Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Great Fake Sophie Debacle ...

Two months after Wiggles was born I decided to invest in THE MOTHER of all teething toys.  The most famous, the most revered, the teething toy with the best reviews in the whole history of ever.... yes I spent several of my pennies on a Sophie the Giraffe teething toy for my baby girl, as quite frankly she deserves the best.

Vulli who make Sophie designed her in 1961, the design has never changed and she has a fabulous retro look to her.  All their Sophie's are made to exactly the same specification. We ordered ours from Amazon and I wasn't disappointed.

She LOVED her.  In fact it was love at first nibble.  She liked to squeak her, dribble on her, squeak her, wave her about oh yes, and squeak her.  In fact she loved her so much that I had to wash her several times as she'd got a little mucky from being dumped on the floor, stuffed under her bum and bounced on, you know, that sort of thing.  I don't know if you've ever tried giving Sophie the Giraffe a scrub, if you haven't but you need to here's a tip for you - cover the squeak up or it will suck water up into it's body and never squeak again!  Thankfully a friend of mine imparted this little nugget before our Sophie arrived so despite being washed a lot, she always retained her squeak.  I did notice however, that our little Sophie seemed to have faded quite a lot though, but I put this down to me scrubbing at her and didn't think much more about it.....

UNTIL.....

Two friends of mine popped over with their babies.  They both owned and had brought with them their little ones Sophie the Giraffe teething toys.  I had never seen another toy up close and was a bit concerned to discover that theirs were both identical, but that they looked quite different to my own.

Despite some pretty heavy gumming and subsequent washing theirs had all their spots and they were much darker in colour.  The shape of their toy's eyes were quite different and they each had very pink cheeks which our Sophie doesn't have. Their toys were also notably smaller than ours and the colour of the rubber was quite different.  Theirs were also almost white, ours is a yellow colour.  The legs of the other giraffes were also quite a different.

See....




On the left we have Exhibit A - Sophie the Giraffe - photograph courtesy of the Amazon website.  On the right, our Sophie.  The suspected Faux-phie.

Alarm bells started ringing, if every Sophie was supposed to be made to the same specification how could ours be so different? I'd heard of knock off handbags, shoes and that sort of thing, but surely no one would stoop so low as to produce a counterfeit baby toy? I emailed Amazon as soon as possible, on the Sunday afternoon explaining my concerns. I heard back from them by 9.00 am the very next day saying that they had received my email, they were taking it very seriously and they would investigate and get back to me. In the mean time I was welcome to a refund, but they wouldn't be able to give me any indication as to how long this enquiry would take. I wrote back saying I was happy to wait. This wasn't about money, but safety, I just wanted to know my baby hadn't been poisoned with a counterfeit Sophie the Giraffe!

 By 1 o'clock the same day I received a response from Amazon. They had tracked their supply chain back to the Vulli factory in France and were happy that our toy was genuine. Not only that but they had contacted the factory and raised my specific concerns with them. The factory had advised that the Sophie the Giraffe toys are made in plaster of Paris moulds, each mould can make ten Sophie's before it needs to be replaced, hence the subtle differences in size and shape. Then each Sophie is hand painted, hence the differences in depth of colour.

 So it transpired that I was having an irrational mummy panic and that I'd been accusing two perfectly reputably and frankly enormous bloody great big companies of flogging knock off and potentially poisoning my child.  Ahem... But instead of just ignoring me, or wafting me away like the wally that I am they dealt with my query sensitively, thoroughly and quickly. And I was really flippin grateful, if a little embarrassed!!! I am so pleased we have a Sophie and not a Faux-phie!!!

Have you ever been caught out with a counterfeit? Or made an international muppet of yourself? I'd really like it if someone said it wasn't just me!!

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17 comments:

  1. I know there's a huge problem with fake Ergos! I'm glad your Sophie was real in the end, Eloise loves hers and just got a bunch of Sophie books from her Grandma.

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    1. They do BOOKS!!! I didn't know!! Are they good? I'd love to know?

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  2. Amazon is the bomb! We adore them- so efficient & great customer service. And YAY for the real Sophie!!

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    1. I agree! They could have just waved me away politely, they'd have had every right!

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  3. I once found a real leather Louis Vuitton bag in a chazzer for under a tenner. I clutched it to my breast and smiled all the way home. I spent hours online working out if it was real or not. It's not. But it is real leather and really looks great. And I'm now an expert on fake Louis Vuitton merchandise! I could offer a service to people! And I love that bag because I don't often spend half a day wandering around grinning like a cheshire cat. xx

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    1. I love that! I would have done just the same, spent hours researching it, and then ended up just as pleased regardless!

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  4. The Sophie drama! I'm glad all ended up well anyway, and I think it's great you raised it and Amazon reacted so quickly and efficiently (I am a big Amazon fan!). I did wash our Sophie early on, and can report she has since been silent. I'm quite happy with this development, though...;-)

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    1. How funny! I know what you mean, sometimes I am really grateful when the batteries go in the particularly annoying toys!

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  5. That is so great how they dealt with it! We love Sophie here :)

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    1. I was so impressed! I couldn't have asked for more! :) xx

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  6. Wow! That is incredibly efficient of Amazon. Never heard of Sophie the giraffe and may have to bear her in mind for the future! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

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    1. Isn't it? Worth every penny Vicky my dear! They make lovely baby gifts xx

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  7. Thanks for sharing! I was wondering about what to think of the amazon Sophie. :)

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  8. Thank you for your post! I just bought one for my son and mine looks a lot like your washed out one. Amazon doesn't mail Sophie Le Giraffe to India for some reason so I'd been looking for it for months

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  9. Hello there! I was wondering if you knew the name of the Amazon seller you bought the Sophie from? We lost ours and we are about to buy another and I just wanted to make sure it was the real deal! :-). Thanks so much!

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  10. Are you sure you purchased yours directly from Amazon? Most of the listings I see are from third party sellers, and most of the sellers are selling fakes. You have to have a brick and mortar store to sell Sophie, they're actually pretty hard to get an account with. If you read the reviews of Amazon, there are TONS of complaints about fakes.

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