Broken Hatchimals lead to Christmas disappointment for some kids
'It was like an egg … it just sits there'
Some children have been left disappointed — and their parents frustrated — after their Hatchimals failed to hatch.
The Facebook page of Spin Master, the Canadian company that makes the much-sought-after toy, has been deluged with conflicting reports from parents around the world in the days following Christmas.
Some parents complained that their children's Hatchimals couldn't be coaxed out of their shells, while others said the birdlike toys worked as intended, popping out of their eggs after encouragement from their human owners.
'It turned on briefly — and then nothing'
Jessica Perkins spent Thanksgiving night waiting in line at her local Walmart in Springfield, Mo., to get a Hatchimal for her five-year-old daughter.
"I was so excited when I got it, because I knew they were so hard to come by," said Perkins.
On Christmas morning, her daughter was "over the moon" after unwrapping her Hatchimal.
"We took it out of the packaging, and my husband popped the pins out of the bottom and it turned on briefly — and then nothing," said Perkins.
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Her daughter was "just devastated."
"She's hoping that if she cares for it, it will wake up," Perkins said. "She's carrying it around in her little baby-doll carrier with a little blanket over it."
In the meantime, Perkins said she managed to get through to Spin Master customer service after waiting on hold for an hour-and-a-half.
She was assigned a case number and a customer service representative asked her to write the number on the Hatchimal's belly and send them a picture.
She said she later received a confirmation email with a different case number. Now she's not sure if the replacement is on the way.
"It's really frustrating. I just want to ensure that this toy is coming," said Perkins.
'It just sits there'
Robert Milk, of Queen Creek, Ariz., bought two Hatchimals for his two grandsons this Christmas.
"One of them worked perfectly" and hatched after about 40 minutes, said Milk, but the other was a dud.
"It was like an egg," said Milk. "Just like if you take an egg out of the refrigerator — it just sits there."
Like Perkins, Milk said he hasn't had much luck getting help from Spin Master.
"I've been calling every few minutes for the last day-and-a-half and have been unable to get through," he said.
Valerie Wright of Milton, Ont., has had similar frustrations with the Hatchimal she bought for her seven-year-old daughter.
"We followed all the instructions and watched YouTube videos" on how to properly activate the toy, said Wright, but to no avail.
Wright said her local toy store wouldn't allow her to return the Hatchimal, saying she would have to deal with Spin Master directly. Her attempts to get through to the company's customer service haven't yet been successful.
"I was on hold for well over an hour and then the phone just went dead," said Wright.
Spin Master responds
In a statement provided to CBC News, Spin Master's vice-president of global marketing communications, Tara Tucker, said the company is trying to help customers with their toys.
"While the vast majority of people have had wonderful experiences with their Hatchimals, we have also heard from consumers who have experienced challenges with the hatching process," said Tucker.
"Although the call volumes are higher due to the holidays, we are working with each individual to review and troubleshoot, which has helped a great many to resolve their issues."
Tucker told CBC that Hatchimals have received an unusual amount of attention for a toy.
"The number of toys that have reached this level of a phenomenon can be counted on one hand," said Tucker. "The number of problems is really extremely low, given the mass volume."
Still, Tucker said she didn't want to dismiss any difficulties that Hatchimal owners may be having.
"If someone has a negative experience, we want to make it right."
Spin Master is referring customers to a YouTube video offering hints on how to hatch a Hatchimal.
'They've been extremely helpful'
Denise Dodson, who lives near Akron, Ohio, started a Facebook group for parents struggling with faulty Hatchimals called "Dead Hatchimal Owners United!"
The group had just over 1,000 members as of Tuesday afternoon.
Even though her six-year-old daughter was "pretty upset" about her broken Hatchimal, Dodson expressed some sympathy for Spin Master's customer service quandary.
"From what I have seen, they've been extremely helpful in helping people and being willing to replace them for people, but it's going to take a month for people to get them," said Dodson.
"I think that they're not big enough to handle what they've done."