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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?

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!

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.

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.

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

samandi - maybe reading the thread would be an idea.

I've read the OP's posts.

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.

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!

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

samandi - maybe reading the thread would be an idea.

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.

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

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

I would've checked it first tbh.

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.

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.

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.

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??

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

I would hope Further Amount = £45.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

yanbu, that's not remotely acceptable.

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

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

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

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