Cake Fell Apart After Picked What Do I Do?

Decorating By mommyjones Updated 5 Aug 2012 , 1:21am by costumeczar

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mommyjones Posted 29 Jul 2012 , 2:00pm
post #1 of 17

Okay so a customer picked up her small three tier cake (4 in, 6 in, 8 in.) An hour after she picked it up she called me saying the cake had fallen apart. I had put plastic dowels in each tier with cardboard and put in ta box. When I told her yesterday when she called to check on the ake I told her she needed to put it on the floor in the car. Well when she called me that it fell over she mentioned that she had it in her lap. What do I do? Do I refund her money, the party is in like 2 hours so I have no way to make her a new cake. I am so stressed out about it, and I had a waiver for her to sign and I completely forgot to have her sign it.

16 replies
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jgifford Posted 29 Jul 2012 , 2:11pm
post #2 of 17

Whether or not she signed the waiver, you advised her to put the cake on the floor of her car and she didn't do it. You have no control over the cake once the customer takes possession of it, and therefore, no responsibility for it. You can't be held liable for her lack of common sense.
The cake was small enough and you supported it well enough that it wouldn't have been damaged if she had handled it correctly. So don't feel bad about it - it wasn't your fault.

That being said, I understand that you feel bad the cake didn't make it to the party intact, and if you really want, you could offer a discount on a future cake. But I don't think you owe her anything at all. JMO

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lovinspoonfull Posted 29 Jul 2012 , 2:28pm
post #3 of 17

I agree with jgifford. If you explained the best way to transport the cake, and she did not follow your instructions, it is no longer your responsibility.
It can be uncomfortable to tell people what they do not want to hear, but you have no reason to doubt yourself in this case, as far as I can see.

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ApplegumPam Posted 31 Jul 2012 , 10:10am
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Have to admit to NOT being familar with American cakes or the way they are structured - but I can't believe that the difference of being on your lap or on the floor would make THAT much of a difference.

I know you use different boards and they may flex more than what we, in Australia, are used to.
but I would not thing that that one thing alone could contribute to a cake 'falling apart' - surely there must be OTHER factors that come into it.

For this reason alone I would say that even if you do not refund - you do need to re-assess what/how you do things to try and make a much sounder structure for future orders

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AZCouture Posted 31 Jul 2012 , 1:59pm
post #5 of 17

I hope no one ever tries to say that happened with one of mine. They would have to bounce that cake around and slam it down or turn it over for it to fall apart. I'm surprised at how many stories post around here about cakes slipping and falling and smushing. But I deliver 99% of mine, so I guess it's mostly in the handling?

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vtcake Posted 1 Aug 2012 , 7:34pm
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Customer's can you possibly drive safely and accurately with a 3 tier cake in your lap??

No refund, no nothing.

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Cjsmommy2012 Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 5:22am
post #7 of 17

I have to agree with refund it wasn;t your fault..and common sense why would anyone hold a three tier cake on their lap and drive at the same time...

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mcaulir Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 11:23am
post #8 of 17

Surely she wasn't driving with it in her lap? Someone else was driving?

I actually think carrying cake in your lap as a passenger would be perfectly fine, and can't imagine why that would cause a cake to fall apart.

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scp1127 Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 12:49pm
post #9 of 17

This is my opinion, but if you are going to allow people to pick up stacked cakes, the structure must be even stronger than if you delivered it.

I also do not allow people to just walk out with a cake. Before they come, I go over the needs again. When they get here, I secure the cake, not them. I have shelf liner and rolled up old (clean) towels to straighten and secure the cake.

We should be aware that the customer has no experience and do what we need to do to make sure the cake arrives in one piece.

If I am not sure of a situation, I will charge the person the delivery fee and deliver it. I have no problem telling someone that their cake will not likely make the trip.

Sorry, I think the customer should have had more guideance and all of my cakes could make it to their destination on a passenger's lap. Maybe we are not responsible after it leaves, but we are responsible with providing a cake that the customer can transport if this is a part of our business.

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Claire138 Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 2:13pm
post #10 of 17

I once gave into someone about their child holding the cake (it was for his birthday), NEVER again. Although I stressed repeatedly that it needs to be held flat and would be better in the boot on the mat they would not listen - needless to say, they called me as soon as they got home to say that some of the features on the cake had fallen off, a problem I'd never had (which I told her), I explained that that was why I had wanted to place the cake myself in the car bc a child holding it - in a car full of kids no less - is not ideal. Although she didn't agree with me that it was most likely her son touching the decorations, when I offered her a discount on her next cake (she had one ordered for the next week) she refused it saying she had just called to ask if there was any way she could fix it herself.

I don't deliver cakes but I've had people come on the metro or motor bike!
Now, I am very clear on the phone that cakes need to be picked up by car & when time comes I do not allow anyone else to place it in the car or certainly not on a lap.

I feel for you, this is a situation we all dread.

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BakingIrene Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 2:18pm
post #11 of 17

I can't imagine how such a small cake would have fallen apart EXCEPT for the driver braking suddenly from 90mph (unlikely), or if the customer dropped it on her way out of the car (probable). If she didn't bother to put the cake down onto an empty seat or into somebody else's hands before she moved sideways next to a swinging door, then she got exactly what the laws of physics predict.

Putting the cake on the floor is the best last thing you can do...but if somebody drives like an idiot, then THEY have to accept the consequences of THEIR stupidity, waiver or no waiver.

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jenscreativity Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 2:32pm
post #12 of 17

NO REFUND..customer's fault and you can tell her how you stressed to have this cake traveling on floor. One lesson I learned was ALWAYS tell customer that once cake is put into their hands and out of my sight, they are fully is very stressed. I even had customers say, "well it should be ok put here" in their car and I then reply, " I'm stressing is VERY important you know that if anything happens to this while traveling and I no longer have it, I"m NOT responsible"..customers usually take that seriously.

Good luck and if anything, if she gives you a problem and you don't want to deal with it anymore, give her only cost of ingredients back..and keep MOST of the money..

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mareg Posted 2 Aug 2012 , 5:47pm
post #13 of 17

Did you put a center dowel? Even told her to put it on the floor. I would not give a refund based on that. HER choice not to follow directions.

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FullHouse Posted 3 Aug 2012 , 1:54am
post #14 of 17

Sorry you have to deal with this situation. Due to reading similar stories on CC, I provide every customer with cutting and transport instructions as well as a verbal explanation of what is written. For all pickups, I print out the following statement at the bottom of my copy of their paid invoice and have the client sign before they leave with the cake.

"Client has received cake and printout of transport/cutting/storage instructions. Client understands it should remain on a level, stable surface out of heat and/or direct sunlight. Client assumes all responsibility for condition of the cake once it is in their possession.


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step0nmi Posted 3 Aug 2012 , 2:09am
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by mareg

Did you put a center dowel? Even told her to put it on the floor. I would not give a refund based on that. HER choice not to follow directions.

i didn't see anything about a center dowel in the OP post either.

IF their wasn't a center dowel then a refund would be a MUST.

Ask to see pictures, if not. You can tell if it was a matter of structural issues or someone slamming on the breaks with how the cake looks in the box.

also, are they ASKING for a refund or just said it feel apart?

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AZCouture Posted 3 Aug 2012 , 2:12am
post #16 of 17

I always deliver tiered cakes with no center dowel, but would not send one off on it's own without one.

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costumeczar Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 1:21am
post #17 of 17

I wouldn't bother with a center dowel regardless. Unless it's totally and thoroughly anchored in the base board that the cake is on it can still tilt and take the tiers with it if the cake isn't handled right.

If I let people pick up a tiered cake (even two tiers) it would be with me carrying it out to the car and making sure it was on a flat surface and secure for the road. I've given clients carpet padding before to make sure things didn't slide around. Just for future reference...That way they're responsible when they drive away, but you can be sure that the cake isn't going to be held crookedly on a lap.

I think there's probably a difference between us holding the cake on our laps and the client doing it. They could have it on their lap and still have it be tilted, which can make it fall over. If the size of the box wasn't the same as the base board that the cake was on it could still slide around in the box, which wouldn't help.

I don't even know what I'd do in this case...Was the cake cold when the client picked it up? How long was the drive? I'd say that if you were clear that the cake had to go on the floor and she didn't put it there then it's her fault, but only if you're sure it was secure in the box and that kind of thing.

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