Every year, there’s a highly-anticipated, hard-to-get toy on the holiday wish list. This year, it’s the tiny, robotic monkeys known as Fingerlings.
And for once, I thought I was on the ball, having ordered a Fingerling for each of my kids through a third-party seller on Amazon back in September.
Turns out these sellers, who claim to have shipped my Fingerlings from China, are issuing refunds to lots of parents like me. Why? Because the toy monkeys are not showing up to homes in the U.S.
Jennifer Swartvagher, a New York mom who ordered five Fingerlings monkeys and one unicorn through third-party sellers on Amazon, is in the same boat.
"After the (projected delivery) date passed, I realized they weren't coming," Swartvagher, a mom of eight, told TODAY Parents. "I was so happy that I had remembered to order this toy early so I wouldn't have to stress as the holidays approached. Now I am scrambling to find a few to put under the Christmas tree."
In a news release, WowWee CEO Richard Yanofsky said his company is "dedicated to protecting our customers and will continue to aggressively pursue counterfeiters manufacturing and selling unauthorized Fingerlings product.... We are so proud of this new toy line, and want to ensure our customers can buy with confidence."
Twitter users have been complaining about mishaps with their Fingerlings orders.
"I'm so irritated. I ordered two fingerlings in September off of Amazon for Christmas," wrote one Twitter user. "They never came. It was a scam shop. So now I more than likely won't be able to find them."
"I bought Fingerlings for Christmas two months ago from what turned out to be a scammer on Amazon," wrote another. "Got refunded, but now I don’t have it."
When I reached out to Earlymoon, one of the Amazon sellers I purchased a Fingerling from, to inquire about my order, I received an email response explaining that I would receive a refund, which later did show up in my account.
"The item shipped from China. It's a long way, the logistics can't be controlled," the email read. "I can totally understand your feeling if I were you. And beg your understanding, too. Maybe it get lost due to the long shipping distance."
A spokesperson for Amazon told TODAY that situations like this are the reason Amazon offers its "A to Z Guarantee," which protects sellers for all purchases made on the site, whether directly from Amazon or through a third-party seller.
"If ever the product doesn’t arrive or isn’t as advertised, customers can contact customer support for a full refund of their order," the spokesperson said. "Amazon does not tolerate fraud and counterfeit... in the event that sellers do not comply with the terms and conditions they've agreed to, we work quickly to take action on behalf of customers."