What would YOU have done?

(125 Posts)
Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:07:08

Am I being unreasonable...?

It was my son's 12th birthday on Tuesday. He doesn't "do" parties (last one was aged 9 and the only kid not featuring in the photos, was him). He has high functioning autism and OCD. He has been really, really ill for the past 18 months+ and so, because we couldnt do a party at home, we decided to ask his school if we could take a birthday cake in, so he'd have the experience of his peers singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles. Nice surprise!

Instead of getting it from a supermarket and to celebrate that he WANTED to celebrate this year, we ordered a special cake from a local professional cake maker. It cost £50 which I thought very reasonable. This lady has a business and a website and came highly recommended.

I collected the cake. It was in a tatty sort of "tray" ... One of those you'd see yogurts stacked on at a supermarket, with a load of cling film around it. She apologised for the lack of a cake box, she didn't have any "in stock".

So, I take the cake to school and inform them to be careful, the packaging was flimsy; I'd almost dropped the bloody thing, getting it out of the car.

Twenty minutes later, the teacher rings... "Erm, do you know it says "Happy Birthday JAMES" on it? My son is not called James. The only thing we could do was take the James off and hope he didn't notice. Either that, or no cake, no surprise. Just another "day at school".

I contacted the cake maker. She was mortified. Said "I have no idea why I put JAMES on it when the order clearly says XXXXXXXX". I said "well never mind but, perhaps some sort of refund might be in order?" She agreed and we parted with her jokingly saying "good job he didn't notice!"

Yesterday, I came home to a card posted through my door with £5 in it.

My DH was fuming. I laughed it off and said "we'll, that's an insult and we won't go there again!" I think, in view of our ordering a personalised cake and it having the wrong person's name on it, that at least 25% of the cost should have been returned.

AIBU? What would you have done/expect?

I would have expected a total refund to be honest. Seriusly, a card with £5 is a joke......£50 for a cake with the wrong bloody name on it......come on, get some balls (meant in the nicest possible way) and ask her for a full refund.

Oldladypillow Thu 29-Nov-12 10:09:39

Yanbu. About the box and the name. Stand your ground and ask for more back and if she says no threaten trading standards

WandaDoff Thu 29-Nov-12 10:10:29

She's taking the piss.

decktheballs Thu 29-Nov-12 10:10:30

I would have expected 50% of the cost at least. Is there anything you can do?

KenLeeeeeee Thu 29-Nov-12 10:10:51

That is terrible. I too would have insisted on a full refund. £5 in a card shoved through the door is a joke.

IceNoSlice Thu 29-Nov-12 10:13:40

YANBU that's dreadful!

But did your DS enjoy the surprise?

pictish Thu 29-Nov-12 10:15:53

Full refund yup.

It's the wrong name, so it's null and void.
What a chancey twit she is!!

Money back now thank you.

Blueschool Thu 29-Nov-12 10:18:07

Ask for a full refund as not fit for purpose.

Keep the card as its evidence she has admitted to fault.

Nancy66 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:18:49

nowhere near good enough.

She didn't deliver the service she agreed to and has admitted this.

ellargh Thu 29-Nov-12 10:20:44

I would have expected at least a 50% refund. £5 is a joke, like the cake.

SugaricePlumFairy Thu 29-Nov-12 10:20:59

Well shock she is one cheeky cake maker, what is it with cake makers [peppa pig cake anyone wink].

Call her and say you were surprised by the shite refund and expected at least 50% back.

If she's arsey say you'll name and shame on here grin

mrskeithrichards Thu 29-Nov-12 10:21:48

At least 50% refund. What an arsehole. Is she one of these Muppets with a mixer and a Facebook page who calls herself a cupcake business?

Hmm. Cake makers often have a Facebook page...

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 10:25:20

That's awful! Yes I would expect a bigger refund and for her to have been way more apologetic.

Threaten to post your story on www.cakewrecks.com (and have a read anyway to cheer yourself up and reassure yourself that it could have been worse! grin)

ArtfulAardvark Thu 29-Nov-12 10:29:31

That is shocking, seriously she thought £5 was an acceptable refund, I would have expected a minimum of £25 back.

If it were my business I would probably give you a full refund appreciating how upsetting this was for you and your child.

Dead69Girl Thu 29-Nov-12 10:32:27

name and shame, smile

thats awful op did your son notice? hope he had a nice b-day anyway smile

i would ask for it all back! will make sure she doesnt make stupid mistakes again

DameEnidsOrange Thu 29-Nov-12 10:35:19

£5 refund is an insult - should have been at least half if not all

Cherylkerl Thu 29-Nov-12 10:46:05

Full refund definitely! An error like that renders the cake not entirely fit for purpose. Yes it's still a cake and can be eaten but not enjoyed in the way you expected to.

That's really really bad business to drop a clanger like that and to then not hold your hands up and say 'my mistake' and fully refund you a) to go some way to making it up and b) minimise the negative impact for her. ('She cocked up the cake and I still had to pay' vs 'She cocked up the cake but I did get a refund'...)

Hope he had a lovely day in the end and I'm happy for you that your boy wanted to celebrate. I think you deserve a lovely cake to celebrate that smile

RedToothbrush Thu 29-Nov-12 10:51:46

Bespoke product that was unsuitable for occasion and unfit for purpose. She admitted mistake. You couldn't return goods and she would not have been able to reuse cake.

She should give a full refund.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:54:20

God... Didn't expect such a unanimous response!

Thing is, as you'd expect, the kids snaffled the cake. Job done.

My DH photoshopped the pic of him so, DS has a pic on his iPad and you cannot see the word JAMES in the fondant icing outline where the icing HAD been.

Oh God, I'm going to have to DO something and I HATE confrontation.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:58:04

Oh DS had a lovely day, thanks!

Thing is, the other kids noticed. I feel embarrassed for him.

valiumredhead Thu 29-Nov-12 10:59:14

I would want a full refund.

imogengladhart Thu 29-Nov-12 10:59:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaQueen Thu 29-Nov-12 11:03:41

£50??? And she royally screwed it up, and didn't even provide decent packaging???

Demand a full refund, and make a point of telling everyone and anyone you know what a complete hash she made of it.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:15

To be honest, I posted on here for an opinion because I know that if I spoke to anyone else, they'd KNOW who'd made it. I don't want to ruin the woman's livelihood and she does have testimonials on her site, glowing with praise so, I'm sure it was a one-off mistake but I do feel insulted by her £5 in a card. Perhaps I should have said "I'd like a refund, please". I just assumed under the circumstances, that would happen.

Christ, I hope one of those kids in his class doesn't say anything. DS would be really hurt! sad

RedToothbrush Thu 29-Nov-12 11:27:49

Na not a lawyer, but work in a bespoke industry (printing). Its good practise at the very least in cases like this where there is a clear liability and mistake to give a full refund and I actually think it is backed up in your consumer rights (if anyone wants to go look it up).

Its a hazard of any job where things are personalised/bespoke and people who are in such businesses need to be geared up for doing everything to prevent mistakes like this in the first place. As a printer you would do customer proofs for them to check and sign off for spelling etc so its clear that they take responsibility for mistakes like that. In a similar fashion a cake maker really should have a good order form where personalised names are written on and the customer signs so liability is very clear. Any business that doesn't do this, really is leaving themselves wide open for problems.

If mistakes do occur and they admit full liability, they need to absorb the cost as as a write off. If they have good business sense they will make sure when they price things they have an error of margin to allow for errors/problems/faults; if they don't then that is poor management on their part and you certainly should feel guilty about it.

Complain, you are well within your rights and its a lesson in business that perhaps this woman needs to learn.

RedToothbrush Thu 29-Nov-12 11:31:09
FredFredGeorge Thu 29-Nov-12 11:31:43

YANBU about the cake.

But why did you not get the cake he wanted and celebrate how he wanted?

HipHopToDude Thu 29-Nov-12 11:34:37

I would want a full refund too - once you've dropped it off at the school there is not much you could have done.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 11:35:22

The lady took the order on the phone. But, when I rang her to say what had happened, she was reading from the book and said "it does say XXXXXX so, I really cannot say why I made that mistake".

I was meant to collect it on Monday but she was so busy, she said would I collect it Tuesday morning as she hadn't finished it? Had I collected it Monday, it may have been possible to change.

Also, she apologised for not sending me a confirmation email of the order. Again, she'd been just too busy.

I think this lady, to coin a phrase "makes exceedingly good cakes" and is just very very busy. This time, to the detriment of her previously high standards.

Nancy66 Thu 29-Nov-12 11:46:01

Eliza - you sound very fair.

I know the others are saying a FULL refund but since you did eat the cake, I'm not sure that's reasonable.

The cake maker sounds like a nice woman - just a bit scatty. Why not ring her, say you got the money, thank her for her swift response but say you were a little surprised at the amount and expected something more subsantial.

The order was for a personalised cake. She got the 'personalised' bit completely wrong. That's a big deal.

I think you should hold out for another twenty quid

RedToothbrush Thu 29-Nov-12 11:46:25

So basically the systems in place to stop mistakes were ignored because she was 'too busy' and the agreed delivery date was missed because of it.

NONE of this was YOUR mistake. She has admitted liability. She needs to cough up more than a £5. Simple.

THERhubarb Thu 29-Nov-12 11:47:43

Sorry Eliza but if she carries on like this she won't be in business for long. You cannot, just cannot, fob people off with the "I'm too busy" excuse. She's obviously taken on too much but that is not your fault.

Trust me, you won't be the first if she carries on like this.

I suggest, since you don't like confrontations, that you word an email something along these lines:

Dear xxx
I am emailing about my recent order from you. As you are aware I ordered this to be collected on Monday 26 November but as you had not finished it, we agreed that it would be collected on Tuesday 27 November which unfortunately gave me no time to check the cake.

The cake was not securely presented in a box but in a tray covered in cling film which made transportation very difficult.

Upon delivery to the school, they noticed straight away that the name was wrong. As you will appreciate, it was too late to do anything so the staff had to scrape off the name James and present the cake to my son as it was. Luckily he didn't seem to notice but many of his friends did.

In light of all the above, I do think that £5 is insufficient recompense. I appreciate that you are very busy and that mistakes sometimes do occur, but the standards that I expected from a recommended cake baker and decorator were not present in either the agreed date of collection, the presentation and the final product. Therefore I am very much afraid that I shall have to ask for at least a 50% refund as all of the mistakes resulted in a very stressful and anxious day for us and not the lovely surprise for xxx that we had planned.



Be polite, be reasonable and be fair. List all of the problems and state how this affected and inconvenienced you.

You are not responsible for her business. She is. I am self employed and if I make a mistake, my clients expect me to put it right before they pay me. That may include a full rewrite of a 1,000 article but if that's what I have to do then I just have to lump it. If she can't provide good customer service then her business will soon start to build up bad reviews because not everybody is as nice and forgiving as you.

Dead69Girl Thu 29-Nov-12 11:51:30

OP, i make cakes and im very busy BUT i never make mistakes and if i did i would offer a full refund,

MsPickle Thu 29-Nov-12 11:59:00

Like the suggested wording above but don't say "afraid" say "unfortunately". You're not afraid of her, it was a series of unfortunate errors on her part and she needs to do more to recover the situation. And FWIW, I think that as soon as you'd said what the mistake was she should have fully refunded you as a good will gesture, or done a full refund minus the cost of materials. At the moment all she's done is refunded you the ingredients.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:59:24

Have emailed. Felt awkward. I'm just hoping my sone isn't told....you know how kids can be!

THERhubarb Thu 29-Nov-12 13:15:21

Don't feel awkward. Look, plenty of people complain and feel no guilt whatsoever! I often wish I was more outspoken on things like this. You are doing her a favour by bringing her attention to the poor level of customer care because as I said, the next time she might not get such an understanding customer.

You paid for a cake to be collected on a certain day, in a secure box and personalised with your sons name. If you had just wanted an average cake you could have bought a supermarket one. The reason you went to her was because you thought she offered a higher level of service. So much so that you were prepared to pay her £50 for the priviledge. She failed to provide that service and so you should not have to pay more than the price of a supermarket cake. Even that would have come in a better box!

Honestly, if she's like this then yours won't be the first complaint, but she's hardly going to put the criticisms on Facebook is she? She tried to fob you off. I doubt she would have accepted the same treatment herself. She thought you were soft and took advantage of that. Trust me, she knows what she is doing. You can't be in a business like that and expect people to accept shoddy service with hardly a murmur.

Hope you get a proper refund this time. Stick to your guns and stop being so nice!

SoleSource Thu 29-Nov-12 13:22:17

Her comment,."Good job he didn't notice".


The cheeky fucker.

Demand a refundand never.go to her again.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Thu 29-Nov-12 13:29:59

Let us know how you got on. If I had been her I would have given you a total refund and something else as well - another cake to 'have at home' or something. Something to make up for messing you around and causing upset.

£5 in a card is a complete and utter insult and she wont stay in business long with that attitude.

FellatioNelson Thu 29-Nov-12 13:33:56

Terrible. Only a full refund is acceptable under the circumstances. You should not have had to scrape the name off and make do, but the fact that you did does not let her off the hook. If she doesn't refund you in full then I'd name and shame on here, or leave a bad review on her FB page or whatever, if she has one.

Icelollycraving Thu 29-Nov-12 13:36:17

When I read it I thought £5 wasn't a lot but not an insult or anything. Having read further about her not following her own ordering processes,I'd push for a little more. I don't think a full refund is right,the cake was eaten wasn't it?
Just a thought,does she perhaps charge £45 for a cake that isn't personalised & refunded the difference?

THERhubarb Thu 29-Nov-12 13:39:11

Perhaps Icelolly but the service and attention to detail that you would expect from a handmade cake was lacking too.

This is why people buy from cake bakers. For the service, for the quality, for the customer care, for the attention to detail, for an individual cake that is made to their requirements since these are the things that a supermarket cannot provide.

She didn't deliver her side of the bargain and does not deserve to get £45 for a bog standard cake that was not on time and not in a cake box.

Icelollycraving Thu 29-Nov-12 13:40:11


Janeatthebarre Thu 29-Nov-12 13:47:24

Anyone can make a mistake. But its how you deal with it that matters and this woman has not dealt with this at all well. She should have given you at least 50% off the price of the cake.

DeWe Thu 29-Nov-12 14:06:33

It's not from Peppa Pig cake maker again is it?

Cherylkerl Thu 29-Nov-12 14:14:22

I've just gotten the rage about her joking about him not noticing. Taking advantage somewhat.

ivykaty44 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:18:12

YABU, for not having taken control of the situation. At the point of you complaining you should have made your two points of complaint and then explained exactly what you wanted done to rectify the situation and then possibly sorted out something in the middle that suited you both.

What you did was have an expectation and then never communicated that expectation to the cake maker.

The caker baker gave you what you asked for - money of the cake. The baker did as you had asked.

I think it was a small amount and I would have asked for 25 quid to be knocked off - sorry but you did a poor job of complaining and then didn't get what you wanted.

If you want to rectify the situation then I would write a small note explain that you were remiss for not stating how much you wanted as a discount but feel 5 quid is to little and give the figure that you do want and why - the cake was delivered on flimsy material because you didn't regard me as a proper customer and order in proper cake boxes, second you got the name wrong on a birthday cake, therefore due to these mistakes you want xxx money.

Pandemoniaa Thu 29-Nov-12 14:28:33

That's a bit harsh, Ivykaty. I

As for the OP stating she was "remiss", wtaf? She's done nothing other than ordered a £50 cake and provided the correct wording to go on it. Something that the cake maker confirmed was provided to her. That she got something wrongly decorated and without adequate time to rectify things (given the failure of the cake maker to provide the cake on the agreed day) is not the result of the OP being remiss. She's the one who has done all the running so far and now been given a derisory refund.

curiousuze Thu 29-Nov-12 14:36:38

If you can't be bothered to do something, don't! I don't know if I would be arsed myself if there's no harm done and my son was okay with it - some battles just aren't worth it. It's a cake. Just don't use her again and tell everyone how rubbish she was. grin

I love that cakewrecks site.

ivykaty44 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:48:47

I think, in view of our ordering a personalised cake and it having the wrong person's name on it, that at least 25% of the cost should have been returned.

AIBU? What would you have done/expect?

Op knew what she wanted from the cake lady - but didn't ask for that? why didn't she state that clearly to the cake lady? This is what you did wrong when you delivered the cake and when you decorated it now please give me a refund of 25% as I am not happy, Instead she asked for a refund form a lady that was pretty useless at ordering supplies of cake boxes and remembering names.

She asked what would we have done

I have said what I would have done.

The Op wouldn't have used this person again anyway and the baker probably knows that, so what is the point in giving a decent refund if she can get away with a fiver - whether she give 50 or 5 it will make no difference the customer will not be happy and not give her name out to people.

Molehillmountain Thu 29-Nov-12 14:53:50

She absolutely ought to refund you and if she had any sense she'd bake another cake too. Businesses, in my experience, mark themselves out from how they handle errors. I speak much more favourably about mistakes well handled than neutral to even quite good service.

LaQueen Thu 29-Nov-12 15:10:28

The cake-maker's helpless 'Oh, gosh, I'm just sooooo busy, gosh I don't know what to say...giggle...giggle...' Wouldn't get very far with me.

I agree with Rhubarb if I take on some free-lance writing, I am commissioned to provide exactly what the punter wants. And if I want repeat business then I esnure that I do get it right.

I don't turn in a half-arsed editorial, and then just blush and simper if I've made a complete cock-up of it. Because that would be completely unprofessional and frankly shit, wouldn't it?

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 15:44:12

IvyKaty. Thanks for your opinion. To be honest, I left the amount of refund with the cake maker because I had no idea WHAT was appropriate. I posted on here because I wanted an opinion, from people who didn't know me or her, as to whether the cakemaker's £5 was a suitable amount. The general consensus was, that it most definitely was NOT.

As for no harm being done, I cannot deny that the school kids wolfed down said cake. And I cannot deny that the lady did an excellent job in decorating it. But WITH THE WRONG NAME?? My son has autism he's not stupid. He gets top marks consistently in spelling tests..... And he knows how to spell his OWN name.

I am the kind of person who would apologise when someone else stands on MY foot. I spoke with the lady initially, in friendly fashion but made it quite clear that I expected an appropriate refund to be made. £5 is not appropriate and next time, I probably WILL buy one from Sainsbury's. Much cheaper and less hassle.

Molehillmountain Thu 29-Nov-12 15:58:41

Eliza-sometimes I get the feeling that occasional posters just like to disagree for the sake of it or whether they are conscious of this or not! Full refund so clearly needed here.

THERhubarb Thu 29-Nov-12 16:07:05
bondigidum Thu 29-Nov-12 16:08:18

Well if you ordered something online and they sent something else would you get a refund or go 'ah well i'll just live with this dress instead of the trousers' for instance?? You'd want a refund.

The cake maker is a cheeky bitch. Get on at her for a full refund and warn everyone against her.

Whilst I agree entirely with the pps that they should be a decent refund, I can't help myself from recalling how much time and effort goes into a cake. She'd have spent HOURS doing it. Ingredients aren't cheap either.

I think I'd have let it go at the £5 honestly. If it was a business you were dealing with I might have felt differently, but this is someone doing it from her home.

ivykaty44 Thu 29-Nov-12 16:17:10

I take it that was aimed at me - but you see I answered what I thought, before reading what anyone else had said, I answered the question as closely to what I would have done. As I see it if you are going to bother to complain then do it well to get what you want, or don't waste time complaining and move on and put it behind you. I see a lot of people complain in such a bad way that it achieve nothing at all but frustration on both sides.

Molehillmountain Thu 29-Nov-12 16:33:43

No ivykaty-what you said was fair I think. Strong-but you're right that you have to be specific when you complain. I think, specifically, that the suggestion/s that the cake being eaten made a difference are a bit unreasonable. The op had by then, to make the best of it and if I were the baker, I would have thought, for the sake of the business that a full refund at least would be appropriate. Your point addressed what the op should do about it.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 16:34:04

Angeldelight... I take your point but, this lady advertises, has an Internet site and is not a person doing a "homemade" birthday cake, like my mum would have made. She is a business. She is a professional caterer/cake baker. I did pay for it. Getting the child's name incorrect, is pretty fundamental.

Yes, of course she would have spent a great deal of time making the cake. But 3 things happened which in my opinion helped to make this a mess.
1). The lady didn't send me, as agreed, an email with full order details. Whether this would have made any real difference, I don't know. She said she just "got it into her head" that it was JAMES, despite having written the correct name into her order book.
2). The packaging was dreadful and I had no option but to smile and say "dont worry, I'll manage" Not detrimental in itself but would have been if I'd dropped the flimsy container when the side of it collapsed, getting it out of the car.
3). The child's name was WRONG.

Molehillmountain Thu 29-Nov-12 16:37:27

I make cakes, and whilst the ingredients aren't cheap, it wouldn't be nearly £50 worth. Being purely self interested, the baker needed to refund and replace in order to mitigate any negative feedback. There are loads of very good home bakers who are either trying to make their hobby a business, or at least cost them nothing. And to be that sloppy isn't right anyway-it was a child's birthday. Even if she's a hobby baker, she has a responsibility to the person who is paying a considerable sum.

ivykaty44 Thu 29-Nov-12 16:42:16

Eliza22 I hope that you can resolve this mess in your own mind - either by moving on and knowing that if things go wrong with a service you will react differently next time or no need to be nasty when complaining - just say actually no it is not ok and I am not happy with your service.

Or take a laid back attitude and don't worry to much.

Neither is wrong, but it is how you feel at the end that is important. You come across as a very pleasant person and I am sure whatever you do you will do it in a pleasant manner.

Eliza22 Thu 29-Nov-12 16:42:27

And, this isn't meant to invoke sympathy but this birthday was really a special one. Last year, we (the family) all met up at Center Parcs for his birthday weekend. DS was ill, we all knew it but we wanted to make it as special as we could. He wasn't able to take part in the end, which was sad.

This year the family are too far flung to meet. Is just me, DH and DS. So, I wanted his to experience the singing of happy birthday and a cake. Not just at home, me and DH singing it! Does that make sense.

Maybe you can't understand that. I wanted it to be special. For him. Because this year, he's soooo much better.

IceNoSlice Thu 29-Nov-12 16:58:06

Eliza, glad to hear your DS is better, and that he had a lovely day. From your post, it sounds like the other kids have not mentioned the name thing to him, and hopefully they won't. Kids can be more sensitive than we give them credit for. If you're concerned, perhaps voice concerns to the teachers so they can explain the situation should it be mentioned.

I think you've done the right thing with the email. You sound very level headed.

Op yanbu, and fwiw I totally understand your reasons for the cake and taking it to school, I'm glad despite the cake makers mistake that your ds enjoyed it and felt special.

I make cakes, only friends and family atm but even then I'd refund them should I make any mistake (only pay me the ingredients/board/box cost) but then I check, double check and check again before doing anything.

MammaTJ Thu 29-Nov-12 17:06:27

You definitely deserve more than a fiver refund. I would be mortified if I made the same mistake. I make cakes for friends and family. I do not take on so much that I am too busy to do it properly.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Thu 29-Nov-12 17:32:13

It's really nice to hear he's a lot better this year than last and it's a shame the family couldn't have all got together - maybe next year smile

However, that aside, you deserve a full refund for her mistakes. Nothing to do with how special this occasion was to you.

RedToothbrush Fri 30-Nov-12 00:25:47

This is a BUSINESS. Do not get into petty dispute about it being a homerun business, its still a BUSINESS. A business is something designed to make a PROFIT. If you give a poor service or deliver faulty goods you have to accept responsibility and write off errors if you make a mistake. It does not cost £50 to make a cake. Whether its a multimillion pound business or something run out of someones kitchen it makes no odds. You still paid money in good faith and you should get what was expected in return for that same money not matter what the size of the business.

carabos Fri 30-Nov-12 07:53:24

See now, I don't think this baker has made a mistake with the name. I think she's given you a cake that was made for someone else and for some reason been left with. For me, it's the changing the day of collection because she was busy is the giveaway.

I don't believe that she wouldn't have checked the order before she handed it over to you, at which point she would have seen the mistake and rectified it herself. It is incomprehensible that she would actually hand over, and charge for, what is in effect the wrong thing. The fact that it was edible was neither here nor there.

Coralanne Fri 30-Nov-12 07:58:38

You need to be firm and ask for a full refund or a replacement cake for the next time you need a cake.

If that doesn't eventuate, then you need to "Name and Shame"

Eliza22 Sat 01-Dec-12 17:13:42

My email has not been answered. My telephone calls ignored. i guess that's what the cake maker thinks of her paying customer.

THERhubarb Sat 01-Dec-12 20:03:18

Trading Standards. Don't give any feedback or name and shame until you have spoken to them.

YuleBritannia Sat 01-Dec-12 20:08:21

Perhaps someone has al;ready asked this but why didn't you notice the incorrect name?

Have just read all the posts and had been thinking the same as carabos actually.

MrsReiver Sat 01-Dec-12 20:27:21

Yule I imagine the OP couldn't see beneath all the cling film, which kind of leads me to agree with carabos and girlsyear

Eliza22 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:59:56

I saw the cake and didn't notice. In my defence:

I had arranged to collect it the night before but was then told it wasn't ready and could I collect it on the morning of his birthday. I said ok but knew it'd be a tight timetable as the school had given me a time slot. I was therefore in a massive hurry.

The lady had asked for cash which I'd had the night before (ready for collection) but then paid for something else and had to go to the bank on the way. A cheque/credit card payment was declined by the lady. I can understand why.

The icing had a particular feature on it which I was so focused on, I failed to notice the wrong lettering. My son's name has similar letters within it. I glanced at it, took a photo of it, gave her the cash and then drove the half hour to school, knowing I'd be late. I WAS late.

Either way, I would have had to HAVE the damned cake because with ten minutes to drive a half hour journey, where would I have gotten a replacement? Perhaps she would have done a better job of removing "JAMES" than the teacher did. Who knows. But it was STILL the wrong name.

I HAD LEFT MYSELF SUFFICIENT TIME THE NIGHT BEFORE TO COLLECT and be on time, at school, the following morning.

So, I guess some may argue it was my fault also, for not checking thoroughly enough. You know what? I will do, in future. I have learned a lesson. That said, I still think it's disgraceful in how I was dealt with. A £5 refund and then being ignored. Her Facebook page is full of comments and praise so, I'm sure she's very good at what she does usually but I have been treated with contempt. Clearly, my paltry £50 birthday cake was not sufficient business enough for her to be concerned about losing. Her website states that she was a highly successful corporate business woman, before going into cakes. I'm just very surprised to be treated so shabbily.

Shame in her.

Has she replied to your e mail yet?

kerala Sun 02-Dec-12 18:55:00

I would be so tempted to write calmly and honestly your views on her website to counteract the glowing testimonials.

We still laugh at my dad being given a birthday cake in a dodgy restaurant which said "happy birthday Denise" (obviously not his name!) but that was given free as it happened to be his birthday I would be hopping if I were you the paltry refund makes it all worse somehow.

Eliza22 Sun 02-Dec-12 18:56:34

No. And, I directed her to this thread in an attempt to show her what other fair, rational minded ladies consider "good (and bad) form". Clearly, not in the least bit concerned that she has caused such distress. I feel like she may as well have answered my email with "you are NOT worth my wasting my time".

I should add, I have not at any time alluded to her PERSONALLY. Not her company name. Nor geographical location.

I really think I, we (my son and myself) deserved better. She did not agree, it seems.

Sianilaa Sun 02-Dec-12 19:18:43

I have started a celebration cake decorating business which I run from home. £50 for a large personalised cake is about right due to the time it takes. This kind of thing should never happen -

1. All orders should be confirmed and signed off by the customer.
2. I triple-check the message/name wanted before going anywhere near the cake!
3. You should have ample time to view the cake before you take it away.

It was completely unacceptable for her (a) to not provide you with a proper, secure cake box, (b) not follow her own procedures to prevent mistakes (c) getting the name wrong (d) changing your pick up time at the last minute if it wasn't convenient for you and (e) to laugh it off and offer you £5. Now she's ignoring you, which is a dangerous game for her to play considering the damage bad feedback can cause.

If it was me, I make sure I have all my kit at least a week in advance. I'd never not have a cake box. So she should have refunded you that charge - the cost of the box would have been included in the £50 you paid. So that £5 is a JOKE. She did not provide you with the service you paid for.

If it was me, I'd offer to refund everything except cost of ingredients alone (and to be fair, the cake was eaten so it wasn't a quality issue) - so usually 50%-60% of the cost of the cake should be refunded IMO.

I would say that you should have taken 5 minutes to check the cake over and so yes you should have spotted it before - but it was still her mistake and not yours AND there was no time for her to correct it anyway. My customers are sent a photo of the finished cake when it's done, usually the day before, to check it over.

If you were my customer, and it had got to this stage I'd be apologising profusely and would offer you a 60% refund on the spot AND for goodwill I'd have delivered a dozen cupcakes to your son.

If she has a Facebook testimonial page & she doesn't seem to want to reply to your e mail it looks to me like you will have to add a comment on her Facebook page...

And Cake Lady if you are reading this shame on you!

Theicingontop Sun 02-Dec-12 19:28:57

I have a small business making cakes, and I've done something similar to the lady in your story, OP, though it wasn't for a child.

The lady wanted a great pair of boobies, frilly bra, with a tattoo on the left boob baring her brother's name. I got the name wrong blush, she noticed before she'd driven away and came back. I offered her a cup of tea while she waited, corrected it there and then and offered to partially refund her (the 'tattoo' was in black royal icing on pale 'flesh' so it wasn't pristine anymore) but she loved the cake so let it slide.

In your cake maker's position, I'd a) be absolutely mortified that I was sending a cake away without proper packaging, b) offer at least a 25% refund if I didn't have the opportunity to fix the mistake. You are definitely not being unreasonable to expect more than £5.

Ingredients aren't cheap (the price of butter makes me shudder), no, neither are cakeboards, equipment and gas and electricity. Not to mention the collective hours it takes to bake and decorate a cake, but there is always profit margin and she should have sacrificed some of it to make up for her mistake.

Eliza22 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:22:13

It's such a rotten feeling to be ignored. It's like this incident and our feelings don't count.

I feel (ridiculously) sad about the way we've been treated.

YuleBritannia Sun 02-Dec-12 20:34:56

You took a photograph of it. What about the Small Claims Court. Your cakemaker has admitted her mistake.

If the name 'James' was on it, could it be that the cake was already made for someone called James and her offering it to you enabled her not to make a fresh one for you?

roses2 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:25:19

It's easy to configure a website and facebook only to show positive comments. For all you know, there are hundreds of customers out there as unhappy as you.

I think you should name and shame her now and also give trading standards a call tomorrow morning to see if there is anything they say you can do.

Is she a registered company or is everything cash in hand?

cumfy Sun 02-Dec-12 23:13:39

a load of cling film around it. She apologised for the lack of a cake box


She knew.

I bet she isn't the one who does the cakes.

longingforsomesleep Mon 03-Dec-12 02:52:13

A few years ago I ordered a cake from M and S for my son's christening. The cake I chose had space for some wording and a decoration. I didn't want the decoration (I think it was something baby related and he was a toddler so it didn't seem appropriate) and asked them to leave it off. I assumed that they would move the wording across so it sat in the middle of the cake. When I went to pick it up, the wording was at one side and there was an obvious gap where the decoration would have been. It looked odd. I was upset. The shop assistant was very apologetic and asked me to leave it with her.

The next day the cake was delivered to me by someone from M and S. They had taken it to a local cake maker who had iced a tasteful decoration in the gap. They did all this AND gave me a full refund.

And that was for a misunderstanding not an outright mistake!

THERhubarb Tue 04-Dec-12 10:39:54

Just wondering if there is a update on this? Intrigued to know if cake maker has responded.

Iheartpasties Tue 04-Dec-12 11:13:42

shame on you cake making lady.

Rhinestone Tue 04-Dec-12 11:21:00

If she's advertising this business via facebook and makes the cakes at her house AND asks for cash then I'd be willing to bet that she doesn't have a food hygiene certificate, her kitchen isn't licensed to make food for sale to the public and she isn't declaring the income to HMRC and therefore isn't paying tax.

A threat to call your local Trading Standards might yield a refund!

I think up to 50% refund is fair.

£5 back on a fifty quid is an insult cake lady if you are reading this.

You sound very nice Eliza and she has got a cheek.

ImperialSantaKnickers Tue 04-Dec-12 11:28:00

Did she ever deign to reply OP?

lljkk Tue 04-Dec-12 11:34:41

Honestly? I would accept the £5 and forget about it. Suing people is very stressful (have done it). And no harm done because your son is just as happy with this cake as he would have been had the cake been as perfect as you wanted.

I might not buy a cake from her again, though.

AndiMac Tue 04-Dec-12 11:45:51

If there is anywhere to leave feedback for her business (her website, google reviews) I'd write a bad review, sticking to the facts about the cake and leave it at that. You aren't likely to see more of your money back from this tightwad, certainly not without a lot more effort, and it still won't take away your disappointment about it.

I'd be pissed off too, without the additional SN birthday background to make it even more upsetting. But it's not going to change things now, so do what you can review/feedback wise and move on. Glad your son enjoyed it at least. smile

NagooHoHoHo Tue 04-Dec-12 11:46:52

I would have expected a 50% refund if they ate the cake.

TBF she didn't leave you much option but to use it though, did she?

jen127 Tue 04-Dec-12 11:47:13

Post a link to this thread on her facebook page ! smile
That should get a reaction - she is well out of order and I agree the clingfilm was to cover the mistake !
Shame on her!

THERhubarb Tue 04-Dec-12 12:56:50

I think it's very British to advise someone to just get over it and move on. We aren't a nation of complainers.

However, not supplying a box, not having it ready for the agreed collection day and not getting the name right are bad enough in itself without the frankly crap customer care Eliza is getting right now.

Yes the lady admitted she was at fault and put a fiver in a card to make up for it. She might think that was all she needed to do as Eliza was so nice and even joked about it on the phone with her. But she now realises from Eliza's email that this didn't make up for the discrepancies.

To ignore emails and phone calls is really quite bad customer service.

Feedback on Facebook can and will be removed. I would go down the official route of calling Trading Standards and having them advise you of what to do next. A phone message left with her, stating your intention to contact Trading Standards might solicit a response.

This was her chance to rectify a wrong, to be amazing and win the praise of a customer. When things do go wrong it can be tempting to just think 'sod it' but when approached the right way, it's a chance to prove just how wonderful you are and there can be no higher praise than from a customer who received tremendous customer care.

Even if the OP doesn't do anything now, this lady will drive herself out of business soon enough with this attitude.

lljkk Tue 04-Dec-12 12:58:23

How funny, considering the laid back Californian seems to the only one advising OP just take the money & forget about it.

Must be my adopted Britishness. Makes me more British than those of you born to it.

AndiMac Tue 04-Dec-12 14:31:12

I think it's just not worth the hassle of following up for the sake of the money.

JustFabulous Tue 04-Dec-12 14:44:56

You got the wrong person's cake. No doubt about it.

degutastic Tue 04-Dec-12 14:49:33

yanbu, that's not remotely acceptable.

However, I'm glad your son enjoyed his day smile

Eliza22 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:53:15

No, definitely didn't get someone else's cake as the decoration (and this was well done) was what I'd requested.

I have received an email and have agreed a further amount in terms of refund. The lady was upset that I had sought an opinion on Mumsnet but it may have been worse for her, business wise, had I spoken to friends locally.

There are no winners in this.

THERhubarb Tue 04-Dec-12 18:05:47

Perhaps if she had a proper complaints policy this would never have happened.

I would be mortified and would be doing all I could to put things right. I hope she takes something away from this and doesn't make you feel guilty for seeking advice. As you say, someone who wasn't as nice as you may well have just left bad feedback.

She really needs to re-evaluate her customer care. Not replying to customer's emails, not providing cake boxes, not delivering on time, getting names wrong, not offering an adequate refund - all this needs to be addressed. She's running a business, not enjoying a hobby. This is the mistake she is making.

JustFabulous Tue 04-Dec-12 18:22:06

I suggest you name change for future posts since she knows you asked on here. 1 minute of searching and she has all your past posts.

FivesAndNorks Tue 04-Dec-12 18:59:13

Well surely she can see for herself that you've come no where near identifying her or her business.

She sounds very unprofessional

cumfy Tue 04-Dec-12 20:51:54

I would hope Further Amount = £45.

Eliza22 Wed 12-Dec-12 09:29:34

Am updating and signing off on this thread....

Eight days ago, last posted that the cake lady had offered a further refund of £20 which, added to the £5 originally posted through my door, added up to a 50% refund in total. I think this is reasonable, under the circumstances.

The lady also said in her email that having read the replies to this post (and I agree, the story makes for very uncomfortable reading) she felt like saying she would not be making any further refund to me but seeing how she is a "reasonable person" would (grudgingly, I felt) make further reparation.

A week went by. I texted and email 3 times, politely enquiring when she thought she might be able to bring closure to this. The money was posted through my door yesterday evening. I found it sometime later in the kitchen, the cat having toyed with it and left it by her food bowl. I didn't hear the letterbox "go".

The cake was nice, by all accounts. The correct name on it would have made it great. The customer service? Utterly, utterly appalling.

LtXmasEve Wed 12-Dec-12 09:39:00


As far as I am concerned you have been more that reasonable. I am afraid that I would not have hesitated to name and shame the cake maker, and she can thank her lucky stars that you are more a better person than I.

If the cake maker is still reading this - You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be mortified that you made such a huge mistake. You should have given the OP a FULL refund with your huge and humble apologies. That is what a decent person would have done - you are NOT a decent person.

LoopsInHoops Wed 12-Dec-12 09:55:37

Did you post her a link to the thread? shock grin

catsmother Wed 12-Dec-12 09:55:51

Totally agree with LtXmas ... the whole point of a personalised cake is that it's, errrrrr, personalised. Not that it bears a resemblance to the name of its recipient.

Everyone makes mistakes, but it's how they're dealt with that's important. In the OP's shoes, I'd certainly be naming and shaming if I'd had such a begrudging response to a commission that had gone wrong. Potentially the cake maker could therefore stand to lose £££s of business she might otherwise have received. On the other hand, with a "nice" cake and the (could have been) tale of how the cakemaker had bent over backwards to put things right, she just might have got extra business as someone who was conscientious and willing to go the extra mile when necessary. Not going to happen now - she's shot herself in the foot.

redwallday Wed 12-Dec-12 10:44:45

Can I just ask, if you collected the cake with no box why didn't you notice that it had the wrong name on the cake??

Eliza22 Wed 12-Dec-12 10:54:25

Outfoxed98.... Don't mean to be rude but not prepared to go through it all again. I have posted the reason for not noticing but I can understand, you don't want to trawl through the entire thread. Sorry.

Angelico Wed 12-Dec-12 10:58:36

Eliza glad you got things resolved, sorry it took so long.

And CakemakerLady if you are reading - you obviously make good cakes so don't throw your reptutation down the toilet over twenty quid ffs! You made a mistake, you'll make other mistakes in the future (you're only human) but take it on the chin when you do and make sure you leave a happy customer. Cakes are big word-of-mouth business.

Clementine24 Wed 12-Dec-12 12:30:56

I'm a home baker/ cake decorator and I would be mortified if I got something like the name wrong! No doubt I would refund the full amount. As for the packaging, sorry but if you're going to pay £50 for a cake, it's only reasonable to expect it to be packaged properly. Esp when it's something as fragile as cake. If she was so busy she shouldn't have taken your order on.

samandi Wed 12-Dec-12 12:32:39

I would've checked it first tbh.

SugaricePlumFairy Wed 12-Dec-12 12:43:10

Not that it's of any help to you after the event but let's hope she learns from this and doesn't over commit herself and make the same mistake again.

I think you handled the situation well Eliza. smile

JustFabulous Wed 12-Dec-12 13:25:37

Because of strangers commmenting on your post, and her crap service, she wasn't going to give you a decent refund? You shouldn't have missed out due to other people making a comment. She hasn't handled this well at all.

JustFabulous Wed 12-Dec-12 13:28:00

samandi - maybe reading the thread would be an idea.

Eliza22 Wed 12-Dec-12 15:33:58

Agghhh! SAMANDI please, take a little time to read this through before commenting!

JUSTFABULOUS... Seems incredible, doesn't it?! confused HER mistake. HER handling the (reasonable) complaint very badly and I got the impression that the lady HERSELF feels badly done to!

It's a mad mad mad mad world!

SarahStratton Wed 12-Dec-12 16:34:54

Some people really shouldn't be in business.

I'm glad it's been sorted to your satisfaction Eliza. I think you've been more than reasonable, and very tolerant of this woman's lack of grace, and I hope you find a good cake maker for your son's next birthday.

Best not use the Penis Pig cake maker though either. They were equally shit at customer services.

samandi Thu 13-Dec-12 08:38:08

samandi - maybe reading the thread would be an idea.

I've read the OP's posts.

samandi Thu 13-Dec-12 08:40:15

Eliza - it was your fault for not checking the cake at the time as well. I didn't say the cake maker wasn't in the wrong - she seems all over the place to me and should certainly offer a decent refund - but I find it very odd that you didn't notice the wrong name. I've ordered personalised cakes before and that's the first thing I do. Certainly wouldn't be handing over the full amount if it was wrong.

Eliza22 Thu 13-Dec-12 11:22:23

SAMANDI, I take your point.

Perhaps, had I been able to collect it the day before, as agreed, I wouldn't have been so rushed and flustered myself. Perhaps, had I not been flummoxed by the cardboard yoghurt pot tray and layers and layers of cling film which encased the cake, I may have noticed. Perhaps, had I not been so concerned to be running very very late for the time slot agreed by the school (remember, I WAS collecting it the day before but cake lady hadn't finished it). Perhaps, if the woman had sent the order confirmation she said she would but didn't, because she was too busy.... Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

You know, as we've all said, WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. But how it was dealt with? No. Not good.

BartletForTeamGB Wed 19-Dec-12 12:40:04

I think you've been remarkably polite and haven't even named her, so her reputation is intact, so her email is a bit off!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now