Business By DiviniDee Updated 18 Aug 2010 , 1:27pm by kansaslaura

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DiviniDee Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 11:12pm
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Just wanted to vent. I received a call today from a customer that picked up a cake Friday. She called to let me know that although the cake was very cute and what they asked for that it tasted sooo bad that no one ate it. Not even the birthday girl could eat the cake, that is how bad it was. She said that I must have left out an ingredient. And that not only the chocolate side but the white side also was bad. The cake was 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 butter cream flavor.

I haven't called her back. What she doesn't know is that I bake many cakes at a time and I make notes of what I am baking at the same time. I went to my fridge and pulled out the Butter cream 6" cake layer that is from the same batter that her cake was made and tasted it. Then my husband tasted it. It was perfect, delicious just like always. Now what am I going to say to the dishonest or bad tasted lady when she calls or comes in tomorrow. I DON"T KNOW!!!

38 replies
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glow0369 Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 11:22pm
post #2 of 39

If no one ate the cake, there should be cake for her to return to you.. Don't know how sanitary it would be to taste it after she brought it back..hhhmmm or have her taste a cake made from the same batch in front of you.. good luck

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totallycaked Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 11:24pm
post #3 of 39

Did she say she wanted a refund? Do you think she is just fishing for her money back?

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DiviniDee Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 11:57pm
post #4 of 39

Oh yeah, she said in her message "I don't believe it was worth the $70.00" And I am quoting that.

It is all just soooo frusterated. She is lying. I know she is. It would have been more believable had she complained about 1/2 the cake, but both? My chocolate is the best. I have a sample of the exact Butter Cream that she recieved. But how do you tell someone how you really feel with out cutting off your nose to spite your face. ARGHHH.

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DiviniDee Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:01am
post #5 of 39

Honestly, if she calls or comes in this week. I want to call her a liar, throw her out of my shop and tell her she will never be welcome back. BLACK LIST!

I must be tired. I don't know why I am soooo upset about this. But when I think of all the time put into that cake and how great it looked and knowing how great I know it tasted. It ticks me off how some people have no scruples when it come to the all mighty dollar.

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luvbuttercream Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:09am
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I understand these people I had made a cake and cupcakes for a 'friend' once and she called to give me feedback... it was that the cake was dry and just not very good but the cupcakes were just fine. She was not aware that as they were the same flavor I used the same recipe they even came out of the same bowl. Not only that but it was a doctored mix. I am not sure what people that do this are trying to accomplish and I don't have a problem if it is a legitimate complaint but when you are caught in a lie well... 'screw 'em'... as my DH always says. icon_twisted.gif

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cupcake_cutie Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:09am
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Yes, it sucks that people always want something for nothing. I hope that this works out for you. Sorry that I don't have any advice. This is a tough situation. icon_sad.gif

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thatslifeca Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:09am
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I would call her back, tell her that if the cake wasn't eatin to please return it so that you can taste it. Then take it from there. If she claims she threw it out, then too bad for her. She can't expect for you to refund something she no longer has (thats if she threw it out). If she brings in whats left of the cake, then taste it, and hand her a fork and ask her to do the same. I'm thinking she's fishing. Don't forget to taste your BC and fondant or whatever else you used on the cake. Your client is saying cake, but it could be any one thing that is maybe off putting to them. You know how most customers are, they usualy don't have any clue.

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chubbyalaskagriz Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:19am
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...but you kind of have just two choices...

1.) If you wish for her return business, or wish for referrals from her, or wish for any kind of positive word-of-mouth kindness from her, then I would try my best not to be offended or take it personally (or at least not show it) and just swallow your pride, hold your hat in your hand and offer a partial refund.


2.) Remind her that you're one of the most reputable bakers in the area and that your prices are competitive and your product is outstanding and that she simply disagrees... and while you respect her difference of opinion, you won't indulge it by refunding for a product that you cannot recover from by a product return.

If she raises a stink (and she very well might) I would flash the biggest smile you can muster and wordlessly show her the door.

Being gracious when under fire is one of the very hardest things. In my line of work I kinda hafta tow the line and remember that I am in the hospitality industry and always remain kind, sweet and polite... and I don't know your exact work location but definitely if you operate your own business out of a private home- if YOU deam it is just, I'd have no problem not extending graciousness her way if the situation calls for it. YOU are the boss!

Good luck- and let us know what happens!

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Stephy42088 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:20am
post #10 of 39

I'm so sorry your customer is being so difficult. A similar situation happened to me about 1 1/2 months ago, and it was my first official cake order!! I just told her that I apologize and I've never gotten a complaint about the flavors of any cakes before and left it at that. I would tell her that you have a cake from the same batter and that it tastes good so once again, you apologize.

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msulli10 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:23am
post #11 of 39

I know how frustrating and upsetting this is for you, but if this is your business than you might have to go with the old' "customer is always right" nonsense. When you speak with her maybe you can tell her that you have some of the same cake (and tasted it) and don't understand what the problem was. However, since you worked very hard on the cake, that a full refund is not possible, but that you could refund her some of the cost of the cake. You don't want to risk her bad mouthing you to potential customers. No matter how wrong she might be, it's not worth you losing business over her.

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sari66 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:32am
post #12 of 39

Since no one ate the cake have her return it then go from there. Sorry this happened to you.

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texanlostlover Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 12:53am
post #13 of 39

Ouch! I can imagine how upset this has made you. None of us want to have our hard work (and yummy cakes) be criticized. As a few others have mentioned, I would do my best to be diplomatic and polite, since you don't want her to bad-mouth you to other potential clients. I would definitely tell her that you sampled a cake made from the same batter and found no problem with it, but that you're sorry she was disappointed in the quality. I would think about offering her a free dozen cupcakes (just topped with a simple swirl of frosting; nothing fancy), or a discount toward purchasing another cake. That way you can show that you take your customers seriously, but that you do not give refunds. Even if she is lying to get her money back (which sounds like a definite possibility), it won't take you too much time/money to make a dozen cupcakes, and if she acts like that's not good enough, you just tell her that you're sorry, but this is your business policy.

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theonlynameleft Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:09am
post #14 of 39

I would definately tell her to bring the "uneaten" cake back in to you to taste and to have a discussion. I would be on your best, sweetest behaviour so that she cannot in any way say you handled things badly and then she will either chicken out when you call her bluff or say she has thrown it out at which point you say that you can't offer a refund etc without being able to inspect the "offending" goods. Nobody can expect a refund just based on the fact that they tell you they thought it was awful - the proof is in the pudding - or cake!!!

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nancyg Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:14am
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Did you have any other cakes that went to other customers from that batch??? I had this happen once. The customer wanted a wedding cake 2 x bigger than she needed. When she brought supports back she tried to say only the bottom layer that fed 98 was bad.....All tiers were made same batter in a hobart....They all tasted the same. She just had buyers regret. Said that they could eat all but bottom... I explained all came out of same batter. And I had nine other small orders from same batter. And evryone else was pleased. So, did you have other orders... If not let her taste yours and it is not even as fresh as hers.

I told her I could not refund her money the best I could do was offer her a cerificate for a future small cake. As I would never want anyone to be unhappy.

She accepted. I was only out few ingredients and some time.

I think she wanted a big refund, but when I put it nicely on the lline. she accepted my only offer

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chubbyalaskagriz Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:15am
post #16 of 39

Or... another thought... just so YOU don't totally lose out on funds- maybe simply offer her NEXT cake at a reduced rate.

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totallycaked Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:35am
post #17 of 39

I think it is a bit of buyer remorse. If I bought something and it was bad, and I couldnt eat it, I would take it back to the store. If it was me, I would have kept the cake to prove my opinion, not just give my opinion. I would tell e her that you are confused on why the cake did not meet her expectations but you had other cakes with the same batter and frosting that day that earned amazing remarks. If she can not produce your cake ... and have you taste it.... I would say, that your sorry this happened and you appreciate her honesty and opinion. Iwould offer to make a small cake like a 8 inch simple decoration cake for her for another occasion, with a month notice.... my opinion icon_smile.gif hope it helps

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Karen421 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 1:43am
post #18 of 39

So sorry this happen!!! You just smile into the phone and say - I am so sorry - no problem - just bring back the cake you couldn't eat and I will ......

either make her another cake sometime or refund some money. Chances are she isn't going to be able to do it, (probably because they ate it!)

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Laurieg Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 2:44am
post #19 of 39

In our dreams we all want to be "The Cake Nazi". "NO MORE CAKE FOR YOU----2 YEARS!!!!!

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chubbyalaskagriz Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 2:52am
post #20 of 39
Originally Posted by Laurieg

In our dreams we all want to be "The Cake Nazi". "NO MORE CAKE FOR YOU----2 YEARS!!!!!

Exactly- or pull something like the Jet Blue flight attendant recently did! icon_confused.gif

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Motta Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 3:39am
post #21 of 39

Sorry to hear of this. I'm sure she's got buyer's remorse. Here's my 2 cents based on a seminar I attended a couple years ago about how to tell if someone is lying. It was given by an ex-FBI agent from Florida and it was part of continuing education at my former job in insurance.

1. Tell her to bring back the cake within 24 hours - if no cake, no refund and that should be a standard part of your contract wording or written somewhere on your website under "policies". This is just good practice and nothing from the seminar.

2. Do not act overly nice and friendly when you see her; just act matter of fact and as a professional. Do not be angry . Inspect the cake without saying anything and take your time doing so. It will create a long period of time when nothing is being said and if she's lying, she will try to fill it up with more BS. Listen to the BS and don't say anything...keep poking around at the cake. You will have to taste it in front of her but dont comment on its taste. She may use the same phrases over and over and she will have a script memorized in her head. She may also start exaggerating her story and making it different than what she told you.

3. Watch her body language and if she's not able to be still, like fidgeting, scratching, touching her face...those are signs she's lying. Tell her about having cake from the same batch and ask her to taste it in front of you. This will be a surprise to her and will create a pressure situation. A liar cannot keep up a lie and control their bodies at the same time while under pressure. She will feel very uncomfortable and it will show. If she is not displaying unease, she's either not lying or shes become a very good liar.

4. If you see shes lying, tell her you find no credibility to her claim as you have evidence that the cake was edible. No refund and send her home without any consolation prize.

5. If you cant tell if shes lying, tell her that you cannot find any evidence to support her claim. As a goodwill gesture, you will refund X amount and send her on her way no negotiation. You come up with the amount you can live with and she doesnt tell you how much. But, the damage to your name is already done by what she would have said at the party. You do not want this customer to be part of your future. Cut her off and enjoy the other wonderful customers that will come your way! As someone once said its just cake!.

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indydebi Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 6:16am
post #22 of 39

Using the phrase "It's wasn't worth the $70" is NOT asking for a refund. Unless she says "I want a refund of $70", then she never asked for one.

"It wasn't worth the money" is complaning.
"I want my money back" is requesting.

If you have her bring the cake back, I would offer to have her taste the other cake you have that came from the same batch but do NOT tell her it came from the same batch. Offer a taste of cake, "Well tell me .... is THIS more of what you were expecting?" and when she proclaims 'yes that's much better than what I had!" then you can point out, "Huh. That's funny. Because both cakes came from the same batch of batter." icon_confused.gif (stand back ... watch her squirm .... enjoy the show!) icon_rolleyes.gif

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littlecake Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 6:56am
post #23 of 39

You do not want this customer to be part of your future. Cut her off and enjoy the other wonderful customers that will come your way! As someone once said its just cake!.

agree wholeheartily......

some customers waste time and money....just better to cut them loose...a happy one will take their place.........and i've told more than i'd like to admit..."i don't think i can please you....." they are usually so surprised...you can sometimes see some of these people commin, after you've had a few.

great post motta....thanks for posting it.

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scp1127 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 7:35am
post #24 of 39

Just curious... do any of you professional bakers put in your contract that you save a plug, cupcake,etc? And can a separately baked cake or cupcake not be representative of another cake from the same batter (overcooked,undercooked)? I wish I could give credit where it is due, but it slips my mind which poster gave the valuable tip about keeping a plug of each cake layer, labeled and frozen. Could you put that information in your contract under the refund area and possibly avoid this situation. The client will know in advance that you have that plug.

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HowCoolGomo1 Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 7:48am
post #25 of 39

The best advice I've seen so far for you is from IndyDebi.

The key words are the cake wasn't worth the money. Doesn't sound like she's looking for a refund.

She might have had someone tell her they would never pay that amount for a cake. Now, feels the fool in front of friends.

Actually, if it's inedible, make her bring it back. Personally, I wouldn't care if she brought me a cupcake size or the entire cake. If it really was nasty. then suck it up and do whats right for the customer.

If she dumped it, then say too bad, so sad. Obviously. it wasn't worth her time to prove to you the cake was bad.

Most cases, it's better to make the customer happy. Old adage 1 happy begets 10 happy. 1 unhappy begets 100 unhappy.

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jillmakescakes Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 7:04pm
post #26 of 39

ok, so it has to be 'cause Debi and I live so close, but after reading your story, I was going to post THE EXACT SAME IDEA as Debi!!!!!

If she likes the saved cake, then you know she lied. If she doesn't, then you know that the problem is her taste buds and not your recipe.

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Motta Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 7:37pm
post #27 of 39

Yes, Debi's idea is fool-proof! thumbs_up.gif

OP - you have to tell us how things go!!

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neelycharmed Posted 16 Aug 2010 , 8:05pm
post #28 of 39

I agree with Debi 100% thumbs_up.gif
Good Luck and hope it all works out for you,
let us know what happens.

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johnson6ofus Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 3:48am
post #29 of 39

Please, also... STOP offering "something" free if you complain attitude. thumbsdown.gif Who came up with that???? If they complain about your wonderful cake (if you believe it is so), why do they get free small cake, free cupcakes, a future discount, or a refund???? icon_eek.gif

We all know the type who complain, and then get rewarded by something free? That's just not right.....

They agreed to the price, got the cake, ate the cake, and then somehow we all feel "bad" or "guilty" if they come back and whine about it? What's up with that?

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CoutureCake Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 5:01am
post #30 of 39

One thought... if you're lubed up on the moonshine cake is NOT going to taste good KWIM... That could be part of the problem - what else were they consuming...

I also agree with the others that you need to make sure to taste your frosting and fillings because it's possible something happened there, sort of a cover thy buns thing, but definitely do so.

I agree with Debi's response for the rest thumbs_up.gif

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