Cake Returned And Refund Demanded

Business By 61999 Updated 30 Jan 2018 , 5:39pm by BakeMiaCake

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61999 Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 4:42pm
post #1 of 18

I need opinions and advice please.

I made a 3 tier cake for client and they agreed to pick it up as I was not going to be available..  I left it assembled except for two "fragile" items I told client they would need to place on cake once it reached final destination.  I took photos of the cake fully assembled.  There was a small scratch on one tier (fondant) but I did not worry about it as one of the items made out of pastillage given to them was going directly in front of the cake.

There was a stencil I used which the client found on line and I purchased.  SHe claimed it was smudgy looking, which in all honestly yes, it did have a couple of LIGHT smudges but nothing atrocious.  Some stencils do not lend themselves to wrapping and the one she found and liked was like that.  I tried to clean it as best as possible.

So...client picks up cake and I was told seemed pleased, didn't say much.  THEN an hour later she is blowing up my phone with texts saying she cannot serve the cake, that there is dust on it, hair on it, dents, doesn't look clean and demands a full refund. Also says it does not look like what was discussed at the consultation.  I tell her I am unavailable at the moment and in order to consider any refund the cake needs to be returned.

She returns the cake ( I was not there when she did) and when I do see it it, it is full of dents and damage - obviously incurred AFTER cake was given to her. Regretfully I did not have her sign a pick-up/release form (learned my lesson)!  GOing forward I will include verbage regarding pick ups on my contracts as well.

SO - I am willing to partially refund her because I want ALL my clients to be happy, BUT that damage incurred after.  I don't want a negative review, I have EXCELLENT reviews.  Comments?  Advice please!

17 replies
-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 6:17pm
post #2 of 18

didja take pictures before it left?

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-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 6:19pm
post #3 of 18

only thing I can think of is a 10-20% restocking fee so you can keep something-- I have seen restocking fees for other things as high as 35% --

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61999 Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 6:30pm
post #4 of 18

I did take photos and it shows the cake in great condition.

By restocking fee, you mean hold back 10-20%?

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-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 7:00pm
post #5 of 18

just trying to think of a way for you to retain some of the money -- judge judy or people's court is another option -- idk what to do really -- what a mess -- 

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61999 Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 7:13pm
post #6 of 18

Well, the cake cost $490.  I told her that I would refund her 80% which is about $390.  I  stating that the cake was given in good condition and whilst I did not assume liability for damage done to it after she received it I am holding back cost of materials and ingredients.  Also told her that even though I was not responsible for the damage,  I care enough about my clients satisfaction and if she was not satisfied then I refunded 80%.  

She told me she would pursue legal action.  This is very upsetting, but I also documented all the photos and the cake she brought back was clearly damaged, whilst in the photos I took prior to her taking it - it was not.  I don't want to go the legal route obviously nor my reputation tarnished by I think I have enough photos that document it in my favor.  Hopefully she won't write a horrible review.  I've never gotten a single bad review.

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-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 7:24pm
post #7 of 18

you are golden -- she might flip and flap some more -- let her -- I think you did great -- expect her to try & get under your skin some more -- let it go go go --

cakes getting returned & clients being pissy is part of the gig -- you won't be tarnished by it -- there's no such thing as bad advertising "they" say -- in this case you have lovely solid evidence -- you might get a negative review -- it's ok -- life goes on -- had a friend got a c or a b in chemistry and she had a nervous breakdown literally -- it happens -- just say no to nervous breakdowns --

this is a case of buyer's remorse -- she wanted her money back and ruined the cake to get it -- there's little action she can really take -- will cost her more in time & fees to file than she will get -- if it's the principle of the thing then she's out because you already covered it -- you did great -- no worries

consider blocking her from all your communication pathways 


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-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 7:26pm
post #8 of 18

listen you could rescind the offer to refund at all :)

I saw a judge judy or judge milian where the plaintiff got nuthin' 'cause the defendant already offered a big refund & the plaintiff wasn't smart enough to take it

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-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 7:28pm
post #9 of 18

offered the refund like you did immediately when it came to your attention -- way before it got to court -- judge was pissed because  it wasted her time -- yeah huh 

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61999 Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 8:16pm
post #10 of 18

Thank you so much.  I feel so much better that it is over.  Mad about the lost work and time

 but hey...learned some valuable lessons.

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kakeladi Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 8:55pm
post #11 of 18

Yes, this is an awful situation but it sounds like you handled it properly.  As has been said, let her take you to guess is *you* will be the winner in the long run.  Yes, it probably will take lots of your time and maybe even some cost (lawyer, time off etc) in the long run you will come out o.k. but my guess is that she is just huffing & puffing hoping to scare you into coughing up more.  You offered her a fair amount and learned some valuable lessons..........let her blow :)

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-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2018 , 10:31pm
post #12 of 18

maybe it's the best idea to have a thing for them to sign that they received it all aok -- but if i was in business right now -- i would take a picture of the cake with the person picking it up -- i think there would be much less doubt this way plus it time stamps it -- so maybe they are  camera shy -- take a picture of the condition of the cake in their car -- then finish wrapping it back up -- 

just a thought --

i'm glad you're not stressed about it anymore -- stay  that way even if she dings you --

best of the best to you 

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61999 Posted 23 Jan 2018 , 3:07am
post #13 of 18

Thank you!  All great lessons I am learning as my business grows.

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61999 Posted 23 Jan 2018 , 3:08am
post #14 of 18

Thank you!  All great lessons I am learning as my business grows.

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61999 Posted 23 Jan 2018 , 3:08am
post #15 of 18

Thank you!  All great lessons I am learning as my business grows.

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cutiger Posted 24 Jan 2018 , 11:51am
post #16 of 18

Thanks for sharing because I learned alot too.  Even tho I try to deliver all my cakes to avoid something like this, sometimes it isn't possible.  Thanks for all the great advice, yall!

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MsGF Posted 24 Jan 2018 , 12:48pm
post #17 of 18

Make sure to have a waiver for people to sign when they pick up cakes.  I have one for tiered cakes.   I photograph every cake before it leaves and I explain to each person who picks up a cake of any size the best way to transport and store the cake.  I also tell them to drive carefully - start and stop carefully - corner like a transport truck, not a race car   :-)  And I tell them I am not responsible for the cake once it leaves. So they best be careful with it.

Talking about how to drive is important - there are a lot of bad drivers out there   :-) 

This might seem tedious or time consuming - but it's important and will save you one day.  I have had no complaints or damaged cakes that I'm aware of and no bad reviews. 

You handled this well.  But cover yourself for the next time.

All the best. 

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BakeMiaCake Posted 30 Jan 2018 , 5:39pm
post #18 of 18

I had the same type of situation a few months back.  When I do my cakes, of course, I have a contract regarding pickup as well as delivery.  And when I know ppl are picking up, I explain everything to them including telling them they need to have a passenger to hold the cake because one never knows how bumpy a road will be regardless of the supports used in the cake.

I had a Lippy Lipstick Shopkins cake that I made....tall and thin, just like the Shopkins character.  I told the customer to be sure to bring a passenger, he said he would, he also lives not 10 minutes away from me and had previously purchased three other cakes....for which he had a passenger.  This time, for the tallest and thinnest cake he ordered, he chose to drive his older pick up truck, with no passenger, and a large cardboard box into which he planned to put the cake (which was in its own box). He then planned to wedge the large box between the dash and the seat back to hold the cake.  When he arrived and told me his plan I asked, "are you sure you want to do that? It's a tall cake and that's a little scary." He assured me all was fine. I was said, "well, you're only going home, anyway." To which he replied...."no I'm heading to X location"  That location is at least 25-30 minutes away with three route options - all three consist of very windy roads, and one over very bumpy railroad tracks.  Needless to say.......  Lippy didn't fair well.

She left my house in in pristine condition, I watched, nervously, as he put the box in the box and wedged it into his older pick up truck and wasn't surprised when he messaged me with the results. He wanted a full refund - in my contracts it clearly states deposits are non-refundable - so that was out. It also states that I'm not responsible for damage done to the cakes when they leave my place, but I offered the balance (50% of the total) back to him. Well.....he and his friends from all over the US who didn't even attend the party bashed me on my FB page like crazy.  I had to ban them and remove the ability for people to leave reviews.

I've never had such a mess on my hands and after issuing his refund I wanted to take it back from him (it was a paypal pmt) with how rude and ridiculous he was acting. But, I have loyal customers who saw the hateful things he and his friends wrote who stood by me and continue to do so.  Never fear, this will blow over and your loyal customers will remain and you will get new customers too.  I wish I'd seen this earlier, I'd defnitely have suggested at most a 50% refund.  Tho, if I were in your shoes.... I'd not have given anything.

The thing that amazed me the most about my hateful ex-customer was that he insisted my cakes tasted awful, yet this was his fourth time ordering from me, which he even said on my page.  "This is my fourth cake from her and they are dry and inedible" Then why did he order even a second one if the first was awful?  LoL

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