It'll be a long time before we forget about the wild anticipation over Hatchimals leading up to Christmas last year. But how the mighty fell after disappointed kids and parents took to social media to blast toymaker Spin Master because their hard-won Hatchimals didn't live up to their promises to, well, work. Furious customs claimed their Owlicorns, Burtles, and Bearakeets either took forever to make an appearance or never hatched at all. Other customers swore their Hatchimals could be heard saying curse words.
Now, a California mom is taking her anger over failed holiday fun a step beyond simply calling the brand out on Twitter. Jodie Hejduk is suing Spin Master because the $50 Hatchimal she purchased at Wal-Mart for her daughter's birthday didn't hatch.
According to a suit filed in U.S. District Court, Hejduk claims her little girl followed the instructions that came along with the much-buzzed-about toy to a "T." And yet, nothing happened.
"Like many other consumers, plaintiff purchased a defective product that deprived her daughter of the key attraction of the toy: the hatching," the court paper says, according to the New York Daily News.
Incredibly, this angry mama has retained star lawyer Mark Geragos (attorney to Hollywood celebrities and high-profile politicians) to represent her. Here's what he had to say about the now-infamous toys: "Instead of being called Hatchimals, these should be called Bait-and-Switchables." Geragos believes Spin Master knew their product was defective before making it available to clamouring consumers hoping to pull off the ultimate Christmas surprise for their kids, and thus the suit accuses the company of false advertising, among other complaints.
"These weren't cheap," Geragos also told the Daily News. "They ran $50 to $300. Then imagine a kid spending an hour petting this thing only to have it fail? Damages could be upwards of a billion dollars."
For its part, the Hatchimal hawker is yet to comment on the suit specifically, but right after Christmas, the company did release a video with helpful tips for how to play with the toy. My feeling was it shouldn't have been so complicated!
A new post on the company's website says in part, "Thanks for the calls, emails and kind words over the last week. It is our priority to ensure our consumers are happy with our products and we are pleased to report that many consumers have experienced success through connecting and/or troubleshooting with our Customer Care Team." They claim to have had "more than a million successful hatches since we first launched Hatchimals." The statement goes on to say, "We are still hard at work making sure that everyone has a magical hatching experience. We are 100% committed to bringing the magic of Hatchimals to all of our consumers."
Looks like they'll have to pull off some magic in court now, too.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.