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I, too, have an upset customer but I'm not at fault here!

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
My October 29th clients wrote me a very lengthy email about how a specific detail on their cake was all wrong. They ordered a cake with spiderwebs on it made out of sugarveil. When I met with the bride she said she wanted her cake to look "old and dusty" with white icing and sugarveil webs. So I did that. Their email states that they webs were to be black and that they had "talked up the cake to everyone and his new wife is so upset she can hardly speak about it".

Not once, not ever did either of them say they wanted them to be black. I would have made them black! I made a custom topper for this cake and spent a ton of time on it. We did the spider webs on site and blew petal dust onto the cake for the dusty look ( had to drive two hours away up into the mountains so was assembled on site). He goes on to say that I know full well that "other brides would demand a full refund" but that they are reasonable and I should decide what refund I think is fair and that I have his credit card info still and can put it right back on there.

I don't think I should have to give them anything! I'm sorry they aren't happy, but I'm also not a mind reader. If they specifically wanted black webs, then someone should have said the words out loud. I fear this couple is going to go online and trash me, just by how abrupt he was in his email. I'm sitting here now having wasted three hours moping about this. I hate this b.s. and that something I have no control over is making me feel like crap.

What would you do?
post #2 of 42
Did she sign off on the design, do you have any communication she wrote or approved about the design? I'd love to see pictures of it.

TJ

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself wherever you choose.

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TJ

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself wherever you choose.

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post #3 of 42
Show them the Email and point out there was nothing in it that asked you to do it black.
Paige Pittman
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Paige Pittman
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post #4 of 42
I would send him back a very lovely email
reminding him that in all of the written communication- including the contract they signed- there is no written detail that states that they want the spider webs to be black.
Remind him that they asked for and 'old and dusty' look and last time you checked dust was gray/white not black.
For in the end we will protect only what we love, love only what we understand, and understand only what we are taught.
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For in the end we will protect only what we love, love only what we understand, and understand only what we are taught.
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post #5 of 42
I'm not in business, so I really don't know what would be right - but I'd be tempted to say, sorry - no refund. Spiderwebs aren't black, unless depicted in a cartoon form.

Spiderwebs in nature:http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/08/spider-webs-glamour-architecture.html

There's actually some beautiful spiderweb photos in there - but all are white/clear/light - none are black.

Some may say that you should have clarified in the beginning and a small refund is due. I'm not so sure that a small refund would actually please them though.

During the design process, did you explain how you would create the spiderwebs that may have let them know that they wouldn't be colored black?

Sorry you're having to deal with this!
post #6 of 42
I think she looked at cakes, where spider webs are usually piped in black. So she just asumed that they would be black, didn't figure she had to state the obvious, to her anyway. I definitely think that its not your fault, spider webs aren't black, and you were doing what you thought she wanted. Like you said, you are not a mind reader, and if it isn't listed in the emails, she is out of luck, no refund.
post #7 of 42
Sorry that they're treating you this way. I'm not in business but have been doing cakes as a hobby for several years. Some people have a specific idea of what they want others don't. If the bride was so set on a specific look, then she should have been very clear with you about it. She needed to tell you the colors that she wanted and the type of design. Better yet, she could have supplied you with a picture or sketch to get her point across. Art is subjective. A client can give a general theme to 10 decorators and get 10 very different cakes.

Did they sign a contract? I used to have a small business and a written agreement is a must. People either have poor memories or like to change their story.

If they gave you a vague description with no particular color scheme- that's their fault. If the only complaint they have is the color of the cobwebs- they were not harmed. If the cake was served and enjoyed- what's the problem? If everyone started to make up a small complaint to get all or part of their money back, no one could stay in business.

Could you post a picture of the cake? If it's anything like the amazing one in your photos- I'm sure it was a hit.
Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts.
Charles Dickens
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Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts.
Charles Dickens
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post #8 of 42
some them the contact, if they signed it without black spider webs then no refund. point blank, naturally spider webs arent black
post #9 of 42
Yeah for a wedding cake I would have NOT pictured the webs in black...I'd have pictured some nice stringy spider webs in a sort of white/clear color and then the dust like you mentioned....the sparkles would highlight the webs...I would have thought it would look more realistic than black webs all over a wedding cake.

If she did not specifically say "black webs" then it is not your fault...especially if you made the cake the way you felt would be most aesthetically pleasing.
post #10 of 42
I agree with the consensus...If there's no written mention of the webs being black, then they can't expect you to have made themin black. No refund if they signed a contract that has no mention of black webs on it.
post #11 of 42
It could be that a more detailed Order Form is necessary, or at least an additional field for "Color Choice(s)" on each line item.
HOW TO:
Make tip #127D (giant rose tip) Ruffle cake,
Write with icing,
Make buttercream roses on a stick:
http://s984.photobucket.com/albums/ae322/Unlimited1cakes/
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HOW TO:
Make tip #127D (giant rose tip) Ruffle cake,
Write with icing,
Make buttercream roses on a stick:
http://s984.photobucket.com/albums/ae322/Unlimited1cakes/
Reply
post #12 of 42
Thread Starter 
Attached is a pic of the cake--

So they live in NY, and he emailed me again last night stating that they are having their original contract scanned in and should have it soon. I don't have a clue why that paperwork isn't with them, but I'm anxiously awaiting it to see if they were able to match my handwritingicon_smile.gif I met the bride when she made a trip out here and I make two very detailed sheets during a meeting labeled "cake info for you" "cake info for kelley kakes" I fill them out side by side and they had the same info on them. She goes home with hers, I keep mine. I'm positive without a doubt that "black" was never mentioned. I would have questioned whether sugar veil could be tinted as I told her I was new to the product and had only played with it for fun. Not a demand at all here for lacey looking cakesicon_smile.gif I also told her I had no idea how pre-piped webs would travel and I was bringing extra product in case they shattered on the drive and I had to re-pipe them... which they did and which I did.
In his second email he now complains that the webs didn't stretch from layer to layer. Some of them did, some I draped over the tops of the layers and the cake topper because it looked cool. When I met her she said several times, "Do what you think looks good, you're the artist."
So perhaps they spent more than they should have, perhaps she is embarrassed because she told everyone black and they weren't and she wants to pass the buck... who knows. I don't care, but I worry about comments made online. He's that type, of this I am sure!
post #13 of 42
Picture please!!! Did not attach!!
post #14 of 42
Thread Starter 
I can't figure out how to resize, but here's a link to my facebook pageicon_smile.gif

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449014161823&set=a.331623486823.152722.39420961823
post #15 of 42
I'm betting they watch Amazing Wedding Cakes & watched the episode where Lauri from Cake Alchemy New York, NY made the skull cake with black webs & blood red roses. Now you as a designer was suppose to know this info & read their minds!!! I'm sorry you are stressed about this. I do wonder, did you ever get an email or talk to the husband about the cake BEFORE the wedding? I wonder if he knew what HE WANTED & she (the bride) forgot to clarify it when talking to you. Could be she's passing the blame to you. Anywho, I hope it all gets better.


BTW--lovely lovely cake!!
TARA*GO FLORIDA GATORS
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TARA*GO FLORIDA GATORS
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