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Returns...

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Just wondering if anyone has had problems with anyone trying to get their money back for any reason or trying to make you do something or to get something they shouldn't just because it isn't stated in writing even though it's implied.
Just curious
post #2 of 89

The law won't protect you if it's implied. You're leaving it in the hands of a judge who knows nothing about your character or profession, and will be hearing from people who have no problem lying to get a few bucks... I'm not that trusting!! icon_biggrin.gif

I have an iron clad contract, my dad is an attorney, so he helped me write it with every scenario we could think of...and can change if specific instances arise in the future. I only do this VERY part-time ...a cake or 2 a month, but I wanted to be covered in case Sue-Happy-Sandy decided to cause trouble.

It states the only reason for a refund is if the cake isn't ready or delivered at the specified time. Any other reason, it may be a credit towards another cake, but it specifically states that flavor and texture are subjective and not issue for refund. If they accept and keep the cake, no refund, no credit. If they decide to return the cake and it doesn't meet MY (and SOLELY MY) standards, a credit may be issued. I didn't want any wiggle room for implications or gray areas. A date isn't booked until I have a signed contract and full payment.

 

It may sound harsh, but growing up hearing how people take advantage of others, I made my contract before my pricing menu!!

 

Protect yourself, unfortunately, there are people who are looking for ways to exploit anyone who doesn't have themselves protected. Spell it out exactly so there is no question, it's not a fun thing to write but it'll save you an even bigger headache later on. If you hand them a contract and they balk, walk away!!

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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post #3 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixinarow View Post

The law won't protect you if it's implied. You're leaving it in the hands of a judge who knows nothing about your character or profession, and will be hearing from people who have no problem lying to get a few bucks... I'm not that trusting!! icon_biggrin.gif

I have an iron clad contract, my dad is an attorney, so he helped me write it with every scenario we could think of...and can change if specific instances arise in the future. I only do this VERY part-time ...a cake or 2 a month, but I wanted to be covered in case Sue-Happy-Sandy decided to cause trouble.

It states the only reason for a refund is if the cake isn't ready or delivered at the specified time. Any other reason, it may be a credit towards another cake, but it specifically states that flavor and texture are subjective and not issue for refund. If they accept and keep the cake, no refund, no credit. If they decide to return the cake and it doesn't meet MY (and SOLELY MY) standards, a credit may be issued. I didn't want any wiggle room for implications or gray areas. A date isn't booked until I have a signed contract and full payment.

 

It may sound harsh, but growing up hearing how people take advantage of others, I made my contract before my pricing menu!!

 

Protect yourself, unfortunately, there are people who are looking for ways to exploit anyone who doesn't have themselves protected. Spell it out exactly so there is no question, it's not a fun thing to write but it'll save you an even bigger headache later on. If you hand them a contract and they balk, walk away!!


That's not harsh at all. I was thinking the same thing. It aggravates me when people have to try to take advantage of people and situations. I'm not giving store credit at all, and no refunds unless for some reason i can't go through with something or a customer cancels before I've made the order. all other reasons are not reasons for a refund.

post #4 of 89

I saw a huge increase in the last year of people trying to get money back for no reason. Not just with me, but with friends who are in other areas of the wedding industry, or other bakers in different parts of the country. People have started trying to get refunds as a cost-cutting measure, or so it seems. Pay too much in the first place, then complain to get maney back after the fact.

post #5 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

I saw a huge increase in the last year of people trying to get money back for no reason. Not just with me, but with friends who are in other areas of the wedding industry, or other bakers in different parts of the country. People have started trying to get refunds as a cost-cutting measure, or so it seems. Pay too much in the first place, then complain to get maney back after the fact.
It needs to put in the policy/ contracts that there will be no refunds for any reason unless like I've said we can't for whatever reason come through with the order. If people don't want to pay the price for things they shouldn't buy it but people always want something for nothing.
post #6 of 89

I also use an iron clad contract, some of the best money I've ever spent was getting my contracts written by a lawyer.
Since I have started using that, I haven't had a single person try to pull the refund stunt, (knock on wood!)

 

Most of my orders are large as well, I really don't get many birthday cake type orders, I think that makes a big difference. Reading on the forums here, it seems like it's the smaller cakes that usually get that kind of nonsense.

 

I've only ever had two people want money back, before I used a contract. One lady ordered too much cake and tried to return the bottom tier, thinking I could resell it, she was really sweet, just not too brainy :P

The other kept changing her mind as to why she deserved a refund, I wasn't very experienced at running a business at the time and let her walk all over me, ended up giving her 50% back.

post #7 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes View Post

 

The other kept changing her mind as to why she deserved a refund, I wasn't very experienced at running a business at the time and let her walk all over me, ended up giving her 50% back.

Oh lordy...I call that the roaming complaint. It keeps changing until you cave and give them money back.

 

I don't know if putting something about no refunds for any reason would be legal. You can always refuse to work with someone if they seem like they're going to be a problem, but if someone says that you sold them a burnt cake I doubt that you could point to the contract that says that texture is subjective and have that hold up.

 

I've also found that the smaller cakes come with the biggest headaches. The first birthday people are the craziest, brides have nothing on them.

post #8 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

Oh lordy...I call that the roaming complaint. It keeps changing until you cave and give them money back.

 

I don't know if putting something about no refunds for any reason would be legal. You can always refuse to work with someone if they seem like they're going to be a problem, but if someone says that you sold them a burnt cake I doubt that you could point to the contract that says that texture is subjective and have that hold up.

 

I've also found that the smaller cakes come with the biggest headaches. The first birthday people are the craziest, brides have nothing on them.

It IS completely binding and legal! icon_biggrin.gif  I have the taste/texture clause in my contract as well as outlining the only reason for a refund is not having the cake ready for pick-up/delivery. Fortunately, we have 5 lawyers in my immediate family, so seeking legal advise is easy (and sometimes not always wanted). If you sign the contract, it is binding and 99.9% of times, that alone is enough to keep someone from attempting to sue. The other .1% is just sue-crazy anyway, but those people aren't going to want to do business with someone who presents them a legal contract. 

If you're a professional, you're not going to be selling a burnt cake and if you do, they have to bring you the remainder for your examination and compensation in the form of another cake is written into the contract.

Legal hat off...icon_smile.gif

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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post #9 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixinarow View Post

It IS completely binding and legal! icon_biggrin.gif
  I have the taste/texture clause in my contract as well as outlining the only reason for a refund is not having the cake ready for pick-up/delivery. Fortunately, we have 5 lawyers in my immediate family, so seeking legal advise is easy (and sometimes not always wanted). If you sign the contract, it is binding and 99.9% of times, that alone is enough to keep someone from attempting to sue. The other .1% is just sue-crazy anyway, but those people aren't going to want to do business with someone who presents them a legal contract. 
If you're a professional, you're not going to be selling a burnt cake and if you do, they have to bring you the remainder for your examination and compensation in the form of another cake is written into the contract.
Legal hat off...icon_smile.gif

Interesting, but I do know people here who have sold burned cakes, so if they got sued (and they should, they're jerks) I would hope a contract that said texture is subjective would be thrown out by any judge who had a brain.

On the other hand, that kind of thing would eliminate one of the roaming complaints that people throw out to try to get you to give them a refund. Although the one time I had a real psycho to deal with she said "the contract doesn't matter" then disputed the credit card payment.
post #10 of 89
Thread Starter 
Exactly why I started this thread, I knew there are people out there that would try to get a refund for any reason even if there is a contract. I agree with sixinarow that good bakers won't sell a burnt cake. I'm going to be selling large orders of cupcakes so I should probably have a contract or something. I'm not going to allow people to pay the full amount on a credit card so they wouldn't get all their money back anyway if they tried disputing it but I guess if people can get any amount back they will try.
post #11 of 89
Disputing a credit card bill is an easy way for customers to get their money back if they aren't satisfied with a purchase. It would be pretty difficult for a vendor to adequately refute a customer's claim that their cake was dry, didn't taste good, etc. If they lose the dispute, the vendor's only recourse is small claims court and collections, and for a small debt it may not be worth it.
post #12 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

Disputing a credit card bill is an easy way for customers to get their money back if they aren't satisfied with a purchase. It would be pretty difficult for a vendor to adequately refute a customer's claim that their cake was dry, didn't taste good, etc. If they lose the dispute, the vendor's only recourse is small claims court and collections, and for a small debt it may not be worth it.
Someone needs to come up with a way to stop people from filing bogus claims like this. Not sure how credit card companies could stop/ limit this aside from asking for more proof in someway. Maybe there could be stipulations, like the customer having to return the cake uneaten except for a few taste bites. Or excluding reasons for disputing food items.
post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakerBee7468 View Post

Someone needs to come up with a way to stop people from filing bogus claims like this. Not sure how credit card companies could stop/ limit this aside from asking for more proof in someway. Maybe there could be stipulations, like the customer having to return the cake uneaten except for a few taste bites. Or excluding reasons for disputing food items.

I know that one of my friends was dealing with a client who gushed about how great the cake was, then turned around and disputed the paypal claim for no reason. Of course she wouldn't answer emails about it, so my friend was left to deal with paypal. After a few days of back and forth she got a guy who basically told her that because the complaints about a cake are subjective they just have to side with the customer most of the time, and the only way to protect yourself against that kind of thing was to take cash only.

Having said that, I saw one person's website somewhere recently that said that if someone disputed a credit crd payment for false reasons they would turn the amount over to a debt collection agency immediately and it would affect the customer's credit rating. I forget who had that on their site but I was intrigued...
post #14 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakerBee7468 View Post

Someone needs to come up with a way to stop people from filing bogus claims like this. Not sure how credit card companies could stop/ limit this aside from asking for more proof in someway. Maybe there could be stipulations, like the customer having to return the cake uneaten except for a few taste bites. Or excluding reasons for disputing food items.

The profitability of credit card companies is tied directly to how many customers use their card and how much they charge to it, so adding restrictions to the dispute policy would not be in their best interest. Requiring the cake to be returned uneaten also may not make sense from the customer's perspective for a subjective issue...if a customer's wedding cake's taste or texture was not up to the standards they expected, most people wouldn't tell the venue to hold back what is likely the only dessert unless the cake actually was inedible instead of just mediocre. There are also logistical issues like where the uneaten cake will be stored until it is returned to the vendor.

As costumeczar mentioned, the best way to avoid this is to not accept credit cards or paypal in the first place. It is still possible for customers to stop payments on personal checks but this is not free and it generally requires more effort. Even better than this is having a strong competitive advantage so customers will want to maintain a good business relationship with you for future orders.

Regarding sending unpaid accounts to collections, you don't need a specific disclaimer to do this. If a customer does not pay what they owe (whether they didn't pay at all or paid and then took it back) and does not attempt to work out a resolution with you, you automatically have the legal right to collect that debt on your own or via a collection agency. It can't hurt to include this on the contract, as customers may be under the impression that a credit card dispute also cancels the underlying debt.

The relevant law that outlines how you can attempt to collect debt is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), violating FDCPA rules can lead to lawsuits and fines/penalties.
http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/tp/fdcpa-violations.htm
Edited by jason_kraft - 5/26/13 at 11:10am
post #15 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


The profitability of credit card companies is tied directly to how many customers use their card and how much they charge to it, so adding restrictions to the dispute policy would not be in their best interest. Requiring the cake to be returned uneaten also may not make sense from the customer's perspective for a subjective issue...if a customer's wedding cake's taste or texture was not up to the standards they expected, most people wouldn't tell the venue to hold back what is likely the only dessert unless the cake actually was inedible instead of just mediocre. There are also logistical issues like where the uneaten cake will be stored until it is returned to the vendor.

As costumeczar mentioned, the best way to avoid this is to not accept credit cards or paypal in the first place. It is still possible for customers to stop payments on personal checks but this is not free and it generally requires more effort. Even better than this is having a strong competitive advantage so customers will want to maintain a good business relationship with you for future orders.

Regarding sending unpaid accounts to collections, you don't need a specific disclaimer to do this. If a customer does not pay what they owe (whether they didn't pay at all or paid and then took it back) and does not attempt to work out a resolution with you, you automatically have the legal right to collect that debt on your own or via a collection agency. It can't hurt to include this on the contract, as customers may be under the impression that a credit card dispute also cancels the underlying debt.

The relevant law that outlines how you can attempt to collect debt is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), violating FDCPA rules can lead to lawsuits and fines/penalties.
http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/tp/fdcpa-violations.htm

Great information to have and hold on to, thanks Jason!

costumeczar is right about the roaming complaints, I tried to do everything I could in the contract sense to prevent as many as possible. I can't control how other people run their business or the quality of their products and if there is a dispute over a burnt cake, that would probably take mediation in some form or other to work out...hopefully with the burnt cake baker being out some moolah. Now, if it would hold up in my favor in a court of law with who-knows-what-judge hearing the case, is another story. Justice is only as blind as the judge who reigns over the scales, so there's always a chance things will not go your way with the legal system. No contract is 100% guaranteed, in favor of vendor or client, iron-clad is a reference to the contract being without reproach, everything laid out is legal and it would not be easily thrown out in court. I do feel a solid contract will weed out a lot of problems before they gain traction. I think a lot of roaming complainers would probably look at a solid contract and decide to go with someone who didn't have a detailed contract so they had a better chance of getting something-for-nothing.

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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