A business selling the popular children’s toy the fidget spinner via an online store has topped New South Wales Office of Fair Trading’s complaints register this month and set a new record for monthly complaints.
The company, known as Fidget Australia, received 56 complaints over the month of June, beating out the previous record holder Bloomex Australia, which received 47 complaints in February.
Fidget Australia also received 24 complaints in May, bringing the total number to 80.
The retailer sells popular toys known as fidget spinners, which are small triangular toys with multiple ball bearings, which the user spins on their fingers. The toys took off this year and have become an international craze, with thousands manufactured and sold, some even with the addition of LED lights and Bluetooth speakers.
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A Google search of “Fidget Australia” brings up two websites, fidgetspin.com.au and fidgetcubes.com.au. Analysis of Whois data reveals that both websites are operated by a company known as Wingless Pilot Pty Ltd, a company registered to a residential address in Queensland.
Crikey uncovered in early June that the website that the complaints were originally directed at, www.fidgetaustralia.com, had been taken down without notice, with customers left without information about their orders for weeks. Whois analysis also shows that fidgetaustralia is owned by Wingless Pilot.
Upon contacting the company via email, Crikey received an automated response providing details on shipping times. SmartCompany was unable to contact Wingless Pilot directly and did not receive a response from emails or a phone message left with the business.
A number of complaints about the company have also been posted on Facebook, with users saying they had been waiting months for orders.
“Really disappointed with product! Would have got better quality from a cheap shop! Waited a ridiculous amount of time to receive them. Sorry but you need to lift your game 1/10!” wrote one customer on a post to an unrelated fidget spinner retailer, discussing Fidget Australia.
Fads can be a breeding ground for customer complaints
While it’s unclear what has occurred in this situation, marketing expert at Marketing Angels Michelle Gamble product crazes like the fidget spinner can prompt customer complaints if businesses cannot keep up with demand.
“These crazes attract people who are more opportunistic and short term compared to business owners who are long term,” Gamble told SmartCompany.
Gamble believes fidget spinners are another “moment in time” akin to hula hoops or cabbage patch kids, but notes these quick-burning crazes can be strong business opportunities, provided the businesses can keep up with demand.
“If you can tap into whatever the next craze is there’s definitely a business opportunity, you’ve just got to get a whiff of it early,” she says.
The unfortunate side effect of a business such as Fidget Australia receiving so many complaints is that it can tar similar retailers with the same brush, believes Gamble, who recommends other businesses try to reassure customers through social channels.
“Talk about guaranteed shipping times, make the most of any accreditation you’ve got, and put up any customer testimonials,” she says.
“Let your shoppers know you’re not one of the quick and dirty operations.”
One fidget spinner retailer has done just that, with Fidgety Australia posting to its Facebook page to clear up any confusion customers might have.
This month’s NSW Fair Trading complaints register also included Ray White, Shakuhachi, Viagogo, and Harvey Norman.