(WWBT) - Fingerlings are officially the hottest toy for the 2017 holiday season, but one mother has a warning if you plan to purchase your gifts online.
The tiny, interactive toys that promise "friendship at your fingertips" are on both of Lois Roethel's daughters' Christmas lists.
"I knew immediately that this was definitely something my kids were going to be asking me for," Roethel said.
Roethel wanted to get her shopping done early before the popular toy sold out, so she checked out Walmart.com.
"I received my order confirmation, and I thought, 'Great! I am going to be the recipient of two WowWee Fingerling Monkeys,'" said Roethel.
However, when the package arrived, Lois immediately realized the Fingerlings were fake.
"I opened it, and I'm almost incredulously looking at it thinking, 'Huh,'" she said.
Not only did the toys have incorrect names and packaging, but there were misspellings on the box and poor paint jobs on the monkeys themselves.
"This would never get through quality control," Roethel said.
When Roethel contacted Walmart, a representative informed her she had actually purchased the toys from a third-party seller on the company's website.
Roethel said she knew other online retails used third parties but wasn't aware Walmart did as well.
"I thought that if Walmart is selling something, even if it's a third-party vendor, they have the implied endorsement of the company," Roethel said.
Fingerlings' official website issued a warning about Walmart.com. They advise shoppers against purchasing toys from "third-party sellers" on the site, and instead only buy toys that list "Sold and Shipped by Walmart.com"
Walmart refunded Roethel's purchase for the counterfeit toys, but she has a message for parents - buyers beware.
"Don't assume that you've gotten your list checked off until you actually physically have looked at your product and said, 'Yes, this is what I ordered,'" she said. "Because I do feel like I'm a self-proclaimed professional shopper, and if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone."
In a statement, a Walmart spokesperson said:
Currently, Fingerlings are sold out in most stores and online for their original price of $15.
The good news: If you're willing to spend a bit more money, they can still be purchased through sites like Amazon, Ebay and Walmart. Just make sure you double check the reviews and the "sold and shipped by" messages before completing your order, so you don't get duped!
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