Did I Do The Right Thing With This Complaint?

Decorating By pattycakes55d Updated 21 Aug 2009 , 7:24pm by mackeymom

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pattycakes55d Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 10:53pm
post #1 of 34

I've only been doing cakes for 6 months, so I'm still new to all this. Client ordered cake via internet for her's daughters's first birthday. . She showed me a pic that she liked and asked for a bear on top and more purple butterflies.

I made the cake, except I couldn't put the gumpaste blocks with her daughter's name on top as the cake in the pic was larger than hers. I put her name right at the front of the cake. I did not do the exact same flowers and the design on the butterflies. The cake was pretty.

We agreed on a location to meet to give her the cake. It was only 5 minutes away from her parents home. I arrived and she looked over the cake with a fine tooth comb, which I guess is ok. She did mention that she would have liked the blocks and when I told her why she said ok. She kept saying the cake was cute and pretty, she loved the butterflies and her husband and Dad agreed. I handed the cake over to her. I drove away.

10 mins later she called and said that during the drive, one of the flowers at the bottom back of the cake came off. I told her how to fix i and we said goodbye.

The next afternoon, I looked at my facebook only to find that she picked apart the cake. She said I did not use the exact same flower design as in the pic and that the flowers were not in the same spot and the butterflies looked plain and cut from a cookie cutter. She really wanted the blocks on top. She asked why I didn't tell her about not being able to put the blocks on. (I do have to agree with that, I should have called, but I was so busy).

I emailed her back asking why didn't she tell me when she called me about the dropped flower. Or before she took the cake. Or even in the email I just received. I said I could have make a few changes to the cake, but I didn't know. I asked her what she wanted.

She replied saying she wanted a 50% refund. I remember seeing on CC not to give refunds.

I replied saying that she had 3 chances to tell me she was unhappy and did not take them. I could have helped. I said that I could offer her a 25% discount on her next cake.

She replied: "was I supposed to say I didn't like it to your face". she wanted a 50% refund. Her husband didn't want to drive back and forth as they had other things to do. She said the cake was in Surrey when she looked at it, when she was at her parents not 5 minutes away. She lied.

I just replied reiterating she had 3 chances and never took them. That i was willing to help, but if I didn't know I couldn't and the responsibillity was hers. I said that even if she couldn't see the cake in the dark she certainly saw it at her parents and could have told me then and I would have turned around. That her parents could have driven the cake or I could even have driven over to pick up the cake. She had options.

I am absolutely sick over this. I agree that the cake was not exactly as in the picture. It was a 2 tier, a 9 and 6" and I charged her $90.
All ingredients were made from scratch and the bear was made from chocolate. I didn't scrimp.

Oh, she also said the cake was dry and IT WASN'T!!!

Am I wrong? I am afraid she will badmouth me on Facebook and I will lose customers. I know I will hear from her again. What should I do?


33 replies
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KawaiiCakeCook Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:09pm
post #2 of 34

Breath...just breath. You will have customers like this, I did and I'm still in business. Stick to your guns, if you give a refund to here she will tell her friends and the conversation will go like this.

Her friend "I have a birthday for little joey, where did you have that cake made for little suzys bday."
current problem customer "oh some lady, she didn't listen to me the 'negative comment" and then she "negative comment" you wouldn't believe what I had to do and finally "negative comment" *followed by sly smile* but I finally got a 50% discount.
her friend: oh okay.

You don't want this woman in your business, don't reply to her facebook, don't say ANYTHING to ANYONE on your facebook critiquing her. Take the high road, read old emails sent by customers, bask in your successes and leave her rolling in the muck she is creating. thumbs_up.gif

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karateka Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:16pm
post #3 of 34

I agree that you should have told her in advance about the blocks on top. So for that, I agree that a 25% off the next cake is good.

As for exact replication of the flowers and butterflies.....

I always tell my clients that all cakes are individually designed and no 2 are exactly alike. Therefore if they pick a previously designed cake, they are made aware that it will not be a cookie cutter replication.

I agree totally that she had options to tell you she was unhappy. When she says "I was supposed to tell you to your face I was unhappy?" you answer..."yes....how else am I supposed to fix it?"

I think if she picks apart your cake on FB you calmly respond with something professionally and calmly stated about your efforts to remedy the situation, the opportunities she had to have you fix it, and be done. Everyone gets a customer at some point or other that is less than thrilled, and it's how they are responded to that sways the opinions of future customers. Calmly state your case and your offered remedy....I'm sure someone more articulate could help you with exact wording.

I hope it all works out for you....

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miny Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:21pm
post #4 of 34

Don't pay attention to her, sounds like she's one of those "I want a free cake" person, she had opportunities to speak up and she didn't because in reality there was nothing wrong with the cake, obviously she's making up excuses to get her money back! IMO you shouldn't give her a penny back!!! Sorry this happen to you.

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__Jamie__ Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:24pm
post #5 of 34

Take her off of your friends list now. icon_biggrin.gif

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pattycakes55d Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:32pm
post #6 of 34

I didn't think a contract for birthdays, showers, etc was necessary. However in light of this, I think I should prep one and send it out along with my confirmation. Do you think so too?

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__Jamie__ Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:35pm
post #7 of 34

Lol....the only person I have not done a contract with, wedding/party/whatever is my webmaster. Every cake gets a contract. Period.

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Jen80 Posted 16 Aug 2009 , 11:53pm
post #8 of 34

Yeah, that's why I don't like Facebook.

People get bored, want to try to sound cool, so they just write rubbish, forget that they've got 200 friends listed who can read what they're saying and people get hurt.

There are some friends you would say some things to and others you wouldn't.

As far as your cake, I agree with karateka. I tell people that their cakes won't turn out exactly like the ones in the picture. Especially since I haven't been caking for long either.

If you're really concerned tell her you will give her a discount if she doesn't say anything more about the cake on Facebook and deletes what she has already said (can you do that, delete old posts?).

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MaryAnnPriest Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 12:28am
post #9 of 34

Remove her from the friend list. You also have the ability to delete the comment she made. DELETE! Mail her the 25% off coupon and don't think about her again. She is not worth your time.

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 1:38am
post #10 of 34

That's really unfortunate--not being given a chance to do anything to make it better when so many opportunities existed & passed by. I think you handled it well and learned a lot too. Good job. She should not get a discount on that cake.

And as has been mentioned, when I do a cake from a picture I always say I will do my interpretation of that cake.

I can't stress enough how great I think you did being put on the spot like that and holding your ground--brilliant.

Going forward, another idea is to say, 'I'll need to discuss this with my business partner and get back to you'--this can provide you time to think--even if your business partner is just talking to yourself in the mirror when you're not being put on the spot--in other words I think a 10% discount on a future order is sufficient here myself. Why should you loose that much on a future order because she has buyer's remorse. You're barely getting $2 a serving as it is. So now you should work for her of all people for $1.50 a serving?

I'm curious--what's the child's name?

I'd love to see a photo.

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pattycakes55d Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 2:59am
post #11 of 34

That's the other thing, I don't have a camera, so client's have been sending me pics. I can see now that pics are important for many reasons. A client could change a cake and say anything they want and I don't have any proof. That's why I haven't posted any of my photos on CC. I will go and get one this week. I will ask someone to help me put some photos up here for everyone to see.

The cake was for a little girl named Sienna who was turning 1. In my heart of hearts, I am a perfectionist and will not allow anything to go out that is not good quality to go out. Everything looked good, the cake was level, nothing wrong with the fondant and I even made a bear out of white chocolate with a little pink dress and bow in her hair. I even decorated the board to make it look pretty for a little girl. I am not as experienced as some of you, but I take pride in what I do. I take the time to make everything from scratch and I care. There were no smiles on peoples' faces at Sienna's Bday party and that is what I am angry about. It didn't have to happen at all.

If anyone would like to let me know what things I should put in a general contract, I would really appreciate it. I don't want this to ever happen again.

Thank you very much for all your kind comments and good suggestions. This one really hurt.

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Doug Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 3:13am
post #12 of 34
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pattycakes55d Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:43am
post #13 of 34

thanks again for the help and wisdom. Doug, I looked at the contract and you definitely didn't leave anything out. It covers everything. Thanks a lot. I will be sending the contract via the net, so would they just respond with a yes, or should I ask them to send it back with a signature or an acknowledgment paragraph?

I will try and put pics up here and I think everyone will get a message.

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Doug Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:51am
post #14 of 34
Originally Posted by pattycakes55d

thanks again for the help and wisdom. Doug, I looked at the contract and you definitely didn't leave anything out. It covers everything. Thanks a lot. I will be sending the contract via the net, so would they just respond with a yes, or should I ask them to send it back with a signature or an acknowledgment paragraph?

I will try and put pics up here and I think everyone will get a message.

paper! -- have them print it out and mail it back to you with the deposit.

if ever sued would have to have a paper copy for evidence.

REMEMBER -- have your lawyer look at it FIRST before you use it.

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__Jamie__ Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 5:06am
post #15 of 34

Oh yes, must print out, retain a copy for their records, and return signed copy with deposit.

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pattycakes55d Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 9:24pm
post #16 of 34

I will look thru all the contracts you sent and set it up this week. .

BTW, the client emailed me again and called me this am. I deleted her from Facebook and she asked me if I was afraid she'd blab.

What would you suggest I do now? Sometimes a brewing pot spills over and I get that she's really angry and doesn't want to drop it.

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BlakesCakes Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 10:03pm
post #17 of 34

I doubt that you can win this one.

She sounds like the type who will blab and/or lie, no matter what you do.

My guess is that someone--DH,mother, whomever--gave her grief about paying $90 for the cake, so she decided to make up some problem that she thought would get her a 50% refund.

I'd just write her off and move on. Don't let her blackmail you, because she's the only one who will feel good about it in the end.
Also, don't EVER do another cake for her--she'll never be happy and she'll always find problems with whatever you do until she eventually wants everything for free because your work isn't good enough to pay for but it is good enough to eat!


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Ruth0209 Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 10:23pm
post #18 of 34

I don't think anyone here is saying that you should NEVER give a refund no matter what. There certainly are times when a full or partial refund is warranted, but they should be few and far between.

This seems like a good example of why it's ill advised to take an order entirely by the internet. When someone sends a picture, I think it's critical to talk to them so you can tell them what you can and cannot replicate. I also don't think there's any excuse for leaving off a prominent element on a cake without picking up the phone and telling the client so they're not surprised when it's too late to do anything about it. Some better communication up-front might have prevented all this unhappiness.

I DON'T think you should give her much of a discount, if any, at this point. It really sucks when someone isn't happy with your cake. It hurts your feelings and your confidence, but all you can do is think it all through carefully and honestly, and figure out at what points you might have been able to prevent it, and just learn from it. We've all had to do it, but it does make you a better business person.

It sounds like she got a cute cake even if it wasn't exactly what she'd envisioned. She took delivery of it and didn't take the opportunities she was given to let you fix it. She'll get over it. I agree with the other posts. You need to respond to her and tell her what you're willing to do if you haven't done that already, then forget about her.

And as for her comment, "was I supposed to say I didn't like it to your face", that's just unreal. I never cease to be amazed that people won't tell you to your face that they don't like something, but they're more than happy to say it by phone or write it on Facebook. She needs to grow a spine.

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 10:31pm
post #19 of 34

When she asked 'are you afraid she'll blab'--wow she's really showing her cards. She's totally trying to bully you.

Blakescakes--I'm thinking just like you. 'Her husband and Dad agreed' that the cake was pretty. There's not a husband on the planet that can fathom paying ninety bucks for a 1 year olds b-day cake. Mix in the Dad, the mom, the mom-in-law other relatives.

This is an idea. You'd just have to decide if it's the best one for you right now.

I'd call her.

In a professional unemotional but sincere voice, I'd say, "Your complaint is baseless. I made a great cake and the design issues you mentioned are artistic license.

(For $2 a serving) You got the deal of a lifetime. If you deserved a refund and you don't I gave it to you in advance.

I removed your name from my facebook because you are not a friend. It's ok with me if you if blab your mouth off as long and as loud as you want because everyone knows there's no such thing as bad publicity. That she's got buyer's remorse nothing more that if she didn't like it why did her husband and Dad and her say how much they liked it repeatedly? Then say, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

You gotta be careful and don't pause anywhere--don't take a deep breath because she'll likely jump in.

I'd tell her where to put it in a calm professional tone.
She wants to intimidate you.
You decide if she gets to.

Or just drop her a coupon into email and be done with it.

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 10:39pm
post #20 of 34

double post

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Deb_ Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 11:50pm
post #21 of 34

Ignore her....as others have said her claims/complaints are baseless. If she keeps phoning you that's harassment, and I wouldn't have a problem telling her that.

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in2cakes2 Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 2:10am
post #22 of 34

I noticed that she said that the cake was dry and you said it was a scratch cake - well it sounds like it is her first scratch cake and she has no clue of the texture difference between scratch v mix. I think you handled everything nicely, forget her and get on w/ caking.

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pattycakes55d Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 5:17am
post #23 of 34

she did say that she never buys cakes and wasn't even sure what lemon curd tasted like and had a very difficult time deciding on cake/filling flavors. Both her and her husband were paranoid about cutting the cake right, so I had to go over it a few times. So, maybe the whole experience was overwhelming for her. I wanted to make that little girls' birthday special and I'm so disappointed. However, she did have choices and never did anything.

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Ruth0209 Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 5:50am
post #24 of 34

Afraid to cut the cake for a one-year-old right?!? This woman's a piece of work. What did they think would happen if they cut it wrong? The sky would fall in?

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costumeczar Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 1:11pm
post #25 of 34

Don't worry about making the 1-yr-old's birthday special, for pete's sake! I doubt that when she's 35 and in therapy she'll be telling the psychiatrist about how the birthday cake at her first birthday party had the blocks at the base of the cake and not on it! First birthday parties are for the adults, not the kids, and it sounds like these parents were a little too neurotic about the whole thing.

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DefyGravity Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 1:31pm
post #26 of 34

Be done with her. No response, no coupon, nothing. She lost her chance when she decided to be a petty PITA.

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-K8memphis Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 3:31pm
post #27 of 34

You could post the picture of the cake she sent you --or post a link to it on your facebook page.

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pattycakes55d Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 7:02pm
post #28 of 34

I haven't replied and she hasn't made any other attempts to communicate. I am really bad with knowing how to put pics up. Would someone mind telling me specifically how to put that pic up here, I guess in my own album. Then I could maybe upload some other cake pics clients sent me of the ones I already did. Thanks.

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notjustcakes Posted 18 Aug 2009 , 10:58pm
post #29 of 34

K8memphis- Kate, At least she wasn't hanging out the window yelling like a "scalded hog caller"....Hee hee!!! Sorry, but I just couldn't help quoting you...

Seriously, I am so sick of this Diva princess stuff some people have going on...Earlier in this post someone said something about people wanting exact replicas. I just had that happen recently...You know simple scrolls ( I showed her sample scrolls) randomly placed (has anyone ever noticed how randomly placed is really quite planned and derived, but it's supposed to be random!??? What?? I decided after this last time, it is going to be 1.) Discussed ad nauseam....2.) contract signed...

ARG!!!! Sorry, we now return you to your regular programming....

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Ladiesofthehouse Posted 20 Aug 2009 , 4:34pm
post #30 of 34

It sounds to me like some of these kid's mothers can be worse than Bridezillas!

Does a 1 year old even know what's going on at a birthday party besides smashing the smash cake, for crying out loud? Gah!

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