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Thread: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

  1. #1
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Angry Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    What a disaster!!

    I need some advice or thought about what to do about this situation. It's nothing vegan-related though. Please bear with me during a long post, but I need to explain everything:


    A very, very good friend of mine had a small, surprise wedding on Saturday. I live in Ontario, Canada and flew out to Nova Scotia (a couple of provinces over) to attend, and wound up taking on a ton of responsibilities to help out and essentially became the maid of honor.

    Everything went pretty well.
    Except for the cake.

    My friend, the girl getting married, really likes to give opportunities to new business owners when possible, and this is what she did for her cake. It turned out to be a HUGE mistake...

    Around 9am on the day of the wedding, on our way to her hair appointment, we get a call from the cake lady. She is calling to confirm the time she should arrive at the apartment with the cake (11:30am) and other such details. She's super upbeat and wishes my friend a good day, saying she'll see her at the selected time.

    Around noon, a half hour late, the lady shows up. She forgot to bake the cake. I'm not kidding! She showed up, said she was really sorry, she forgot to bake the cake. She brought a Styrofoam version, covered in fondant. So it looked like a cake... but it wasn't a cake.
    So she then says she has to go, she currently has the real cake in the oven, and doesn't want it to burn.

    She returns around 3pm. (Please keep in mind the event was scheduled to begin one hour later, at 4pm.) She brings a cake in a box.
    What was ordered: a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing*, covered in fondant, 3 layers
    What was brought at 3pm: a chocolate cake with buttercream icing, no fondant, 2 layers.
    *Please don't give me shit for the non-vegan cake, it wasn't my wedding and I had no say one way or the other.

    So not only is the cake 3.5 hours late, but it's completely NOT what was ordered... and it's just in a box (not in any way decorated or set up as a wedding cake should - we were given a STYROFOAM ONE instead).

    My friend does an amazing job handling all of this - never freaks out, never lost her temper. Said that's fine, thanks, and sent the lady on her way. We planned to deal with it after the ceremony, when she would email her and as a refund or at the very least, some money back. We didn't want to freak out an hour before the wedding - makes sense, right?

    So the wedding goes as planned, it's was beautiful, etc.

    It comes time to eat the cake. Someone takes a bite, feels something chewy, and pulls something out of their mouth - there is a 1"x1" square of RIBBON in the icing. ...Which is really special, because there was no ribbon on the cake. Where the hell did it come from?

    So I fly back to Ontario last night. My friend emails the cake lady, explaining everything that was wrong, about the ribbon, etc etc.

    My friend calls me this morning from Nova Scotia, completely in tears. The cake lady was a total bitch to her, said she wasn't giving her any money back because there was "nothing wrong with the cake" and she "brought it in time before the guests arrived." She completely denied there being any possibility that there was ribbon in the icing - she said she bought it pre-made from the grocery store. She turned into a complete bitch, insulted my friend, and refused to give any money back.


    So, obviously this is a terrible woman with competely insane business tactics. Insult your customer? Refuse to acknowledge your mistakes? Give me a break.

    A wedding is a pretty big deal to some, they only do it once in their life and expect things to go relatively smoothly. My friend doesn't have a lot of money, and doesn't think it's fair she should have to spend so much money on something when she didn't even get what she expected.

    I doubt we'll get any money back (she paid 200$ for this cake - everything was completely wrong, and hell, the flowers she put on the styrofoam "cake were fake, for goodness sake), so we want to try to spread the word about the bad business. Yes, I suppose it's partly malicious, but truth be told her & I agreed that we don't want any other poor bride to have to go through this! This cake woman is a complete nightmare and I would hate for her to ruin anyone else's big day, and completely rip them off, money-wise.

    So!

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to spread the word? What would you do in this situation? My friend already said she will write a letter to her local paper with the name of the business and how the woman treated her. I'm a couple of provinces away but I was thinking of doing the same here, though I'm not sure how much good that would do. The cake lady has a website, and I suppose anywhere that allows online reviews could be beneficial as well...

    Thank you for ANY input you may have! I feel so bad for my friend, I just can't get over the ridiculousness of this situation.
    Last edited by sparklingsights; Sep 28th, 2009 at 05:56 PM.
    The problem with your gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.

  2. #2
    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!



    If you have a photo you should definitely submit it to:

    http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  3. #3
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    I hope your friend will see the funny side in due course as the rest of the wedding went well.

    That said, if I were your friend I would check up on my rights as a consumer to see if there's anything that can be done to get the money back and maybe get some compensation - even if she doesn't care about the money it would make the woman think twice about pulling the same trick again. There is probably a local government department there called something like "consumer affairs" or "trading standards" that would fill her in on her rights and the appropriate procedures.

  4. #4
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    harpy - Unfortunately because it's a small business that this woman runs herself, I'm worried it's going to be hard to get anything out of her (no one higher-up to go to) but I do know what we have a consumer-affairs type thing here and I will look into that. Thanks for the suggestion!
    The problem with your gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.

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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    Some things you could do:

    Check out websites on wedding cakes; are there forums for wedding cake business owners/would-be brides looking for cakes? These may be possible places to warn people about bad business practices. Also because if you are in the wedding cake business YOU DO NOT FORGET TO BAKE A CAKE!!! I'm sorry, there's just no way... sounds to me like she never intended to.

    Urge your friend not to give up on this woman. She bought the cake from a grocery store? Which one? Where's the receipt? If she is in this line of business I'm sure she keeps receipts for tax-deduction purposes. If there's no receipt, I think you can pretty much contest that no purchase of a cake was ever made.

    Local papers are always a good way to go... a bride given a Styrofoam cake on her wedding day - what a story! All the better if you have pictures.

    A lawyer may be another possibility, once your friend knows her rights. I recently contacted a lawyer in Italy to chase up a non-paying client, and an initial "threatening" letter only cost me 50.

    What a horrid situation - all the best!!

  6. #6
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    I don't know much about it but I think going through an official channel like that might be a better option than posting negative reviews all over the place, however well justified, because this woman sounds like the sort of person that is capable of trying to sue people for libel :-/ (On the plus side it sounds as if there are plenty of witnesses!)

  7. #7
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    Thank you for your suggestions as well fiamma! I've passed on this info to my friend.

    Quote harpy View Post
    I don't know much about it but I think going through an official channel like that might be a better option than posting negative reviews all over the place, however well justified, because this woman sounds like the sort of person that is capable of trying to sue people for libel :-/ (On the plus side it sounds as if there are plenty of witnesses!)
    There were about 20 people in the room (the wedding was just held in her house) when the ribbon fiasco went down, at least.

    As far as libel/negative reviews... I'm not sure how that works, because any time you are given a service or buy a product, there's usually an opportunity to give a review. If it was negative, you say so! But going overboard is not cool, so I definitely know where you're coming from.

    More news - apparently she advertises her business on Craigslist/Kijiji as well and has a lot of negative feedback from many other people..!
    The problem with your gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.

  8. #8
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    I guess as long as the reviews you post stick to facts that you can substantiate you're probably OK However negative reviews evidently haven't improved matters or stopped people from being disappointed, whereas an official complaint/lawyer's letter/small claim may, if your friend can be bothered.

  9. #9
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    Agreed. Well, it's a combination of wanting some money back / not wanting others to have to go through this. An official complaint or small claim would, of course, be ideal, but she has very limited money and, with a one year old child who nurses, not a whole lot of time, either.

    It's most frustrating though because no matter what anyone does, this lady is just going on to go on in denial thinking she's right and has done nothing wrong. I've dealt with people like this before and it's beyond annoying! I guess sometimes we just have to sit back and say, "shit happens".
    The problem with your gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.

  10. #10
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    FWIW small claims are supposed to be really easy here, and I've heard guilty parties often pay up as soon as they get the form without the claim having to go to court, but that's not necessarily true in other countries of course.

    It's nice of you to help your friend out, anyway, sparklingsights.

  11. #11
    Slowly I Awake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    Wow, what an experience!

    As a customer, I often check online for reviews of businesses before I visit/contact them. I'm always thankful to those who share their thoughts, and in the case of this particular woman, I would definitely want to know your friend's story. I say find every listing of hers you can, and leave an appropriate, factual review if possible. You don't have to be nasty about it, just state the facts. They speak for themselves!

    Don't forget word of mouth either. You'll be saving potential customers a lot of grief.

    Does this woman have a website? Not that I'm suggesting anything related to that, but I'm curious to see it if she has one.

  12. #12
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    She does have a website. By harpy's suggestion I removed it as to avoid any... unpleasantness, I suppose.

    I agree about proper reviews - you're completely right, the facts speak for themselves!! This is why I'm so bothered by the email my friend sent the woman - she sent her a perfectly polite email outlining the problems, and the woman reacted completely inappropriately... so unbelievable.
    The problem with your gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.

  13. #13
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    Update.

    So, my friend emailed this lady photos of the ribbon that were in the piece of cake; ribbon that she so strongly denied the existence of. She never heard back.

    I called the cake lady yesterday, to provide an additional witness account of the ribbon incident. She didn't answer my telephone call, nor did she return my call as I requested.

    My guess is that she is purposely ignoring. That's fine... we wanted to get things sorted out, but if she would prefer that we spread the word of her bad business practices, so be it. My friend is also considering small-claims court, mainly for the principle of the matter.

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    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice: How to spread the word about a bad business? Sad bride. Help!!

    oooh, what's her number? I feel the need to place a big order after much consultation... and change my mind.

    When I feel like being nasty it's a sign I'm having chocolate deficiency.
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

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    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    ^ I know! I really feel like being super nasty to her but in the event my friend does decide to take her to court, it would look very bad on us.

    She replied to my friend's email about the ribbon in the cake this morning. Her response was only this:
    Good Morning,

    Just doing a little more research before I send you a complete answer on this...
    And then she signed her name.

    I wonder if she's figured out that we're really not giving up?

  16. #16
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Oh, and here is a picture of the ribbon that was almost eaten. In case you can't tell, it's a pretty big piece... about 3/4" x 3/4"...
    It's sitting next to the Styrofoam-covered-in-fondant (non-edible) "cake."

    Last edited by sparklingsights; Sep 30th, 2009 at 05:33 PM. Reason: uploaded the image elsewhere - should work now. sorry it's so big.

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    Slowly I Awake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Oh no, the image isn't coming up for me. I'm dying to see this.

  18. #18
    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Well, if all that went wrong was the cake... hope the honeymoon made up for it.

    As for my wedding:

    The groom and ushers were horribly hungover.
    Guitarist broke two strings so we went a cappella
    Tide was rising at our beach ceremony but guests were late
    Bridesmaid #2 had whopping PMS breakdown
    Photographer was too drunk to focus
    The videographer forgot to bring an extra tape (wouldn't tape over son's soccer)
    bridemaid's bouquets were stripped of leaves and looked like weeds
    The officiator snuck in a load of 'til the resurrection' for my secular ceremony
    Food went cold because 1 guest insisted they wait for us (contrary to instruction)

    My honeymoon case was not put into the trunk so I wore groom's shirt and trousers for a midnight run to the drugstore to get him cold meds

    I could go on...

    marriage lasted 3 years
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  19. #19
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Slowly I Awake - Not surprised it didn't work, I was hotlinking from my email but thought I'd try it anyway, haha. I uploaded to photobucket: here.

    pat sommer - Definitely brutal! Guess it wasn't meant to work out. Can't imagine all of that going wrong - I would have totally lost it!
    No honeymoon for them as they have a one year old baby who co-sleeps and breastfeeds; not to mention they're broke.

  20. #20
    leedsveg
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    Talking Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Quote pat sommer View Post
    Well, if all that went wrong was the cake... hope the honeymoon made up for it.

    As for my wedding:

    The groom and ushers were horribly hungover.
    Guitarist broke two strings so we went a cappella
    Tide was rising at our beach ceremony but guests were late
    Bridesmaid #2 had whopping PMS breakdown
    Photographer was too drunk to focus
    The videographer forgot to bring an extra tape (wouldn't tape over son's soccer)
    bridemaid's bouquets were stripped of leaves and looked like weeds
    The officiator snuck in a load of 'til the resurrection' for my secular ceremony
    Food went cold because 1 guest insisted they wait for us (contrary to instruction)

    My honeymoon case was not put into the trunk so I wore groom's shirt and trousers for a midnight run to the drugstore to get him cold meds

    I could go on...

    marriage lasted 3 years
    Hi ps

    So you had a few problems. But I'm guessing your cake was ok, otherwise you might not have lasted 3 years!?

    lv

  21. #21
    cobweb
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    I think that the cake woman is completely nuts, and action definitely needs to be taken against her, as you, on principle, if nothing else.

    I had a crappy cake at my wedding too, but it was free (i worked in a bakery at the time and the baker made it as a 'present'.........it was awful). If i went back in time i would just make one myself.

  22. #22
    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Yes, my french wedding cake was gorgeous: pyramid of profiteroles filled with chocolate and glued together with burnt sugar, decorated with fondant violets, topped by blown glass ornament of doves.

    No one noticed anything went wrong. As long as guests are happy, what does it matter?
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  23. #23
    veganmatters sparklingsights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Another update for those that are interested!

    We never heard from her after her email about needing to do some "research" before responding.
    ...What does that mean, anyway?!

    So, my friend filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The cake girl will have until October 12th to respond to the complaint. If she doesn't, she'll receive a reminder letter, which will extend her time to respond until October 22. I don't know what happens after that... honestly the suspense is killing me!

  24. #24

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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Hi Sparklingsights,

    I am sorry to be reading about this late, and at all! I worked in the wedding industry with brides for over 8 years and I am sad to say that things like this do happen all the time. No matter the size of the wedding or budget, something is bound to go wrong. However, there is no excuse for this women. I applaude her effort of making the fake cake for presentation, but that was not good enough! She told you she was "Baking" the cake and would bring it back, but then showed up with a store bought cake. WTF!

    I am happy to hear that your bride managed to stay calm while this was happening. After all she was getting married and that was the important thing at hand. Yes, im sure she was dissapointed, but she stayed focused and that is good. (Ever watch Bridezilla's)

    You have done all of the right things. Consumer reports, local newspapers and shows, The Better Business Bureau, message boards, and so on. Spread the word! Small claims court would work, you should have no problem getting her money back that way. Lots of documentation will always help prove the case! Have you gone on The Knot at all? And WeddingBee.com. Both of those sites are filled with brides getting married who would love to hear about which vendors to stay away from. Also, let her local bridal salons know about this lady, often other people in the industry will reffer vendors for all types of wedding needs.

    The good news is, that by practicing bad business she will soon put herself out of business. It's Karma, and it's a Bitch! She will get hers in due time, even if your bride doesn't get her money back, she will get the peace of mind in knowing that this women will never ruin anyone else's cake again.

    Good Luck to the Newlyweds )

  25. #25
    Purple's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Similar experience, couple ended up with a cake that wasn't real.


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/8344070.stm

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    Default Re: Sad bride. How to spread the word about a bad business?

    Just my 2c FWIW.

    At my wedding, the photographer NEVER took a photo of just the 2 of us. We kept wondering when he would but whenever we asked him, all he said was "later, later, let me get this table first".

    When we inquired about this omission later on when we saw the proofs, all he said was "You never told me you wanted that shot" HUH??? A wedding photographer not taking a photo of just the bride & groom?

    No horror stories about the cake though.

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