Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Need advice. I've been running my little cake business from my house. Mainly baking for friends. Well I was encouraged to start a Facebook page to sell my cakes so I did. This past weekend I filled an order for a customer. They loved the look of the cake but said it tasted horrible. I did two other cakes with the same mix and the customers said they were wonderful. This customer ordered a 3 tier cake made to look like a Minion with little gum paste minions all over it and 2 dozen cupcakes. I charged her $80 for everything. Usually I try to bake fresh but I knew I had several coming up at once so I had baked a week earlier and frozen these cakes. The cupcakes were baked he night before delivery. It was a heavy cake. When the customer served the cake they said it was wet and tasted nasty then they demanded a full refund. In the meantime the customer's mother-in-law went on Facebook and started ranting about how I over charged her daughter and how white people are like that taking advantage of people all the time etc. it has now become a race issue and I'm being slandered on Facebook. She asked all her friends to comment and said they were going to sue me over all their medical bills. Just as a side note the cake had defrosted for two days before it was assembled so it wasn't frozen and it wasn't wet when it was delivered wet cake cannot stand up to the weight on it and will crumble no matter how much support is inside. Anyway this has become a nightmare for me. She even posted a pic I sent the girl from a week earlier of one of the gum paste minions and comments were made that no wonder the cake was nasty it was started that early. As we all know you can't make gum past decorations overnight and have them dry and hold their shape. All that aside does anyone have any advice for me? I'm so upset about this I'm loosing sleep and have gone so far as to take down my Facebook page.

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Oh, Darlene, sweetie, I am so sorry you are having to deal with this you-owe-me...I-am-intitled, cheapskate!  She just doesn't want to pay for the cake!  Freezing does not hurt cake, in fact, I like to freeze mine for a few days just for the added moisture.  She is really showing her ignorance using a gum paste figure as an example for starting the cake early - idiot.

Personally, I think you should put your page back up and block her and her dear friends from your site.  You might also want to "thoughtfully" (unlike me!) reply to her unfair accusations, but DO NOT refund a penny!  I don't sell cakes, but have heard from lots of bakers who have had the exact same experience.  The customer wants to show off the beautiful custom cake, but doesn't want to pay for it.  I would also report her to the police for the ugly threats.........just in case.

Firstly Darlene
Sorry you've encountered the customer from Hell. #1, you totally undercharged. I just did 24 cupcakes and a small Dino topper, and I charged $80, only because there good neighbours and friends. Would have normally charged about $100-120. There are lessons to be learned here.
I think Sandra is correct, she wants the cake for free. She's using the "race issue" to try and intimidate you, humiliate you into a refund. This seems to be a big trend now. Like buying a dress, wearing to a function, then returning to the store for a full refund. Outrageous! You can't always avoid these types of customers, but I can't stress enough..... Contract.....Contract......Contract!!!!!! You can't run a business without it, saves you a lot of headaches. Everything is spelled out, description of cake, flavour, icing, fondant, delivering, etc., etc. They sign it, also agreeing to a deposit, and final payment a week/few says before pick up or delivery. NO REFUNDS. Unless they have extraordinarily proof of some cake failure. You take pictures before cake leaves your premises, or at set up, so you know cake was 100% perfect. I freeze cakes all the time, doesn't affect the cake one bit. Another piece of advice....DON'T tell your customers you bake and freeze ahead. If there not seasoned bakers, they don't understand. They think....yuk, frozen cake....WalMart. But of course, that's not the case at all.
If this cake was "wet", I would have demanded they bring it back as proof. That's not likely, because I'm pretty sure she's lying. I also agree with Sandra to put your FB page back up, but block her and her friends. Make your page "private" to only selected friends and family. If customers want to contact you, put necessary info in. Also contact FB Admin, tell them your being harassed. They will deal with them.
This is cold comfort now, Darlene. But I believe every experience teaches us something. Hard lesson you've learned, but now you can be prepared to handle this type of situation again, if happens. But having a contract will stop most customers in there tracks. You just show them what they've signed, no arguments. If you've done your best, turned out a good product, you have to ignore any negative feedback. Cause there's always difficult people/customers out there.
Look at it this way, if you survived this, you can survive anything!! Hold your head up Darlene...don't let this one nasty incident destroy your business , you're joy, you're enthusiasm for cake decorating.

Oh goodness Darlene what a nightmare of a customer.   So sorry you have had to deal with this "little darling"   First thing I would do is bring my facebook back up.  Don't let them win that round.  You can change your settings that will limit what people can post to your page.  Any nasty comment, delete & block the person.  I would also look into liability insurance for your cake business.  From what I understand, it is not expensive and will give you piece of mind.  Take a good look at your pricing structure, figure out all the costs involved, boards, eggs, flour, extracts, sugar, oil, utilities, your time (shopping, cleaning, baking & decorating) then charge accordingly.  Once you start charging what you are actually worth, it will weed out some of these customers.  Although I don't sell my cakes, I have read enough in blogs & cake sites from those that do, this is exactly what they all say.  Best of luck to you.

Darlene, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with "the customer from HELL". There's always a few out there that want something for nothing or at least a lower price. Unfortunately there are also those that like to play the "race card" in our world today, they enjoy making it
an issue where there is none. She showed her true self by doing so. You have received some good advice here and I don't have anything new to add, just don't let it get you down, you do beautiful work.

Ladies, thank you all so much for your kinds words and great advice.  I don't know about my Facebook page, everyone says put it back up, but I'm still stinging from all this and am not ready to deal with it yet.  I have some orders that I am obligated to fill, although at this point if I could, I would probably cancel them.  I have gotten advice from an attorney and from my Pastor.  They both say give her a refund and be done with it.  Although my attorney says to have her sign a statement saying she will take everything down and if she doesn't do it, then I have legal recourse against her.  Not that it would do any good, she's that type of person.  Does anyone have a contract form that they would be willing to share?  I'm sharing a pick of the cake.

Cake looks cute Darlene. You did a great job.
I'm a Christian, and I have to respectfully disagree with your Pastor, and legal counsel. Why would you give her a refund?? You didn't do anything wrong?? She has absolutely no proof, and she's just used social media to bully and browbeat you. Why does your lawyer think she will sign such a statement?? I have serious doubts about that!!! My concern is that if this woman/customer gets away with this intimidation, she'll surely tell others. Then you might get more of these types of customers. I'd wait several weeks to put your FB page back up. By then, she knows she's not getting anywhere, re: her refund. You can remove all and any comments yourself from your page, and totally block her. I've got my FB personal & cake page set up so only the friends and family I want can see or comment.
As far as contracts. There's 2 sites Darlene. wicked goodies.com. I pretty sure she has basic contracts on her site. And cakeboss.com, (not the baker), this is a software site for cake decorators. I believe there's a contract on there as well. And if Cake Boss doesn't have one, think they could direct you. I'm also sure if you Google: free cake decorating contracts, something will come up to suit your needs.
Of course Darlene, regardless of the advice we've given, you must do what's best for yourself. But I hate to see you defeated by someone so unscrupulous. Give yourself some time before you decide. Time has a way of healing and making our thoughts and decisions clear.

I'm inclined to agree with June about the refund.  I worked in a call center for inbound calls and had to deal with a number of customers like this.  What I found is that if you give in and refund without merit it just creates problems.  Not only will this person do it over & over again because she got away with it but she will definitely tell others who will do the same.  I know that you just want this to all go away and I can certainly understand that.  In the end, you need to do what you think is right.  

Darlene, your Minion cake is adorable!  If it were wet, it would be sagging and I do not see that happening.  I agree with June and Goreti 100% regarding a refund.  This cake was worth more than she paid in the first place.  Had there truly been a problem with the cake, I feel sure she would have brought it back so you could see the problem.  Instead, she enjoyed the bragging rights of a lovely, custom cake and, more than likely, every crumb was eaten. You have already given her more value than she purchased!

I know you are hurt.  Just reading this makes me feel violated, so I can only imagine how you feel.  It is sickening for her to pull the "race" card just because she is a scam artist.  She is the racist and probably pulls this on people all the time.  The sad part is that we let people like her get away with it.  It must stop!  She is not worthy to take away your dream.  Give yourself time, but do not let this nasty, despicable individual deprive you of your business.  

Darlene, I'm a bit late to the party here and you have already had good advice.  However, I do want to add my ten pennyworth to this.  I agree with all that has been said.  Your cake is good, your client is a bitch (excuse my french!).  I can already see the type of person she is in my mind's eye.  DO NOT refund her anything - firstly you way undercharged, secondly refunding is an admission of guilt.  You are guilty of nothing.  If she is playing the race card, then seems to me you actually have a case against her for racial discrimination - she is accusing you of acting badly against her because you are white.  This race nonsense has to work both ways (except of course we know it doesn't!).  Personally, I'd like to slap her for you.  Head up girl and carry on.

Sad to say, I caved and gave her a refund.  My Pastor says that I'll be rewarded for doing what is right.  Somehow I just don't feel like it was the right thing to do.  HOWEVER, she did sign a statement and it was notarized, so now I have legal recourse if necessary.  I work in the legal field (along with doing cakes on the side) and made her come to my office to get her dirty money.  One of my co-workers handled everything for me (she gets cake discounts LOL), so she knows I wasn't joking about legal action.  What she doesn't know is that I've been in the legal profession for over 30 years and know quite a few lawyers and all of the judges in this county, so I think I'm one up on her.  Anyway, hard lesson learned, hopefully it won't happen again.  thank you all for your support!!

Sad indeed, but I understand that you just want it done with and move on.  I hope you made the payment ex gratia, with no admission of guilt.

Agreed Katy. I hope there was a clause stating you were refunding under duress, and not admitting guilt. I understand you wanting this over and done with.

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