How to avoid rogue traders - choosing your wedding cake

How to avoid rogue traders - choosing your wedding cake

A wedding cake is probably the most expensive cake you will ever buy so you want to make sure that you are getting the best possible product.  It doesn’t matter how much your budget is – everyone deserves a service that is worthy of the price being paid

I recently worked with a venue to rescue a couple whose wedding threatened to be spoilt by a cake wreck.  This wasn’t just a failure in transit – unfortunately accidents do happen.  This was a product of shoddy construction, inappropriately transported and frankly not worth half of the princely sum they had paid.   The whole experience got me thinking –  who is at fault?  Of course the supplier, who should be totally embarrassed at what they provided.  However, the consumer should also take some responsibility for not doing their homework correctly.  Rogue traders exist in every industry.   However, rogue traders can easily be identified with some simple questioning.

Have their premises been hygiene inspected?

Anyone with a wooden spoon and an oven can open up a home bakery.  However, any food business that receives payment for its products should be registered with their local Environmental Health Office (EHO).  This ensures that their premises meet basic hygiene standards and their work practices are fit to supply food to the general public.  You wouldn’t choose to eat at a zero-rated restaurant or takeaway would you?.  This has become even more important due to a recent food safety alert https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/alert/fsa-fafa-01-2018.  Registered businesses have been notified but non-registered suppliers may continue to use these products, which may cause injury to public health.

To check if a supplier is registered and to see their hygiene score, simply contact the EHO at your local council or go to www.scoresonthedoors.org.

Do they have insurance?

A credible company will have some form of public or product liability insurance (or in our case, both).  To exhibit at some venues and events, this insurance is a pre-requisite.  I also think that it shows that a company takes its responsibilities seriously.  However, customers should also consider taking out their own wedding insurance which for a small sum can provide cover for cancellations, accidental damage to venues etc (always read the small print).

Do they have examples of their work? 

Unfortunately, theft of intellectual property is rife in the wedding industry.  Certain individuals see nothing wrong in using someone else’s images as examples of their own work. Usually what is supplied is massively different.

For online images, you can conduct a quick Google Reverse image search which will tell you the origin of the image.  For face-to-face meetings, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the product.    If they can’t answer these effectively, run away!!!!!

Do they have testimonials?

Personal, word of mouth recommendations are by far the best form of advertising and therefore we all use these on our websites or social media (you can find mine here).  If you can’t find any, ask where they are.

Ask for a consultation. 

Do they want you to commit or even pay the full amount before meeting up?  Do they keep changing consultation appointments or want to do everything online?  Unless you are picking a set product from a catalogue, a bespoke wedding cake supplier will insist on a consultation to fully discuss your requirements and ensure that they provide the best possible service.  It also helps to avoid any ambiguity that may arise from emails etc.  Would you be worried if a builder quoted for renovations on a building that he never even seen?

There are many an unscrupulous and very convincing trader out there and we will all have been caught out by one at some point in our lives.  But please, please, please do a little homework and hopefully the next cake wreck won’t be yours!!!!  And to lighten the mood, go and check out the Cake Wrecks website – some of these creations are, well ……………!!!