31
Excuse errors and missing words, my phone likes to play dumb sometimes.
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture View Post

When I send off an electronic invoice, I include a statement that essentially says payment of invoice constitutes acceptance of terms listed in contract. Might not be waterproof, but I makes me feel better. Usually they return contract, sometimes they don't. I don't worry about.

This. Our order form that we send out for every cake (even the smaller, simple jobs) has this in the fine print. So if they pay us, we have an order, and we proceed with the order.

 

Sometimes people just have a hard time getting the signed order form back to us (computer issues, whatever) so we tell them to respond in an email with "The order form is correct" or something to that effect. Again, may not be waterproof, but at least we have it in writing. This actually saved us some grief with a customer recently who tried to complain that the design wasn't made according to their specifications. All we had to do was refer them to the order form and their email in which they stated that the form was correct. 

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