Hallmark / © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is unless you’re one of the many Mandalorian fans who rushed out to purchase an adorable Baby Yoda bauble (adorabauble?) on Amazon.
With more than 700 reviews giving it an overall rating of four stars, it’s no surprise that this Hallmark Keepsake Ornament – which features ‘the Child’ from Disney’s space western looking tear-jerkingly cute in his hovering pram – has caused so many Star Wars fans to make some extra room on their Christmas tree this year.
Not only has the infant alien become the undisputed star of the Mandalorian, but listing on Amazon promises big things, talking up keepsake’s “unparalleled artistry and exceptional detail”, its giftable Hallmark packaging, and the character’s movable ears and arms. The force is, undoubtedly, cute with this one.
However, all is not as it first seems. A delve into the listing’s reviews reveals that unofficial and knock-off Mandalorian merchandise is still a big problem. While a handful of buyers have received the real deal, it appears plenty of those who rushed out to spend $39.98 on one (1) bauble – which is currently listed as the “#1 New Release in Decorative Hanging Ornaments” – have received something that looks “more like one of the Gremlins than Baby Yoda”, according to one miffed Mando shopper.
There are many, many similar reviews. Plenty of them also come with pictures of the product that was received. “It’s a heavy plastic silver egg holding weird-looking Yoda”; “Not to scale and very ‘wonky’! Could be a white elephant or prank gift but ‘Come on, man!’ 2 thumbs down!”; “Does not look like the photo shown to purchase and is missing an arm!”; “THIS IS NOT A HALLMARK ORNAMENT. IT IS A BIG BULKY CHILD IN HIS PRAM”, they rage.
While these reviews are, admittedly, hilarious, they show that Amazon continues to be a place where third-party merchants can sometimes head to peddle fakes. It appears the knock-off, which another buyer described as a “heavy, thick silver blob” came via a third-party seller called ‘Trilvan’, and that because it wasn’t shipped from Amazon directly, the company is refusing to accept returns, nor issue refunds. Trilvan, which is listed as being based in China, had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication. A new US-based third-party company is now fulfilling official Baby Yoda bauble orders.
Hallmark said in a statement that while its product is legitimate, it is “aware that there are third-parties selling this ornament on Amazon”.
“In some cases, the items are not Hallmark products,” the spokesperson added. “We are working with Amazon to resolve those issues. When purchasing Hallmark products on Amazon, consumers should make sure the product says ‘Shipped and sold by Amazon’. Shoppers in the United States can also find this ornament on Hallmark.com.”
Amazon didn’t respond to our request for comment, but the company’s track record with counterfeiting is well-documented. A major Wall Street Journal investigation recently revealed that Amazon has listed “thousands of banned, unsafe, or mislabeled products,” which lead to many big-name companies, including Birkenstock and Nike, announcing that they’d no longer be selling on Amazon. It also prompted a Department of Homeland Security review into the sale of counterfeit goods online, which found that “many consumers are unaware of the significant probabilities they face of being defrauded by counterfeiters when they shop on e-commerce platforms”.
At the time, Amazon said it had a “zero-tolerance” policy for copycat products. Its anti-counterfieitng policy says that the “sale of counterfeit products is strictly prohibited” and that “failure to abide by this policy may result in loss of selling privileges”, as “best in class”. Earlier this year Amazon also launched a Counterfeit Crimes Unit to track down and prosecute counterfeiters. And this month it launched lawsuits against a number of groups it suspected of selling counterfeit products.
However, the company may still have a way to go, particularly when it comes to knock-off Baby Yoda merch. On another listing, buyers complained they brought what they thought were Baby Yoda plush dolls, but which turned out to be older Yodas in disguise. “You can tell by the white hair and lack of oversized robe,” one reviewer wrote.
In fact, a quick browse through Amazon’s endless Baby Yoda merchandise listings show that the issue is incredibly widespread. If you’re shopping for Mandalorian merchandise this Christmas: be wary, you must be.
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