No Refunds For Poisonous Aqua Dots

The distributor of children’s toy Aqua Dots, which contained beads that turned into a date rape drug if ingested, is refusing to give refunds to parents. Instead, they want to offer a replacement toy. Some parents are mad as they don’t understand why they should forced to accept another toy from a company that sold them poison the first time around. Here comes the lawsuit! Parents who would rather get a different toy can go to

No refunds for poison toy yields lawsuit [Arizona Democrat Gazette via Consumerama]


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  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I wonder what drug they will get in exchange.

  2. keith4298 says:

    Any Attorneys General that want to get in on the lawsuit…after all, here’s a company selling a dangerous, illegal, controlled substance to children – do you need someone to explain why this is an easy win in front of a jury?

  3. Skiffer says:

    Sorry, but GHB is a controlled substance…

    If we gave you money back for your Aquadots, we’d be buying drugs and helping the terrorists…

  4. KyleOrton says:

    I didn’t realize the name of the company was Spin Master. I thought they were directing questions to a PR firm specializing in making angry, involuntary-drug-pushing parents think of the whole mess as zany fun.

  5. mondomondoman says:

    Doesn’t Toys R us give a refund to anyone with a recalled toy regardless if it was purchase there or not?

  6. Mills says:

    @AlteredBeast: Probably some ecstasy. With the little Harry Potter lightening bolt.

  7. Freedomboy says:

    Bring on more of this, the only way this kind of crime can go on is VOLUME VOLUME VOLUME so no sales = no business = this will stop.

    Same thing in all the slave labor examples, none of it can happen if the system drops using these suppliers and brings the jobs back into regulated countries where the law means something, maybe not perfect but I never heard of this kind of abuse before the superstore concept spread wide and far.

  8. vanilla-fro says:

    @keith4298: That would be the second easiest case in the history of cases. For the record I don’t know the first easiest one, I just know there has to be one.

  9. mexifelio says:

    I hear the replacement toy is Crackadots, now with free glass pipe.

  10. BigNutty says:

    This situation has obviously put this company in a financial problem. The probably don’t have the money anymore to give out a bunch of refunds.

  11. Skiffer says:

    @keith4298: I guess technically the Aquadots did not have GHB in them…the glue they used was just metabolized by the body into GHB…

    Tomayto, Tomahto…

    @mexifelio: Comes with a free “miniature rose inside glass vial”…along with some steel wool and a torch…

  12. TechnoDestructo says:

    “Some parents are mad as they don’t understand why they should forced to accept another toy from a company that sold them poison the first time around.”

    B..but it isn’t from the same company it’s made by a completely different outsourced Chinese manufacturer!

    I wonder if the various China scandals will kill US businesses’ obsession with branding? I mean, maybe now they’re aware of what the other side of that sword is.

  13. powerjhb says:

    We bought one at Costco and got a letter informing us of the recall. They stated we could return it for cash no questions asked and if we had thrown it out, they would still refund us the money. Took it back and got a cash refund in a matter of minutes.

  14. Buran says:

    @BigNutty: It’s not our problem. They sold poison and are now refusing to refund their ill-gotten gains. If they don’t do it, a court will make them do it.

  15. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    I think this story is probably misleading. You can certainly return it to Wal-Mart, Costco, ToysRus, etc. and get a refund. Those retailers will then send them back to the manufacturer and deduct their costs from future orders. If the manufacturer ever hopes to do business in the U.S. (after all 90% of toys are bought from just 6 retailers), then they’ll have no choice but to comply. Probably the manufacturer means that if you bought it from ToysRus, you can’t send it back to the manufacturer for your money.

  16. floydianslip6 says:

    I assume they probably can’t afford to refund all the money. Sucks for them, looks like they’re gunna have to come up with it some how.

  17. drkkgt says:

    Thanks for the FYI Ben, we were going to call this afternoon but I guess we will call our aunt instead to find out where she bought it and take it back to the store.

  18. trecool95 says:

    It looke like they’re at least offering an option for a new toy or to just replace the actual Aquadots. It seems pretty quick to already have come up with a non-drug laced alternative.

  19. wfpearson says:

    Date rape drug? So can I give some to my wife to give to me? I’ll be watching eBay. :)

  20. MatthewVA says:

    This just in: companies more concerned with bottom line than consumers’ health, well-being, and pocketbooks.

    What makes me even more nervous is that some stores — like Walmarts out in Calif. — don’t even have to pull these things off the shelf. Don’t you just love how everyone shifts the blame?

    Seems like you would save some money and customers’ faith if Aqua dots, Walmart, etc. would just work together to protect and refunded folks… I would also like to see less dependence on communist China, but maybe I am asking too much this Christmas?

  21. TMurphy says:

    The article, and seemingly the lawsuit, seems to put the toy company in a position of intentionally selling a toxic product. I am sure this is another case of the factory in China going rogue on the ingredient lists. You would think the lawyers would be smart enough to just push for the company being negligent, rather than knowingly irresponsible, unless it is just the article going for the sensationalism.

    If anything, I feel bad for the company. It just seems US manufacturers have to think like a Chinese factory manager, and figure out what cheap and dangerous chemicals can replace the specified safe, yet more expensive, ingredients or materials. Once they know what the potential dangers are, they can easily check for them, and refuse shipments that test positive. I think the government should prevent toy companies from outsourcing production unless they have a safety screening process that meets strict standards. Until the government steps in, companies might be slow to pay up for more thorough checks and testing.

  22. @wfpearson: You want your wife to dope you?

    They had to know they were going to get sued. Do they think they can win this?

  23. Buran says:

    @TMurphy: If you hire someone to do something for you, and it’s carried out in your name, you’re liable. You had the opportunity to make sure your product was safe, and if you didn’t, it’s up to you to make it right. If you didn’t want to be liable, you shouldn’t have hired fly-by-night companies to do your dirty work.

    Would I sue Hella if the brake lights on my VW didn’t work and I got rear-ended? No, I’d be suing VW even though VW didn’t make those parts itself — it contracted Hella to do it for them. VW would then turn around and sue its supplier for creating substandard parts.

  24. theblackdog says:

    @stanfrombrooklyn: Didn’t they sell this toy via a 1-800 number at first? I could see this being a problem if it was a parent who bought it from the TV rather than in the store.

  25. keith4298 says:

    @Skiffer: Somehow I don’t see that argument flying in court. umm, Your honor…I know that the police nabbed me with GHB, but you see…you have to lick it in order for it to actually become GHB…so I should be not guilty.

    Not gonna happen!

  26. faust1200 says:

    @keith4298: You are right. The chemical in the dots is what is known as a “ghb analogue” which is just as illegal as GHB unless you are a company using it for its intended industrial purposes.

  27. Cera says:

    Even if the glue used for these Aqua Dots was made by a different company, the company that is using the glue for this toy has a responsiblity to make sure the product they ordered from another company is safe. By using the glue, and not making sure there wasn’t anything wrong with it, they became liable for any problems just as the company that is actually producing the glue has made themselves liable. I don’t blame the parents for not wanting to replace the product with a different one. I wouldn’t accept anything from them either after this.

    Just on a side note, however. I was watching the news one evening when they were discussing the issue with Aqua Dots. They were showing a girl who had swallowed some. This girl looked like she was at least ten-years-old. How is it that a ten-year-old child doesn’t know not to put something like that in her mouth?

  28. BensAngel says:

    They’re providing full refunds in some countries… is it a manufacturer’s or distributor’s decision/policy?


    Let’s see some real investigative journalism here rather than a rehash of somebody else’s story. How about an international perspective on an international issue (i.e. rather than a USA-centric one)? There must be more to this, go get ’em Consumerist.

  29. Mr. Gunn says:

    faust1200 – unless you are a company using it for its inten…: Which one could argue they were.

    Yes, this will be the fifth post where I remind everyone that GHB IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN A DATE RAPE DRUG.

    It’s stupid media scare tactic with no basis in reality, and I’m ashamed the consumerist continually fails to recognize this.

  30. BensAngel says:

    @Mr. Gunn: Dude, get off your soapbox. GHB is commonly considered and accepted as being a date rape drug. That you don’t accept this doesn’t make your opinion correct.

    DRD – []
    GHB – []

  31. tadowguy says:

    You could totally sell those to frat guys and make a profit ;)

  32. rich815 says:

    Read the recall notice people!

    “…for free replacement beads or a toy of equal value.”

    What the heck is wrong with that? They will REPLACE the beads as an option not FORCE you to take another toy. Seems an important element of the recall was left our here. That was irresponsible. Why did you leave that part out Ben?

  33. MrEvil says:

    Heh, I was in the local Toys R Us Monday replacing a back office printer. They still had the US version of Aquadots on the shelf. I didn’t pay attention to the name, just saw that contraption on the box.

  34. Sidecutter says:

    @trecool95: They came up with a non-toxic version to begin with. The company that won the contract then proceeded to switch materiels after the fact to make more money on the deal. They no doubt never gave Spin master any reason to suspect they had done so, since the replacement visibly worked the same as the specified adhesive that was undoubtedly entirely safe.

    This is something cheap contracted labor does on a regular basis.

  35. Mr. Gunn says:

    BensAngel – I can cite wikipedia, too.
    Here’s a study supporting my original point.

  36. ceriphim says:

    @TMurphy: Feel bad for the company? Four words for you:


    Ultimately they chose to have their products manufactured where they did for good reason. Was it cheaper in the long run to have them made in China and have to issue a recall instead of just having them made state-side? Sadly, it very well might be.