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Had to refund a "donation" pymnt :(

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
I'm still a beginner at cake decorating. I usually just make cakes for friends and family. I would like to start a cake business someday so I've been "practicing" having a real cake business by making general cake contracts and providing diagrams to what might be potential customers (my friends/family). I do not ask or expect payment for any of my cakes. Some people have been generous and given me a small gift as a thank you for the cake. A girl who used to work with me was getting married so she asked me to make her wedding cake. I told her that I had not made a wedding cake before but I agreed to do it. She said it was a SIMPLE design. I had a consult/tasting with the bride and MIL. Her simple design turned out NOT so simple! She wanted black freehand scrolls and a fondant ribbon with a large fondant bow in front and the bow/ribbon had to have a deep gold color and shimmer. I told her I would try to do this. She understood I was still beginning and that I was not expecting payment. MIL insisted that I take atleast something to cover the ingredients. I told her that I did not feel comfortable taking money as I was not legal yet. When she left, she gave my 9 year old daughter $70 and told her to give to mommy as a thank you. Well, I made the cake as best as Zi could and delivered it to the venue. 1 week passed and I get a call from MIL. At first she wasnt making sense because she started telling me how bad the pictures were and that they were dark and thet maybe she should of paid $1000 for s photographer. When I finally got a word in, I told her she had the wrong person. She said "oh, no honey, you are on the list too!" she started saying that the cake looked really bad and it was NOT at all what she or the bride were expecting. She also said that the bride did not say anything about it to me when she saw me the following week because she did not want to "get into it" with me. She wanted to know what was going to be done about it. I apologized that she felt they way and reminded her that I was still new at this and she was aware of it. I told her that I would send her the $70 gift back since she was so horrified with the cake. I assume that this is what would of been done in a real cake business, correct? Customer is always right? I guess I've already had my first bad experience and I don't even have a business yet. Im feeling very sad and unworthy right now. Sorry so long and thanks for reading! Cake is in my gallery if you wanna see how bad it is. On second thought, I might post under disasters icon_sad.gif
Cake just happens....
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Cake just happens....
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post #2 of 100
Looked at your cake. It really isn't that bad. Obviously, they wanted something free. If not, they should have gone to a licensed bakery and paid full price. As the old saying goes - "you get what you paid for." For $70, they got a very nice cake.
Love cakes!!
Valerie
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Love cakes!!
Valerie
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post #3 of 100
Sounds like if she had a 'list' she was trying to recoup some of the money from wedding.
IF she knew your ability upfront I don't see why you would owe her anything...

Do you have sketches or pictures of what they were looking for?
And was it the same as the cake.

It also sounds like they hired a bunch of people that weren't yet at the professionnal level of thier craft
if she was saying she should have paid 1000s for a photograher.

So she went cheap (please don't take offense to that... I just mean she knew you weren't 'charging')
on multiple parts of the wedding and probably had a plan to complain later to get even more of it back.
post #4 of 100
THAT LADY IS HORRIBLE AND INSENSITIVE! first of all you were up front with her...and second of all, i just looked at your cake, for a beginner you did a wonderful job!!!

the one thing i always tell people is "I cannot make a cake look exactly like a picture". this normally gets them to thinking that every designer is different and they don't expect it to look like the picture...cuz THEY did.

I'm so sorry to hear that this lady is ridiculous! I think for giving away your services you are very generous. But yes, lesson learned :p
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
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It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
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post #5 of 100
I think your cake looks beautiful! No way does she deserve any money back. You were completely upfront about your lack of experience. Sure, it may not be as polished as cakes made by the more experienced designers on this board, but you should be proud of it! It sounds like she's just trying to get something for free.
post #6 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Occther

Looked at your cake. It really isn't that bad. Obviously, they wanted something free. If not, they should have gone to a licensed bakery and paid full price. As the old saying goes - "you get what you paid for." For $70, they got a very nice cake.



I think the better saying is " No good deed goes unpunshied" I think you did a great job on the cake. She `s got a nerve, After you put your time in it. And it was FREE. I guess it would have been to difficult for her to say, Wow thank you so much, You did a great job. Some people are just ungratefull. Be proud of yourself thumbs_up.gif
post #7 of 100
First, for a first time wedding cake you really did a great job! Second, I think if she has a list she is trying to pull one over on you!(she couldnt even keep track on who she was speaking with) Did they eat the cake? I would pull out what you paid for ingredients and give her the rest back. I know some on here say that you are still accepting payment and its not legal, my feeling is, and I have done this for my friends, if they want me to do their wedding cake, they can get me the ingredients and I will make it for them. Ive done a couple as gifts but they were really close friends. I just make sure they check with the venue to see if they will let them bring a cake in from their friend who baked it at home. Only one said no in the last 10 years.
post #8 of 100
The design sounds like it would not photograph well without an experienced professional photographer. Dark colors can look bad if the lighting is not perfect.

Did they eat the cake? If so, then it was good enough to serve and you owe her nothing. Maybe in your contract you should stipulate no refunds. You can't get refunds for the supplied you used.

I'm sorry to say that this will happen again and again as people try to lesson the sticker shock of a dream wedding or the customers are just cheap and will complain until they get their money back. It happens.

Best of luck to you.

Michele
Don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
Galations 6:9, NLT

Author of "The Sugar Fix" cookbook and "Bloomin' Garden" DVD.
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Don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
Galations 6:9, NLT

Author of "The Sugar Fix" cookbook and "Bloomin' Garden" DVD.
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post #9 of 100
Since you already told her you'd give back the gift change, that's something I wouldn't recommend going back on but, I wouldn't have given her back kaka. You made them aware, and they acknowledged what you were going to try to accomplish her request, right?

I think I'd make a snide remark when returning the pocket lint though (that's just me and I am so intolerant of cheapass people who don't bat an eye at the idea of taking advantage of others). "Bless your heart. I told you you didn't have to pay. You didn't have to insist my daughter take the money if you couldn't afford it. Bless your heart. You must've been really been agonizing over all that money you were having to pay. Bless your heart. Don't you worry 'bout a thang. I'll be sure to get that money in the mail to you."
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
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"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
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post #10 of 100
. . . and while you are saying "Bless your heart" your thinking - "Kiss my butt!" ( :
post #11 of 100
I don't understand people who expect the same skill set from a beginner as they would Collette Peters! Shame on them.

Honestly I wouldn't return the money, but since you have already said you would, then you must. I mean you were willing to do it for free anyway, right?

Chalk it up to experience and learn from that experience. You will get better. thumbs_up.gif

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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post #12 of 100
Evidently she got what she paid for, she was expecting a cake from a new baker to look like something from someone who had years of experience? Really? You did a good jog for a first time wedding cake. You really shouldn't owe her anything, but since you offered to give back the cost of ingredients, tell the mother to come get it. I would not send it back to her.
Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
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Making life sweet!

Lindas Just Desserts

Inspected and licensed commercial kitchen
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post #13 of 100
well I think your cake looks very nice and for a beginner your other cakes are great.

For $70 she sure got a bargain - 3 tier for $70!!

Did they eat all the cake, if all she is concerned about is how the cake looked in the photos and she isnt happy with them - then its not you she should be having a go at - its the photographer.

No cake comes out exactly like a picture someone shows you and a sketch is the basis of the pattern and shape of the cake, which it sounds like you did.

You have now refunded the money, so its done, put it down to experience, but have faith in what you can do cos what you do is fine.
Dont get stressed - eat a cupcake
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Dont get stressed - eat a cupcake
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post #14 of 100
Thread Starter 
All4cake: LOL! your comment made me laugh...I needed it.
I asked the MIL how the cake itself was and she said, "it wasnt that bad however, I really liked the strawberry bottom tier". Even though she liked the strawberry tier, she was still upset at the design itself. I have attached a pic the picture that she wanted me to duplicate, only thicker fondant ribbon and freehand black scrolls (I hope it posted). I told her that I could not duplicate the cake exactly but I would try my best. She said "that's fine. Most of my family either doesn't like cake or are diabetic so cake doesnt really matter to us."
I just don't get this lady! She KNEW I had not made a wedding cake before and that I could not charge. Even when I told her "I will send you your GIFT back", she said "Well, I will talk with bride and tell her that this is what you are going to do. I'm not sure if this is ok with her. I do not want to worry her with this now as she is on a honeymoon, which had to be local because she spent so much money on her wedding. Anyway, we regret NOT spending the $500 for a wedding cake. The mailing address is ........". I guess I was so taken aback that I didnt even think to tell her that the person being taken advantaged of her was ME. Thanks for all your support and advice!
Fedra
Cake just happens....
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Cake just happens....
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post #15 of 100
Thread Starter 
Cake just happens....
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Cake just happens....
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