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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?

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

Have a read of the above.

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 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.

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