My First Unhappy Customer......

Decorating By amsy Updated 12 Oct 2008 , 12:47am by sarahnichole975

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amsy Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 6:05am
post #1 of 18

A lady i use to work with asked my to do a 3-d pirate ship for her sons 3rd birthday to serve 30-35 ppl. she called the night before to tell me what time she would be picking ti up and asked if she could just put it in the back of the car or should she bring someone. i suggested she bring someone with to hold it. i was up all night working on this cake because i ske is a "Little Miss Perfect" so i really wanted to do my best well she was to pick it up at 10am i finished before 9am by 10:30 i layed down. finally at 1pm her friend came for the cake. the lad had her son with to hold the cake. my husband said he looked about 14-15 and after banging the cake bord off of the window panel 3 times he decided to put his seat back and then they had to pick up the pizza yet..... anyway later that night when i listened to my messages i had one from the lady who ordered the cake screaming and cursing that because the cake wasnt packaged it fell apart on the way there and now she has no cake for the party and she she was coming over for her money back. it was already going on 9pm so i figured she wasnt gonna show. i thought she would be over sunday but didnt show or call. she called yesterday nice and calm and left another message saying she wants her money back and to sell a cake for 50.00 the way i did and blah, blah, blah..... I have not called her back yet but i do pan on telling her the cake was fine when it left here and i am not responsible for what happened to it on the way there. and i dont package any of my 3-d cakes but i really dont know how that would have helped it from fallling apart. she didnt mention exactly what it looked like just that she wasnt going to have a cake for the party. am i wrong to think im not responsible for it after it was picked up? Im up loading the pic in my gallery because i cant get it to load here.

17 replies
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My_Edible_Art Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 6:26am
post #2 of 18

don't blame yourself! it wansn't your fault!

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SugarFrosted Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 6:29am
post #3 of 18

You are NOT responsible for what happened after her friend picked up the cake. If she has an issue, tell her to take it up with her friend, as the cake was intact and beautiful when you gave it to the friend. I wouldn't refund anything if I were you.

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ceshell Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 6:37am
post #4 of 18

I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I can't speak for what happened to the cake or if you should have any responsibility but I surely hope that she either brings you the cake, or photographs of the cake if she thinks she's even going to suggest that you were at fault. It sounds like you are trying to describe that they did not appear to take good care of the cake once it was in the car? Yes, theoretically you are not responsible for it once it leaves your possession but it would help if you can prove that the cake was properly constructed/supported; that will be the only way you can answer her accusations. As the customer she is definitely going to automatically assume (well, she already did) that the cake was not stable enough to start thinking about how you can prove her wrong thumbs_up.gif

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amsy Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 7:13am
post #5 of 18

Well this is what I did, and maybe i was wrong to do it like this but when i stacked the 3 cakes it just didnt seem stable enough for me. I was just going to put a think layer of icing between each layer, but i changed my mind because it just didnt seem right. so i iced the bottom layer not to thin and not to thick and them i place straws for support and then also in the straws i put skewers, because i didnt want to take the chance of the straws caving. then i did the next layer the same and then placed the small front and back pieces on. i even shook it a bit when i was all finished because i always doubt myself with everything i do, i just like to be sure its just right. ???

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indydebi Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 3:38pm
post #6 of 18

that sure sounds nice and sturdy to me.

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Pookie59 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 9:52pm
post #7 of 18

Really, who knows what happened to the cake. Maybe the kid dropped it. Maybe she slammed on her brakes and the kid fell in it. Her comment about the lack of packaging makes me think that the problem wasn't with the cake itself.

Tell her to smush it up and make cake balls (just kidding!).

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GenGen Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 10:14pm
post #8 of 18

if she wants her money back she needs to bring the cake back and have pics of what it looked like at the time of the alleged disaster occurance.

i hold the same philosophy- once its in the customer's hands- i no longer have control over it and is no longer my responsibility. the last cake i did was with the assistance of the brides mom- my neighbor- and i stressed to her when we set the cake up "pick your spot.." then once the table was in place- i stressed "do Not move this cake"

i find out later she did (rolls eyes)

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Kitagrl Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 10:16pm
post #9 of 18

Awww I'm sorry that happened!

I refrigerate all my cakes, makes them very firm and sturdy for transport. So far, most of my "scary transports" have happened with room temp cakes.

I also get the Domino sugar boxes at Sam's (nice heavy duty open topped box) and I put most of my 3D cakes, uncovered, in one of those. I buffer the sides with a wad of foil so the board can't slide around. The box is always clean because it just holds bags of powdered sugar...kinda goes along with the "cake" theme...and its nice and heavy duty and holds most cakes with bases 14" and smaller with ease.

Anyway...yeah I try not to give a customer an unboxed cake unless the base is just too wide, and then I warn them ahead of time that the base is wide and MUST have a flat place to transport.

Next time though, she should come get her own cake! And your price was VERY low as well....she got a deal!

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Deb_ Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 12:15am
post #10 of 18

Sorry this happened to your cake. I agree though with should never let an unboxed cake leave your kitchen, it's not sanitary for one, and chances of it getting damaged are so much greater if it's not in a box. There are also some good plastic storage boxes for cakes that work great for 3D cakes. The kid shouldn't have been holding the cake it should have been placed on a flat surface in the car.

If the lady is that upset, she should have picked up the cake herself, but too late now. Tough call on the refund, I'd want her to bring the cake back with her, maybe it could be fixed......I'd at least want to see the condition of it.

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littlecake Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 1:22am
post #11 of 18

i had an incident like this a couple of years ago.

it was a whimsey cake....she wrote me a letter saying how disappointed they were because it collapsed ......

i knew the owner of the bed and breakfast where they had the party, so i called her to see what happened....

my friend (the owner of the bed and breakfast) told me the cake had in fact collapsed ...BUT....the people who picked it up were so delighted with how it looked they stopped and took the cake out of the car and in to THREE different people houses to show it off!...THREE!!!! telling how many bumps it took with all that traveling ....but the ladie failed to tell me that.

my point is, no telling what they did to that cake after they left....someone could have pulled out in front of them and they had to slam on the brakes or something.

that setup sounds plenty strong to me....i'm sure they ate the cake...they ate refunds.

she won't be happy about it, but look at it this way, we don't want the hard to please pain in the butt customers anyway.

some people cost a business money to service...HECK WITH THAT!

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redpanda Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 2:28am
post #12 of 18

Amsy, did you have any dowels going all the way through the cake, from top to bottom, or just within each tier?

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amsy Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 8:24pm
post #13 of 18

no dowels through the whole cake except for the skewers from the sail they when through the top two layers

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cakesbycathy Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 10:25pm
post #14 of 18

At this point I would just tell her that when the cake left your house it was in one piece. Unfortunately you have no control over a cake that you don't deliver.
I would offer a small discount on a future cake.

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-K8memphis Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 10:50pm
post #15 of 18

It's the most adorable ship cake ever. I love it. The detail is awesome. $50 is a very lowball price for a sculpture to feed 35 people.

I am reading that you have dowel through the cake--the cake seems taller than 4 or 5 inches correct? You did have some cardboards in there between the layers? The end pieces seem like they could get a little wonky being taller than the middle.

You're right a box would not have kept it together, but they are a good idea. I only deliver chilled cake. I would have a nervous breakdown otherwise.

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amsy Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 11:24pm
post #16 of 18

So I talked to the lady and the conversation started out calm. She sad that the top piece just fell off and that the icing under the fondant was melted like it had been sitting out. Also said that the sail had just fallen out of the cake. The layer under that was smushed she said. I only had straws in it. I explained to her that the sails went right through the top two layers through the piece of cardboard that the top cake was sitting on. She kept saying the cake was melted because it wasnt chilled. I explained to her how the fondant sweats after removed from the fridge. (Although i never had a problem when i had my cooler but since i moved my cooler is in storage, my sons chess cake was refriged and that sweated terribly when i took that out for the party, and that would have given her something else to bit** about). She insisted that you have to fridge fondant! I asked her y she didnt bring the cake back the next day like she said she was going to and she said she never said she was bringing it back but also says still she had no cake for the party and is going to get her money back. But she does have the pics to show me! Anyway the conversation didnt end well....

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Deb_ Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 11:56pm
post #17 of 18

Amsy, I would definitely not give her back ANY money if there isn't any cake left. Obviously they ATE it. Pictures mean nothing without the actual cake. Do you have anything on your invoice/contract about refunds?

Halloween must come early in your neck of the woods, because this lady is a "REAL WITCH"

Honestly, I don't even know if I'd offer a discount on a future order, I wouldn't want to bake for her again. It killed me that she said "she will get her money back" what the heck does that mean?

So sorry this is happening to you and I hope it ends well.

Debbie icon_smile.gif

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sarahnichole975 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 12:47am
post #18 of 18

I NEVER refrigerate fondant. I warn my customers NOT to refrigerate fondant. Our humidity here is so horrific that it becomes a nasty, sweaty mess! So assure her that fondant does not NEED to be refrigerated!

Next, box those cakes sweetie! Even with my tiered cakes that I can't close up, I put them in a box with the top taped open. It just looks so much better.

When it comes to someone holding a cake, I learned my lesson when a young teenager held a cake in her lap. Most people don't sit with their lap flat. You have to stretch out your legs just so to make a flat surface. I tell people I don't recommend someone holding the cake. I find them awkward and cumbersome to hold. And a young kid is especially a no no. (Needless to say this teenager had her knees elevated and the top tier slid. Parents knew they should have done something different and told her to hold it flat, so they weren't mad.)

I think you need some pictures before you consider anything. (Not that I'm implying one bit that you are a fault, I'm 99% sure you are in no way at fault.) But if your husband saw the kid hit the cake board on the window more than once before they ever left your house, and they had to stop for pizza, and who knows what else, then it doesn't sound like much care was taken with this cake. I advise people to make the cake the LAST STOP! Even with a stable cake, you don't want to be riding around town, running errands, with the cake in the car. Not sure where you're from, but what was the weather like there. Was it hot? (We stay hot here most of the year.) Was the car air conditioned? Is there a possibility they stopped somewhere and left the cake in the car with the hot pizza or just in a hot car? Either way, from what I can tell, your cake looks stable, sounds like you built a stable cake. There are too many variables out of your control that could have led to the demise of this poor cake. Don't offer her a refund. And if she sends you pics, please post them.

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