The product at the center of a new California class action lawsuit filed this week involves a toy called “Hatchimals.” According to a report in The Washington Post, Hatchimals were one of the most popular last Christmas. But parents of young children say that the toys that were supposed to “hatch” never did, deeply disappointing and traumatizing the children who received them eagerly for Christmas.
Hatchimals were originally listed at about $50 to $60, but the toy is currently selling for as much as $79.99 at stores like Toys “R” Us. Online marketplaces are demanding as much as $350 for each of these toys that are very much in demand. In fact, they are such a craze that they were even featured on the “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon. Parents complained that the batteries in the toys died and that the “unhatched” toy had to be extracted. Like Humpty Dumpty, they said, it couldn’t be put back together again.
A Huge Disappointment
The class action lawsuit filed against the toy’s manufacturer, Spin Master, by attorney Mark Geragos, alleges that these Hatchimals don’t hatch as they are supposed to resulting in unhappiness that can range from “extreme disappointment to tragic.” This was the “it gift” this Christmas and it was a bust, plaintiffs say. The Toronto-based Spin Master, which also makes other popular toys such as Etch-a-Sketch, Build-a-Bear Workshop and Tamagotchi, released Hatchimals in the fall, just in time for the holiday season. Hatchimals come in an egg the size of a grapefruit and can comes in five different “species.”
The egg could take up to 25 minutes of rubbing, tilting and tapping in order to “hatch.” The lawsuit alleges that, for many parents, the excitement of getting the toy their child wanted, the money they shelled out for it and the hours they waited at the toy store didn’t pay off in the end. The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, a resident of Bakersfield, said she bought the toy from Wal-Mart for $50 but that it didn’t hatch even though she and her daughter followed all instructions. Spin Master reportedly made $100 million in profits off the toy. A number of angry and frustrated parents have given the toy bad reviews on Amazon.
The Purpose of Class Action Lawsuits
This case is yet another illustration of how class-action lawsuits help hold large corporations accountable, particularly in defective product cases that don’t result in injuries. However, when the product does not work as intended, consumers who feel they have somehow “been duped” are entitled to recover the money they spent on that product. That is what a class-action lawsuit recovers for consumers while holding the negligent corporation accountable for manufacturing, marketing and selling a defective product.