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customer demanding refund & compensation or court action

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

hi there, we made a wedding cake for a couple. we delivered it a day (at 9pm) before the delivery date to the venue and were told by them that the cake would not need to be moved as they had no other events on.

 

the next day we get a call from the bride saying she is really peed off that we delivered it a day early and not informed her, she said the cake was damaged an said i had an hour to rectify it.

 

i phoned the venue to ask if the cake was damaged and the let it slip that they did move it, stored it in a warm dry store, and then had to move it to show her the cake; the cake was pretty heavy but was supported very well using around 10 8mm dowel for each tier. 

 

she stated to me that she didn't want it on display and that she threw it away, but then she has left a negative review on a website stating "we couldn't bring ourselves round to cutting it in front of our guests"

 

i have stated to her a few times that she needs to return some of the cake to test the consistency to determine whether or not i was at fault or it was the the venue for moving, misplacement and storage, the venue have now said that they didn't accept responsibility of the cake yet they were happy to move it round?

 

we need any help as we got a letter saying she wants to take us to court, as a person and not a company.

 

the cake was simply bulging from the sides, it looks like it was placed hard on the side. 

 

should her complaint be with me or the venue?

 

she wants a refund under the sale of goods act, yet she has no product to return.

 

any advice is appreciated.

post #2 of 29

do you  have any pictures of the cake before or after?

 

Do you have liability insurance? I don't know how she could sue you as an individual when you were acting as a business...that just doesn't make sense. This would be a question for an attorney, IMO. People can sue for whatever they want....whether they can prove their case determines the outcome.

post #3 of 29

Was there a signed contract under the name of your cake business?  If there was..then she surely can't sue you in your personal name but in the name of the business (I would assume!)

 

In your contract (if you had one)  is there a clause about the cake being the client's responsibility after delivery?

 

Did you take photos of the cake once you did delivered it? Do you have any photos of the cake after whatever happened to it?

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

yes i have photos, she signed a contract and terms and conditions under the company she also has a receipt under the company.

 

the venue made a verbal agreement to accept the cake

post #5 of 29
Why so early? I'd be peeved that my wedding cake sat out exposed to God only knows what, too.
post #6 of 29
Unless it was advised against, signed off on, and ther ewas truly no avoiding it.
post #7 of 29

can you post the pics so some of the wedding cake decorators can look at it? Did it fall over or just bulge?

 

EDIT: and I don't mean "just" bulge as if bulging isn't a big deal


Edited by BatterUpCake - 8/31/13 at 6:33am
post #8 of 29

Did the bride know ahead of time that the cake would be delivered a day early?  If I ever have to deliver a cake early, I make the customer aware of it right off the bat.  Honestly, I would be really ticked if you delivered my wedding cake a day early without my knowledge.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumbboy View Post


we need any help as we got a letter saying she wants to take us to court, as a person and not a company.

What type of business do you have? Not all business forms offer limited liability, so it's entirely possible that she could sue you personally, depending on how your shop is set up. For example, if it's an LLC or a corporation, you're probably shielded. If it's just a partnership or sole proprietorship--or if you haven't formally done any business formation--you're personally at risk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumbboy View Post


should her complaint be with me or the venue?

Just from what you've said, I see potential claims against both. She may be able to pursue either of you based on a theory of general negligence, at the least. Depending on the contents of the various contracts, there may also be valid breach of contract claims.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumbboy View Post

she wants a refund under the sale of goods act, yet she has no product to return.

Are you referring to the UCC? A customer does not necessarily have to return the goods to obtain a refund under the UCC--especially in cases involving perishable goods.

It sounds like maybe you delivered the cake too early. I'd suggest you offer the bride a substantial refund and see where that gets you.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by erin2345 View Post

Did the bride know ahead of time that the cake would be delivered a day early?  If I ever have to deliver a cake early, I make the customer aware of it right off the bat.  Honestly, I would be really ticked if you delivered my wedding cake a day early without my knowledge.

Agreed. If the cake was delivered the day before the agreed-upon delivery date and the customer did not sign off on this, the customer deserves a full refund and an apology. Don't forget to have the customer sign a statement indicating that the matter is resolved once you issue the refund.
post #11 of 29

If you're from the UK, the Sale of Goods Act (from Which? website)

 

Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

Fit for purpose means both their everyday purpose, and also any specific purpose that you agreed with the seller (for example, if you specifically asked for a printer that would be compatible with your computer)

 

 

 

I think you need to get some professional legal advice.  If you delivered it earlier than your order form/contract stated, you may have some liability.  However, the venue also sounds like they may have liability, too, if they damaged it.

 

It's a tough one!!

 

I always leave delivering a cake as late as possible - I worry that if a wedding cake is set up mid-morning for a late afternoon wedding, there's more chance of it getting knocked or bumped into.  If I did have to leave it a day early for any reason, I'd have done so in a suitable box.  However, her saying that she didn't want it on display makes no sense...  she paid out for a wedding cake that was staying in the kitchen to be cut up?  No, I don't think so!!!

 

I hope you get this sorted out.  Please keep us updated.

 

Suzanne x

Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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post #12 of 29

Oh my goodness. 

Unless it was agreed upon that you deliver the cake a day early, this is on you. I'm not sure what the venue would be responsible for in a legal setting, but morally, if that cake was out of your hands and control 24 HOURS before it was supposed to be, I would be refunding fully and learning a big lesson. 

 

A venue isn't going to care about the cake like you would, and how can you expect them to? It isn't their job to store a wedding cake overnight unless both they and the bride agreed to it. IN WRITING. And then there should have been directions to the storage- which you both had a copy of, including signatures. 

 

If we are all mistaken and this was agreed to, then the venue does have some culpability, and I apologize for my assumptions. But even then, it is up to us, the experts to know what is best for the cake. 

life is short, get a cakesafe.
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life is short, get a cakesafe.
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post #13 of 29

Hi Thumboy, I feel for you the situation you're in. You delivered a perfect wedding cake the night before it was due (9pm the night before the wedding would be no problem to me as long as the cake was covered in cellophane). The cake was mis-handled at the venue and it seems this is where the damage was done.

 

While it's not much use to you now, one rule of thumb I've always stuck by is to photograph the cake at the venue before I leave.  Then you have proof that your cake was delivered in perfect condition.

 

The other rule of thumb I have is to keep customers happy in so far as I can since weddings are such a word of mouth business and bad PR is something you want to avoid at all costs, even if it means giving in occasionally to unreasonable customers.

 

This lady clearly has a right to be annoyed if her cake was damaged, but I would have refunded her and then sorted it out with the venue. If the damage was caused by them I would have explained that you had to refund the customer in full and lost a chunk of your week's wages as a result. If there was any decency on behalf of the management they would have offered to make it up to you in future referrals.  If they didn't budge at all, you could let them know that it wouldn't serve their reputation well if it was known that wedding cakes delivered to their premises were damaged and handled recklessly by their staff, leaving customers out of pocket. 

 

The moral of the story is to try and resolve the situation (even where you've done your best) without a customer getting so angry they start spewing online.  I hope you get this sorted out, good luck.

post #14 of 29

As I said I do not do wedding cake but this applies to any cake. I carry insurance that covers anything like this. If my product fails because of negligence by me (delivering early or structural problems) then they would cover it. It only costs $35 a month and is well worth it. I just pray I never have to use it....

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake View Post

As I said I do not do wedding cake but this applies to any cake. I carry insurance that covers anything like this. If my product fails because of negligence by me (delivering early or structural problems) then they would cover it. It only costs $35 a month and is well worth it. I just pray I never have to use it....

Are you talking about business liability insurance? If so, you probably wouldn't want to make a claim for an issue like this where you would only be out the cost of the cake.
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