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?

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.

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