Help! Cake Fell Apart, Customer Upset!!!

Decorating By gr8cakemaker Updated 14 Jun 2009 , 10:16pm by CutiePieCakes-Ontario

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gr8cakemaker Posted 29 May 2009 , 10:55pm
post #1 of 20

This is my second time doing a cake for this particular client. I made a two tiered cake for her sons birthday tomorrow. The cake was fine when her husband came to pick it up, but a few hours later I got a call from her (she left a voicemail) saying that the cake looked great, but it had completely fallen apart by the time it got home (about 90 degrees outside with alot of humidity and the husband had an hours drive to get it home) and that they couldnt use it. Im soooo bumbed that this happened because they are/were really good clients and super nice etc. They wrote a check for the cake which I have not yet cashed. Should I refund their money? What should I do? Please help me, I wanna cray icon_cry.gif

19 replies
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indydebi Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:00pm
post #2 of 20

how was it assembled ... SPS? Dowel down the center? duct tape? (Ok ... I'm kidding on that one! Just trying to make you smile since you feel so bad! icon_biggrin.gif )

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-K8memphis Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:05pm
post #3 of 20

Was the cake secured in a box?

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gr8cakemaker Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:07pm
post #4 of 20

I used dowels with the cake (as I have done so many times before) the tiers were 4" and 6" and it was secured and supported in a box.

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ljdills Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:08pm
post #5 of 20

This one is difficult. There is no way to know if they cake just fell apart or if it fell apart because of something he may have done or not done during the hour drive home. The problem is if they are good clients and you don't want to lose them then you kinda have to give them a refund or do something to rectify the situation. If the party is tomorrow could you throw together a cake and maybe deliver or meet him half way. (Even if it is a sheet cake) at least it they will not be without a cake and you have shown that you care about their business.

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indydebi Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:12pm
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Originally Posted by gr8cakemaker

I used dowels with the cake (as I have done so many times before) the tiers were 4" and 6" and it was secured and supported in a box.

Sorry to be a little dense, but did you have just the 4" dowels in the 6" cake? Did you have a longer dowel running thru the 4" and the 6"? Was the 4" cake just sitting on top of the 6" cake? What do you call "secured" and in a box?

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Cakeonista Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:23pm
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If you have used dowels before and never had a problem I'm not sure it was anything you did. Technically they gained responsibility of the cake the minute he drove off with it. I understand you don't want to lose this customer but in the same token you really don't know if this was your fault or not. You could offer to make a sheet cake like someone else here suggested but I would not refund any of the money and I would explain why you are not. I'm sorry your upset but things do happen and I wouldn't beat myself up about it.

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-K8memphis Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:24pm
post #8 of 20

Yeah like was the cake inside the box all covered up or was it sitting in an open box? Coud the atmosphere get to it helping to aid in it's demise?

Let me hasten to say I'm very sorry this happened, CakeBuddy.

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hbaker Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:44pm
post #9 of 20

How did it fall apart? I mean, I know that's a stupid question, but did the icing fall off, or did the top layer fall off? Because if the whole top layer slid over then maybe he took a turn too fast. But if the fondant slid down the side, that's something completely different, you know. Just "it fell apart" is kind of ambiguous description (on her part).

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panchanewjersey Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:49pm
post #10 of 20

Too bad that happend I know how you feel, it' just happend to me 2 weeks ago....but even though half my cake fell customers were still happy (after a few drinks) and said there was nothing wrong, this stuff happens all the time, they loved it! Can you imagine..and they still paind me for it.....nos discounts.....pinch me. I didn'y know what to do, it was 102 degrees that day and I only had 3 cakes to deliver. Oh boy, maybe you should offer a discount but not give it for free, because you still put time and money into your cake. Like the client said...these are acts of God! Gotta love her! Don't we wish all clients were the same way....Yeah.

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sherik Posted 29 May 2009 , 11:59pm
post #11 of 20

So sorry for your experience.
99% of my cakes are picked up by customers. I always send a photo with them of their completed cake. Before they pick it up I let them know the dimensions of the box and that it must sit level for transport. I also include a square of none skid so it won't slide. They are also informed that once the cake leaves my presence it is solely their responsibility.

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gr8cakemaker Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 3:06pm
post #12 of 20

ok, so I wanted to thank all of you for your replies! theres more to the story though...after speaking back with the woman, I explained to her that I was really sorry this happened and that I would give her a refund or make her another cake. he wanted another cake. This was after asking her if the cake was sitting level in the car and the box wasnt in the sun etc. etc...we agreed that there would be no refund, that I would make her another cake AND she would recieve a 15% discount on her next cake at 9 at night off to the store I went to get supplies to make her ANOTHER cake. Finally at about 5 am I was finished SHWEW!! (did I mention Im 7 months pregnant, have a two year old, hubby is deployed-so no one to watch the 2 YO- and often require naps). I called her the next morning to say that her cake was completed and that she could come and pick it up. She told me she would be there within the hour. After she arrived, she began saying how greatfull she was to get another cake and she loved the new cake I made her etc....she then goes on and says that she was so upset with her husband for putting the cake IN THE TRUNK!!!! My face hit the was 95 degrees out that day, so it had to be above 100 degrees in the trunk! the cake had to be driven an hour to get to their home....THE STRONGEST AND STURDIEST BOX AND CAKE IN THE WORLD JUST CANT COMPETE WITH THOSE ELEMENTS!!! I think she felt my rage as she quickly got her cake and left. I decided to take it as a loss since we had already come to the above agreement, but boy was I pissed!!!

anyway...thanks everyone for all your help!

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yamber82 Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 3:20pm
post #13 of 20

wow! there are no words...

i don't trust anybody but myself to transport a cake but if you are going to have them pick it up, you should type up a like how to page or something that they must read and sign befoer driving off with it that way they understand it was their own fault. if something like that happened to me esp with a 2 yr old and no hubby around i would charge her EXTRA for all that hard work. nicely of course. i'm sure she understands it was her husbands fault and she very much put you out to say the least

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gr8cakemaker Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 3:42pm
post #14 of 20

thanks yamber82, I have decided to send my cakes off with discharge instructions. this has never happened to me before so it has definitely been a learning experience. I have decided to have them sign their discharge instructions that states once they leave that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CAKE!!! Overall, a learning experience for sure!

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yamber82 Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 4:01pm
post #15 of 20

def a good idea. i am not doing pick ups yet as we are moving but when i do i will have something like that. can you attatch your form so we can see it?

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DamarisC Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 10:11pm
post #16 of 20

OH i am soo sorry this happened to you! There you were, all worried and trying hard to compensate for this disaster, and the whole time the moron didn't think and put it in his trunk. It wasn't even your fault!!!!

I am very new to cake decorating (2, 1/2 yrs or so) but even before I know not to put a cake in a trunk! what did he think it was made of? steal? wood? hello, it's perishable!!! Well, this is a lesson learned for me though, i agree with the whole, write instructions bit. And i will start to do so!

Thank you for sharing your story, and sorry for calling the man a moron, i am sure he is a nice guy.

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costumeczar Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 11:37pm
post #17 of 20

What an idiot! icon_mad.gif I'd raise the price of any other cakes they order until you've recouped the amount that you lost on rebaking that cake for the moron who puts cake in car trunks!

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gr8cakemaker Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 3:31pm
post #18 of 20

Thanks to all of you for support! I am still working on my discharge instructions, have a bit of tweeking (did I spell that right?) to do. If anyone has something similar I could see, I would very much appreciate it. Im still pretty upset about the incident, but obviously I cant dwell on it! I would love to see you alls pick-up or delivery forms for ideas! TIA!

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spencersmom98 Posted 13 Jun 2009 , 9:24pm
post #19 of 20

OMG! I always make sure to tell everyone to not put their cakes in their trunks! You'd think people have a bit of sense, but you'd be surprised. I had one put her cake in the trunk full of lawn chairs and strollers. I had one put their $150 baby shower cake in the back of their truck. With an unsecured toolbox rolling around back there. And these were AFTER I explained to them how to transport the cakes. icon_eek.gif

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CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 14 Jun 2009 , 10:16pm
post #20 of 20

Unfortunately, for all of us, there is a learning curve - I'm still learning lots of stuff. Hopefully, the rest of us will take advantage of this lesson.

Also, unfortunately, there are some people who think nothing is there fault and expect everyone to reimburse them for everything they find fault with. I'm sure we'll all get customers like that in our cake career.

As for the customer signing off ... If they are picking it up, you should present him/her with a copy of the receipt, and on that have a signature area stating that they agree the cake is fine and accept it as it is. Also provide WRITTEN storage/transportation instructions on the receipt - so another idiot husband doesn't drive 60 minutes with a cake in the truck in 90+ heat (still can't believe that - well maybe I can icon_rolleyes.gif ). Also state that any problems after leaving you must be dealt with on an immediate basis - that is, if it 'fell apart' (i.e. fondant did not adhere and it came off), then you must be given the opportunity to fix it right away. OR have them send you a picture of the cake. If it's sideways and the top has slid off, then you know someone was pulling wheelies the parking lot and it wasn't you.

If you are delivering it (i.e. to a wedding) take a picture after it's assembled. This way, you have proof that, again, it was left in excellent condition.

(Can you tell I also work for lawyers.) icon_wink.gif


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