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A disturbing trend is afoot. Fingerlings have been released for the holidays and they are selling out (not shocking). What is surprising is the number of similar looking toys being passed off as the real thing on Amazon (and now in Facebook Ads and AliExpress). The most surprising to me was that Groupon is now allowing for the sale of counterfeit Fingerlings.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, Fingerlings are a popular handheld interactive toy that hit the shelves about a month ago. They quickly sold out at Amazon and other online retailers, but have been available so far in stores. Amazon still has their exclusive Pink Glitter Fingerling (sold out) and other colors have been coming in and out of stock. If you are a member of our Facebook Group, we have been posting Fingerlings and other popular toys like Luvabella as we see them in stock (they go quickly). While I haven’t seen issues with Luvabella yet, recent “Fingerlings” sales raise major red flags. Here is how to avoid buying potentially fake Fingerlings!
- According to the Wowwee Fingerlings Website, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Gamestop and Toys ‘R Us are authorized Fingerlings distributors in the United States. Other larger retailers like KMart are carrying as well – if you buy in store, you are fine. But when you look at Amazon, you need to be careful. They have been popping up on AliExpress, which are likely to be coming from China as well. They are using Wowwee stock photos, but carry different brand names. Finally – there are now tons of Fingerlings Facebook Ads offering “deals” on Fingerlings.
- The retail price of Fingerlings, with the exception of the Amazon Exclusive, is $14.99. The Amazon Exclusive Pink Glitter Monkey is $17.99 and can be pre-ordered here. There is also a Toys R Us exclusive Unicorn that has been released. (available here, but currently sold out, follow our Facebook Group for updates). At this point, there is no reason to pay over retail, though a quick search of Walmart only shows them available for over $20 through 3rd party sellers. These are sellers who have purchased them at retail in large quantities looking to make a quick buck. While there may eventually be a stronger reseller market, at this point, most people should be able to find one at retail in store or online at one of the authorized retailers.
How to spot a (potentially) Fake Fingerlings
Since I first posted, there has been legal action taken against 1000 Chinese sellers of counterfeit Fingerlings. Unfortunately the counterfeit game is like Whack a Mole, you take down 1000 and 1000 more pop up. On Amazon, sellers are supposed to be submitting documentation that they are authorized to sell the product, but there are still issues. Wowwee only owns the name Fingerlings, so it seems perfectly ok to sell a “Finger Monkey” on Amazon as long as they are not using Wowwee’s brand, images and trademarks. These are still fakes in my opinion and are not worth the trouble. So here is what to watch for, take a look below:
As mentioned in the graphic, there are issues with all three of some of today’s top selling products that are listed as Fingerlings.
- When you take a look at the listings of the pink monkey and unicorn, there are more red flags suggesting that they are fake Fingerlings. In the listing below, the brand name is not Wowwee then manufacturer, but BAESKI (no idea what that is). They are however using the trademarked Fingerlings name to describe the product. What is more confusing is that they have somehow attached to the Amazon reviews of an actual Fingerling (increasing the listings credibility).
- Real Fingerlings sold on Amazon are sold and shipped by Amazon. The item is listed by “Nice Heart to Heart” (doesn’t that sound lovely?). Nice Heart to Heart has two seller reviews, one saying the product was never received. Today alone they have likely sold HUNDREDS, if not thousands of these toys, but before today, nearly nothing.
- Finally, the item is due to arrive in mid-October. When dealing with a 3rd Party Seller, 3-6 weeks shipping likely means that the Fingerlings are coming from China or elsewhere overseas – increasing the likelihood that it is counterfeit.
What about the Fingerlings Facebook Ads?
There are TONS of Fingerlings Facebook Ads. They show a cute video, have a lot of shares and people are tagging each other left and right. Must be legit, right? WRONG. For one – most of these are advertising the Fingerlings as a “deal” at $19.95 (with a slash through price of $49.95). As mentioned above, Fingerlings retail prices is $14.99 (with the exception of some exclusives), so $19.95 is not a deal. Again – there is a seemingly endless supply, but mass retailers cannot keep them in stock. The Facebook Pages are new — this one was created just over a month ago. I’ve seen some as new as 6 days old pushing the same advertisement. This particular site says “9 left in stock”, but I was able to add 20 and go all of the way through to the last step of checkout. Many of these sites are simply drop shipping from Aliexpress. This means they actually never touch the stock. If you order and actually get something, you can expect it to arrive in several weeks directly from China.
Why should I buy an authentic Fingerlings?
Beyond the ethical nature of buying counterfeit items, there are several reasons to buy only authentic Fingerlings Toys.
- You know you will get it. Amazon has struggled with new 3rd party sellers quickly selling large amounts of product at discounted prices and not shipping anything at all. While your purchase is guaranteed by Amazon’s A-Z Guarantee Program, it isn’t always the easiest to file a claim. Amazon will ask that you contact the seller (who inevitably doesn’t respond), then wait for the shipping window to pass (these don’t have tracking) before actually filing the claim. The process isn’t easy, it requires chats and possibly phone calls and many just figure it’s not worth it for a small amount of money. Sellers typically get paid by Amazon before any of this happens and they quickly disappear and reappear under another account (this is a HUGE challenge for Amazon right now).
- If you have a problem with the product, you will be able to have it replaced by the manufacturer. Remember the Hatchimals debacle last year? Hundreds of non-hatching, non-responsive draggles and pengualas? While it may have taken some time, Spinmaster replaced those toys. There have been some early reports of peeling on some Fingerlings and Wowwee has been great about sending replacements as well. Fake Fingerlings may even have more issues as they are likely not subject to the same quality control.
- The fake Fingerlings are coming from China. China is notorious for producing toys with high lead content. Companies producing counterfeit Fingerlings are not subject to the same testing that US, Canadian and European toy companies are. There is no guarantee that a fake Fingerlings will not have high lead content. This is a toy that your child will be handling – peeling of paint on the hands or legs could be ingested, especially by smaller kids. Not worth the risk!
So where can I buy an Authentic Fingerlings?
Fingerlings are currently sold out from all major retailers, BUT they have been periodically restocking. I post restocks when I see them in our Facebook Group Kidz Steals & Deals. We have been tracking a number of popular toys here and you can check the retailers below to purchase online, or check in stores as well. When purchasing online, from Walmart or Amazon, the item should be sold and shipped by Amazon or Walmart. The retail price should be $14.99, unless you are pre-ordering the Amazon exclusive for $17.99 (SOLD OUT). Stock changes daily. To keep up to date on when they come into stock, I highly recommend following our Facebook Group.
- Now in stock at Best Buy! Grab Zoe, Bella, Sophie, or Mia! SOLD OUT
- Check Amazon here (make sure sold and shipped by Amazon) – They also have the Pink Glitter Exclusive Rose (now sold out). You can grab here. (Follow here for in stock updates)
- Check Toys R Us here. The TRU exclusive Gigi is here (sold out, but coming into stock occasionally)
- Check Walmart here (makes sure sold and shipped by Walmart) – sold out, possibly available for store pickup
- Check Gamestop here (SOLD OUT, some available for store pick-up)
- Check Target here (SOLD OUT)
It should also be pointed out that while this is currently an issue with Fingerlings, it could become an issue with any popular holiday toy. Be wary of buying anywhere outside of the authorized retailers. In addition to the fake Fingerlings, we have also seen Amazon listings for fake Hatchimals and fake L.O.L. Balls. Watch out for co-op and buy-in groups as well, they are nearly always ordering from overseas suppliers that are not authorized to sell the product. Anytime someone can get something that’s consistently selling out on Amazon and Walmart and offer it for a reduced price, it’s likely to good to be true!