Customer Complaint - What Would You Do?

Decorating By jenny2476 Updated 6 May 2010 , 1:56am by Mug-a-Bug

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jenny2476 Posted 5 May 2010 , 10:48pm
post #1 of 17

Have read lots here, but not posted much...but I know you guys will be honest icon_smile.gif

I did a cake for a friend of a friend this past weekend. It was for 90 people for an 8 yr olds first communion. She sent me a shape of a chalice with a communion wafer in the top and asked if I could do that, I said I could make the cake that shape, but she'd need to have more servings or possibly lose a few when I cut it out. I ended up using a half sheet and blew up the shape and put on cardboard to cut around. When I started cutting I realized it would lose a lot of servings on the stem of the chalice, so I didn't cut in as far. In the end I thought it looked OK, definitely not my best work, but ok. I had already given her a good discount (I know, I need to stop doing that!) so I wasn't overly concerned.

When I arrived at the venue, one I had never been to before, I got a lot of great feedback from the coordinator, DJ and other service people. Several took my card so they could refer me to other clients. At this point, I felt good about it.

Today I got an email saying it ruined the day and the cake was so ugly and not worth the money she paid. I didn't think it was hideous and they definitely ate the whole thing (even though there were other desserts as well). She didn't ask for a refund but did say that it wasn't worth what she paid and she was very disappointed. I was thinking of offering her a gift certificate for a future cake.

Oh yea, there was also some issues with getting the payment in the first place. She kept putting it off and when I asked her to pass it on to my husband (who works near her) she said she "wasn't comfortable". When I finally asked if there was a problem and if she didn't want the cake, she paid.

So is the cake completely hideous? Should I offer something else? I'd love to hear all of your expert opinions!


16 replies
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cakesbycathy Posted 5 May 2010 , 10:57pm
post #2 of 17

I think the cake is fine!

If it were me I would just email back and tell her "sorry you were not happy with cake." Leave it at that. Don't get into a war of words about it and certainly don't offer her a refund or gift certificate of any kind.

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Sucrea Posted 5 May 2010 , 11:05pm
post #3 of 17

I agree. The cake looked good. You already gave her a discount. It sounds like others liked it so I wouldn't worry. She might be one of those that always wants something for nothing or someone that you cannot please no matter what you do. Just let it go. Easier said than done, I know!!!

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pat-a-cakes Posted 5 May 2010 , 11:17pm
post #4 of 17

The cake looks okay but I guess it sort of depends how much she paid for it. I wouldn't offer any kind of refund and since getting the payment was difficult in the first place it is probably just buyer's remorse. I wouldn't worry about it unless she e-mails again.

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Mug-a-Bug Posted 5 May 2010 , 11:29pm
post #5 of 17

Sorry, but I'm not going to lie... the cake is not good. I had a hard time telling what it was, even with the description. I cannot say whether or not you should offer a discount because I don't know how much she paid, and you get what you pay for. icon_rolleyes.gif

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jenny2476 Posted 5 May 2010 , 11:41pm
post #6 of 17

I am aware this was not my best work by far and unfortunately we all have bad days. The shape was her design that I cut from, besides the thickness of the stem. She wanted it kept simple and just asked for the shape, covered in fondant and some grapes and bread on the side.

As to how much she paid - I gave her the cake for less than half price and I also didn't charge to deliver to the venue. I pretty much just covered the cost on this one. Something I won't do again.

I really appreciate your feedback. This is my first negative comment in the year I've been in business, so it has thrown me for a loop.


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cookie_fun Posted 5 May 2010 , 11:53pm
post #7 of 17

The fact that she said it ruined her whole day just proves that she is hoping you'll give her back something. They ate it all, so how "ruined" could the communion have been?
Don't worry about this one. There are bound to be people out there who will complain about anything. I think it looks ok. I know what you mean about not wanting to cut the stem too small, but your grapes and bread are spot on.
Don't let this one knock your confidence.

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tcakes65 Posted 5 May 2010 , 11:57pm
post #8 of 17

Sorry, but I think the client has a justified reason to be a little unhappy. The bottom of the chalice is way too big. I would definitely give the client some sort of compensation whether it be a partial refund or a discount on a future cake. I agree we all have bad days, but we should be willing to accommodate for that if the client is not happy with the end product.

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leah_s Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:03am
post #9 of 17

You asked for honesty. It's doesn't really look like a chalice. Sorry. You should have followed your gut instinct and cut away enough cake to make the stem look like a stem. If too much cake was gone, then make cruffels to give to her or add on a kitchen cake.

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jillmakescakes Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:10am
post #10 of 17

I think Leah_s is right, if the concern was there not being enough cake, an extra kitchen cake should have been made.

As far as cost, it isn't the customer's fault if you quoted too low. I think they are probably due a full refund, especially after looking at your gallery. The work on website is very nice, clean work. This cake looks very amatureish in comparison.

Just so I don't end on a sour note, those grapes are amazing!

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Rose_N_Crantz Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:14am
post #11 of 17

I think this deserves a discount on a future cake order. I do have a hard time seeing a chalice there, but I"m sure you've gotten that message already.

Offer a discount, take a deep breath and have a glass of wine, then focus on the next order. What's done is done, you can only move on from here.

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mamawrobin Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:21am
post #12 of 17

I looked in your gallery and you've made some beautiful cakes. This cake doesn't look like it belongs in your portfolio icon_surprised.gif . But you did an amazing job on the grapes.

I don't know how much she paid for the cake even at half price as your prices aren't listed. If you've already discounted her to half price then I wouldn't worry about refunding any money. Especially since you had such an ordeal getting paid in the first place.

I also agree with Leah_s that the design shouldn't have been compromised just to have more servings. You could have made a kitchen cake to make up for the lost servings. I'm sorry that you've experienced negativity for the first time since you've started making cakes. At least they ate it and didn't complain about your baking skills thumbs_up.gif .

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momma28 Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:48am
post #13 of 17

Every experience has the potential to teach us something and I think this is one of those. I have had times when in order to make the sculpted cake look right I have had to include another undecorated round to cover servings, as Leah described. It happens. I think that since you only covered cost that I would simply offer a discount on a future cake and direct her to pictures of your other work (if you have a website) as reassurance.

There is nothing you can do about that cake now. Dont spend too much time fretting over it. Just learn from it and move on. Chin up icon_smile.gif

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jenny2476 Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:51am
post #14 of 17

Thanks again! I'm so glad you're all being honest with me. It's the only way to learn from our mistakes. And thanks for the compliments on my other cakes icon_smile.gif

She didn't ask for a refund at all, just emailed to say she was disappointed. After the referrals and praise from the venue and a guest telling me how delicious the cake was (after the event), I guess I didn't realize how bad it looked.

I am going to email her now and am offering her a free cake for the future. Then I will have that glass of wine and think positively for the next cake!

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jenny2476 Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:56am
post #15 of 17

Oh and to add...she has seen my other work (perhaps why she was so disappointed as it wasn't my best) and has heard from other friends who have ordered and loved their cakes. Hopefully this won't end up with too many bad feelings.

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icingimages Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:19am
post #16 of 17

Tell her that

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Mug-a-Bug Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:56am
post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by icingimages

Tell her that

I agree. Admit your mistake. Your other cakes are nice... this one - not so much. Learn from it, offer her something to make her happy so you don't lose her business. I would offer her a free cake, or a SERIOUSLY discounted one. thumbs_up.gif

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