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HUGE Cake Disaster, Whats my responsibilty ?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Please help !! We delivered a wedding cake, and when we opened the box, The ENTIRE THING HAD COLLAPSED !!!! OMG, in 12 years I've NEVER had that big of a Disaster !!!! SO,with the help of the banquet manager, we salvaged what we could which was just about half of the bottom tier. If done well, the photograper could get a photo with the couple cutting the cake. We then went out to the nearest grocery store and bought just as many sheet cakes as they had,. enough to serve the couples guest. Thank goodness I also took pictures of the cake before we left our kitchen so atleast the couple would have pictures of the cake. I felt so so horrible about the cake. Devastated. When we got back, I wrote their couple a letter, apologizing for the crash. In the letter, I wrote about how sorry I was and that I was sorry that I ruined their wedding. I offered to make their anniversary and birthdays for them and thier family members for free for the next 5 years. The Bride wrote me back saying that I did'nt ruin their wedding that they had a beautiful time anyway. She also thanked me for offering to do the additional cakes but that she felt that she should get a refund instead. She stated that because I was in breech of the contract.
here's the thing. We never signed a contract. I presented a cake and she had enough cake to feed her guests and pictures of the original cake. She stated I did not ruin her wedding. I have not as of yet responded. I do not have ANY money to pay her back. So my question is, how should I respond and what is my legal obligation ? Please help, please.
I love a challange
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I love a challange
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post #2 of 30
Pay her back. Honestly I think she was being nice when she said you didn't ruin her wedding DAY. But you did ruin her cake. The accident was on your hands. Id just pay up. Honestly its much easier than do free cakes for the next five years.
24 years old, Mom to no one and damn proud of it lol. 
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24 years old, Mom to no one and damn proud of it lol. 
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post #3 of 30
I believe you do owe her a refund. Maybe not a full refund but a refund non the less. The Bride did not receive the cake she ordered and paid for. She got sheet cakes made by a grocery store and what was salvaged from her original cake. A refund should be given. You probably are in breech of contract because they didn't get what they ordered or expected. I think this is a lesson learned and you have to bite the bullet and refund her money. I know it sucks, but it's part of doing business. I believe from a legal stand point you are responsible, I know you didn't do it on purpose but refund her money and apologize. It is good business. Sorry this happened to you, it could happen to anyone. Try to think of it from their view, it if happened to you how would you like it to be handled?

Hope that helps, I know it's not what you wanted to hear. But it's the right thing to do.

Good Luck

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #4 of 30
I'm sorry, no contract but you've been in "business" 12 years? That doesn't compute with me. But I would refund entire amount. You didn't provide what you promised. Wasn't an act of God either, more likely faulty construction, careless driving, whatever. Of course you didn't do it on purpose, who would...but it is what it is.
"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
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post #5 of 30
Even though you didn't have written contract, you had a verbal one and in some states that's just as binding. Granted, she had cake for her guests. However, that's not usually the main point of the wedding cake.

Word of mouth is the main thing here - - what do you want her to be telling everyone, including future customers? I agree with ladylibra - - suck it up and refund her money. And tell her immediately that you're going to do that within the next 30 or 60 days.
post #6 of 30
Sorry this happened . But like everyone has said you owe her her money back . She ordered a custom wedding cake and didn't receive one .

Are you really serious when saying you will make birthday and anniversary cakes for the next 5 yrs. for her and her family ? Some people would be glad to take advantage of this and you would be doing free cakes every week for the next 5 years. I don't think you would really want that?

The bride was very gracious in saying that you didn't ruin her wedding day . I agree running out and buying cake was the the thing to do . But you still owe her for her wedding cake .

As others have said word of mouth . You want her to say that her cake was destroyed in transit. That you refunded her money and ran out to buy more cake .

You don't want her to tell people she gave you XXX amount of money to make her wedding cake and you delivered a disaster .
post #7 of 30
If you have liability insurace you can claim it as a loss. I would refund the money. You didnt deliver the cake as ordered. Certainly a tough day for you I would have been very upset too. But it happens to all of us at some point. (even the big guys!) The more imortant question is what went wrong so you know not to do that again.
No Cake is too pretty to eat!

Paula M Surrette
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No Cake is too pretty to eat!

Paula M Surrette
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post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
ARRRRGGGG. thanks for the advice.
I love a challange
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I love a challange
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post #9 of 30
Well, you may not have had a written contract for the original cake, BUT you do have a written contract now---to do her "anniversary and birthdays for them and thier family members for free for the next 5 years"........and if she kept that note, she can try to hold you to it. It would likely hold up in court, too.

It has to be cheaper to give her a refund than to complete an open-ended number of cakes from now until 2017..................

Sadly, what happened is the cost of doing business. You're essentially self-insured and a claim has been made on your "policy".

Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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post #10 of 30
PLEASE write her another letter. MAKE SURE you thank her for refusing your offer of free cakes and let her know that you'll be happy to refund the full amount she paid. Give her a date (say, within 30 days) and stick to it. Make sure you get a receipt when you pay up. Ye gods! FREE CAKE?! You really must have been distraught! Clearly you weren't thinking straight!! FREE CAKE!?!?!!!
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlachef

I offered to make their anniversary and birthdays for them and thier family members for free for the next 5 years. The Bride wrote me back saying that I did'nt ruin their wedding that they had a beautiful time anyway. She also thanked me for offering to do the additional cakes but that she felt that she should get a refund instead.



If you looked at it from the bride's point of view, you'd expect a refund a.s.a.p. to compensate for THIS transaction. Even if you put a maximum value on future orders she could receive, she doesn't have a guarantee that she'll receive anything as you could potentially be out of business tomorrow. If you experience another "incident" with a future free cake, she wouldn't expect you to extend the free cake offer for another 5 years, and so on, she'd expect THAT transaction to be righted immediately.
post #12 of 30
I had this exact same thing happen to me last summer. I was fortunate to find a real bakery who supplied a delicious cake but I paid for all of it AND refunded their money. They were quite gracious and I was a blithering mess. There's nothing quite as devastating. However I doubt if you ruined her DAY. A wedding is more than cake, people! Just because we're involved in the cake process doesn't mean the whole wedding revolves around it!

So take a deep breath and cough up the cash, but write her a note first thanking her for understanding and that since you will be refunding her money, your offer of free cakes for the next five years (an outrageous offer that I'm sure was made out of emotion and guilt) will be null and void.

I do feel your pain! icon_cry.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 #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlachef

I do not have ANY money to pay her back. So my question is, how should I respond and what is my legal obligation ? Please help, please.



If you do not have ANY money to pay her back, borrow it. Return 100% of her wedding cake costs within 30 days.

Do as a few other posts have indicated, immediately write a letter and KEEP A COPY that says: Per your request, my offer to make free cakes for you and your family members for 5 years is hereby rescinded. A full refund in the amount of $xxx for your wedding cake will be sent to you by mail within 30 days of the date of this letter."

I'd suggest you do a re-think of your business practices. You have been very lucky for 12 years.
post #14 of 30
Full refund. The check should have been given to her at the site. No letters, just the refund. An anniversary cake would be in order too.

You are lucky that she is not suing you. There are damages above and beyond the cost of the cake for a wedding. The photos are ruined, the center of the wedding decor is missing, and who knows what was available for a replacement. Certainly not what the bride had planned and verbally contracted. A judge would be very displeased with you if your defense was no written contract. By the way, an exchange of money for goods is a contractual agreement. The best you can do is mitigate damages and make sure the guests were fed.

For those on tight budgets, it's a good idea not to spend the money for a cake until it is delivered and you have feedback from the bride.

For those of you who do not give full refunds, I'm sure other bakers in your area appreciate the the future business. And the bride will never ever ( like 10 years later) quit telling the story of how you ruined her wedding and didn't give a refund. You will lose that money many times over in your career from that one incident. Conversely, correcting a situation to a client's satisfaction will usually give you positive feedback in a bad situation. It has been proven in marketing scenarios.
post #15 of 30
I am confused about you not having money to pay her back...
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