Ok, so a customer calls me to order one of my basic shoebox and shoe cake. Ok nothing major just a basic 3 layer strawberry filled 9x13 cake, fondant shoes and purse. I made this exact same cake 3 weeks ago for another customer and delivered it 60 miles away from my shop without one problem. This customer today ordered a topsy tury cake from me a couple months ago and absolutely loved it (I delivered that cake already stack and had no problems) she has since booked a cake for Jan and her sister has also placed an order for the 1st of Jan. But anyway I am just starting to build a customer base which is mostly in the city, I drive between 55-70 miles to deliver most of my cakes. Because Im starting to get more orders a week in this area I decided to start charging for delivery which is $45.00 (DH thinks I dont charge enough but thats another story) anyway this customer did not want to pay the $45.00 delivery to her location so I offered to charge her $20.00 and she meet me at point X that way she would only have about a 15-20 min drive to where she was going. Well to make a long story short I get to point X open my SUV and inspect the cake as usual to make sure everything is ok, Perfect cakes were fine, no cracks, no sliding no icing melt down. I wait about 5 min customer arrive we both look at the cakes she signs her invoice pays her balance. I place the cake in the back of her SUV and tell her to make sure she drive with care and so on. Well I pull out of the parking lot where we met up and head to my next destination, we both drive out to get on the interstate and I see her merge into the next lane and go about her business and Im thinking she is just driving along like there is nothing in the back of her truck but that was just my thought maybe Im just too cautions when Im delivering my cakes.
Well about 45 mins later I get a phone call and its the customer asking me how she could fix this? Im like fix what and she goes on to tell me that the top of the cake is sliding off. So I ask her what happen did you hit a bump or slam on the brakes for it to slide like that? She says well I hit a few small bumps but was nothing that would make me think that anything would happen to the cake!!!! I then asked her to send me a pic of the cake so I can tell her how to try fixing it. By this time Im already like 10 miles from the Dr office with my daughter so turning around and going fix it would have meant driving back another 50 or so miles, cost me a missed appt fee and having to wait 3 months for another appt not to mention I felt like this was not my fault because she did not take caution with driving the cake were she was going.
I am just so upset now because about 2 mins after I saw the pic she sent to my phone I called her back and her response was Ill call you later, Im too disgusted right now! Ok so Im speechless at this point and just say ok call me later and hang-up. So how would you handle this issue, should I feel responsible for the cake sliding off and refund her $217.00 or should I tell her that the cake was fine when it was turned over to her and just offer her a discount on her next order for her trouble. I am really upset that this happen. I have never had any problems delivering any of my cakes especially single tier cakes which this one was.
There was no need to use any supports in this cake because it was just a 9x13 three layer buttercream iced cake with a thin layer of fondant on top to resemble a lid. Customers have picked up their cakes from me before and none have ever had a problem with cakes sliding or breaking. My DH and best friend says not to worry because it was out of my control and the cake was fine when I turned it over to her. I guess Im more concerned that she will make it seem to other people that the cake ended up like that because of something I did wrong. I'm sorry this ended up being so long but What would you do?
here is the pic of the cake that she sent to me.
Dont see a pic, but I wouldn't feel bad or offer a refund. The cake was sent off in perfect condition...anyting that happens after she gets behind the wheel is her fault.
Once she signed for it, paid her balance on the cake and turned over the cake....you are done with it.
She drove badly and has a damaged cake to show for it. How are you responsible for that?
That's like someone eating too much cake, makes themselves sick and wants you to give them their money back because you gave them too much cake and they had no self control.
I agree. No refund.
I think once she signs the invoice and it's with HER possession, that's her problem. If she chose to drive recklessly, knowing she had a cake, then she can't blame you for her carelessness.
I'm sorry you're going thru this gut-wretching moment because its not fair to you that you should feel bad about this.
On the list of things we should say to people like this:
"I'm sorry ... you just said you hit a number of bumps and I DID observe your not-so-careful driving when you left the parking lot. How do you figure its my fault if a cake was damaged while YOU were driving with it?"
I personally do not feel a refund is merited.
Sorry that this happened but you're not responsible for this. She did the damage so if she calls asking for something the answer is no.
I agree that no refund should be made, and I also don't think you should offer a discount on a future cake. If it's not your fault, it's not your fault. Making that offer implies that some part of that story was because of something you did wrong.
I wouldn't worry about her badmouthing you. What if she does? In my experience, most people have people in their lives who are constant complainers and when those people complain, everyone takes it "with a grain of salt." Don't worry about it.
She had an opportunity to have the cake delivered to her door for 45.00, and she refused because she didn't want to pay the extra money. There is a reason cake people deliver their own cakes, because they know just how careful you have to be in delivery. If the cake was ok upon delivery to delivery destination, and she signed the release/invoice to same...sorry no refund or discount. What she considers to be "small bumps" might be 6 inch deep pot holes. How do you know she didn't drive like a lunatic? You aren't clarivoyant, you have no way of knowing what happened to the cake when it left your possession. Oh and by the way, it has been my experience that complainers are usually recognized by the people around them as complainers, and most people don't pay much attention to their complaints. It's my guess that she knows what happened to the cake, and she won't be asking for a refund anyway (well unless it's my sister-in-law, she would probably ask for a refund if she dropped it on the floor herself).
There is a reason cake people deliver their own cakes,
Don't see any pics, but you gave it to her in perfect condition, she signed for it, you completed your end of the contract. NO refund!
I hope you didn't go back and lose your appointment to fix the cake.....NO REFUND....she took the cake, she drove with the cake.you already did her a favor by meeting 1/2 way....when a customer leaves with the cake....it's their baby.....
I am sorry that you have to go through this right now, but as everyone else I also believe you should nor refund the money and neither feel bad about it.
From now on maybe you can add to your policy that if any one other than you delivers the cake you are not responsible for the condition the cake gets to the destination.
(well unless it's my sister-in-law, she would probably ask for a refund if she dropped it on the floor herself).
There was no need to use any supports in this cake because it was just a 9x13 three layer buttercream iced cake with a thin layer of fondant on top to resemble a lid.
For the most part I agree it's their problem after signing off.
However, you might reconsider how you construct three-layer cakes in the future. Maybe you can get away without supports inside three layers, but you should consider pegging it anyway with some type of skewers to prevent those layers from sliding apart from one another.
If you aren't going to use supports and a board for every 4" of cake height and this was 6" tall, it can easily slide before delivery just during handling. I think you were lucky in the past to not see anything slide.
No refund she was to cheap to pay for it to be delivered in excellent condition, she accepted the cake didn't gripe then so she was happy with it, she is a careless driver maybe she will think next before she tries to be so cheap, no refund not discount, besides those starting up a business take pictures of the finished product, and it looked fine then right?
There are always those who screw up and blame others for their messes.
If the woman decides to cancel further orders your better off, because she knows you will cave in delivery charges if she gripes enough. Better off not to be bothered with those kinds of customers, and to disgusted to talk what a crock.
Thanks everyone for the replies. Its great knowing I can vent to people who truly understand my frustrations. Thanks a million. I'm already working on a 2 part delivery waiver form to have all customers sign. I had one for wedding cakes but I never bothered having everyone who pickup sign one so now that way there are no misunderstanding in the future of the risk of pickups. Lesson learned!
Waiver good idea for for people like this who are to cheap to pay for delivery in full.