Hatchimal problems reach New Zealand

Kiwi parents have told of their struggles with Hatchimals, the wildly popular toy that featured on countless kids' Christmas wish lists and sold out across the country.

While United States-based toymaker Spin Master says the "vast majority" of kids have been pleased with the 'hatching' toys, for some annoyed customers Hatchimals are not all they're cracked up to be.

Susan Little from Lower Hutt said her daughter's Hatchimal had to be forced out of its plastic shell after the whole family tried in vain to get the hatching process started. "We rubbed it for 2 days...passed it around the family rubbing it like Ali Baba and his magic lamp," Ms Little said.

The toy is meant to "hatch" from its egg by itself after owners knock, tap or rub the shell.

Eventually Ms Little couldn't put up with it anymore: "I just broke through the shell myself and gave it a shove around and it finally started rotating around the shell and tapping on the shell.

"There is no way it would have hatched without me giving it a semi-Caesarean section! Disappointed daughter!"

Ms Little said her daughter is happy with the toy now that it's hatched, but was gutted that the "big selling point" did not live up to its expectations.

Kristi Van de Zwet said her daughter's Hatchimal reached the hatching stage after about 30 minutes but never broke through.

"We tried all the troubleshooting tips on their website and an hour later she said she was fine with me breaking it out so that's what I ended up doing".

Megan Kennedy bought two Hatchimals for Christmas. One worked fine, but the other is still in its egg. Her daughter's "has still not hatched after everyone spending Christmas Day lavishing attention on the egg trying to get something to happen!"

Ms Kennedy is planning to return the toy. "I have a very disappointed 4-year-old daughter who is desperate to see what's in the egg!"

Jordan Cole bought a dud Hatchimal off Trade Me for $190 (they retail for around $90 in shops), and was following another Hatchimal auction that sold for a massive $350.

"It sucked cause my daughter wanted to watch it hatch but it just stopped hatching so we just had to break it out. It looked like the turning mechanism inside it to help rotate it with the pecking had stopped working so it was just sitting there.

"I hope others can get it sorted cause it's disappointing especially when you are spending lots of money on these things that are meant to be the best toy at the moment!"

A Facebook group for disgruntled parents has been set up called Dead Hatchimal Owners Unite, and has attracted more than 2000 members.

In a public statement today, Spin Master said it has "increased the number of Consumer Care representatives, extended our hours, and increased the capacity for callers in the queue to help prevent calls dropped due to the holiday volume."

"We are committed to doing everything possible to resolve any consumer issues. We sincerely apologize and thank everyone who is experiencing an issue for their patience."

Sue Chetwin, CEO at Consumer New Zealand, said if people bought Hatchimals from a trader on Trade Me then they are entitled to rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

They could be repaired, replaced or refunded. However, if they were bought through an ordinary person on Trade Me, they do not have these rights.

For those who purchased their Hatchimals in stores, Ms Chetwin said, "If they haven't hatched, I suspect that's a seriously fault which means that you could probably say that you wanted your money back."