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Discussion Starter #1
So last year the day after Halloween I bought a pop up zombie. I took him out of the box a few weeks ago to use him he popped up 3 times and then made this very loud clicking sound and quit working! I was pissed. So I find the receipt and pack it up and go to the store. I told them I bought it and the first time I tried to use it died. The girl says there is nothing they can do. I said listen I used it once I have the receipt and that I spend a fortune in their store. She said let me call my regional manager I heard her telling the person the receipt says all sales final and I'm thinking....just great. Finally she says that they will replace it and that she had to call around to locate one. She called a couple other stores and said she found one and that it will take a week to get transferred here (which would be 10/17). That girl tells me I can keep the one I have or leave it there. So I take it because I'm not going to be stuck with nothing. So I get there Friday and they tell me that they don't have the new one they were supposed to but they could SELL me the floor model! WTH!! I said sell me....they told me they were going to replace it. They disappear and come back after about 10 minutes and say they can give me the floor model but it is cracked on the bottom. I said I don't care as long as it works. They tell me oh yeah it works. So I have to give them the one I had after the girl previously told me I could keep it! It's a good thing I did not take it apart to try to fix it like I was going to! So I grab the floor model after waiting another 10 minutes while they act all weird and box it up. I took it home and the place where you plug in the floor pad it pulled out but it works.

So what I learned about all this: Once you leave the store after buying something is to put anything you buy from them together right away and let in run for a while. Half of the stuff is made poorly and breaks right away. They do not care about their customers and making things right. There also is very poor communication. I have had a few bad transactions with them and I will be very leery what I buy from them now. This year I have been able to locate several of their items elsewhere ALOT CHEAPER and that is where I made my purchases. I will also be righting to the company about this.
 

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So I just went to there site and this is what I just found:
Q: What is your In Store Return Policy?

A: Our SPIRIT Halloween stores are seasonal locations which are usually open from the end of August to the beginning of November. You have until October 17,2014 to make any returns or exchanges as long as the products are unworn, has the original accessories, are in new condition, and in their original packaging. You will also need to have your receipt. After October 17,2014 all sales become final.

So if you buy something after Oct. 17 and it doesn't work you are basically **** out of luck! This is crap! How are you supposed to know if the item even works!!?? Not sure if I will be buying anything from them anymore!
 

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So how are you supposed to know if something works? This is very poor customer service. Even if you buy something off someone on ebay you are better off. They don't tell you any of this as you are checking out either. So I want to make sure everyone here knows because I did not have a clue!
 

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I think it was great customer service IMHO. Not only did they fix the situation with an item bought after the 17'th, but it was also a clearance item, (don't say as I know anywhere that refunds/replaces clearance bought items) and was also well out of a standard stores 30 day policy. I get being upset when something doesn't work, but, again, they did take care of the situation even though they had an absolute legal right (and again let's face it, after a year it has nothing to do with morals) to just apologize. Now if it was bought on the 17'th and an issue was found within a few days, I could see an issue with not wanting to exchange the item, but with their policies in place, I wouldn't even or consider a refund.
 

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Hey everyone,

I used to be a Spirit Store Manager and the policy is a tough one. The policy exists for several reasons; first because it is a holiday retail store. They set the deadline for RETURNS at mid-month every year because people will seriously wear a costume to a party, and then bring it into the store for a refund. I myself, have seen this attempted almost 100 times in my three years with Sprit. The best was a girl that had clearly spilled jungle juice all over her sexy cop costume and wanted her $65 dollar back, SORRY SWEETIE!

The second reason for the cut off date is because people put the props outside, they get wet, and they die. Most of the props say on this lower right corner of the back of the box if they are for indoor or sheltered outdoor use. Most of the pop-up cemetery guys are not supposed to get damp from dew, rain, etc. and it fries the junk wiring done by the experts in China. If Sprit took back all the props that fried from improper use through the month of October, their profits would tank.

IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: All sales are final after the mid-month deadline as printed on every recipt. However, Sprit wants happy customers. If you bought a prop and take it out of the box several days later and their is a problem, take it back to the store you bought it at and ask for a replacement. If it is in stock, most store managers will do it, but not all. Damages are counted weekly along with loss (theft), both which count against their end-of-year bonus check. So by taking back your broken prop, it is directly a hit against their already underpaid salary.

Anything bought from a previous year, or at the day-after clearance sale, forget it. If it was a company that was open year round it would be a stretch, but a company that keeps its inventory in storage PODS from November through August every year, they don't want anything extra kicking around. Buying at the half-off clearance day is a gamble. All purchases are final no matter what, it sucks for the consumer but is only logical for the company.

DID YOU KNOW: You can try any prop for sale IN STORE?! Ask an associate for help - take the time to test the product in-store if you are concerned, just make sure you don't lose anything in the process. The stores want happy, repeat, money dumping Halloween fans as customers. Shop smart. I hope that someday Spirit sells higher-quality products at more realistic prices - but I doubt I will ever see that day.

@Chaserbug: I am really sorry to hear that you had to deal with that situation. Worst yet is the managers whispering and making YOU feel like YOU were the one who did something WRONG. At best, they should have been straight forward with you and said that it is not the company's policy to honor such an exchange, but that they were going to do everything in their power to make it right. They had no business making you feel bad about it when you were already disappointed that what you bought was a piece of poo poo. I am glad that in the end it all worked out, but buyer beware - shopping at Spirit can be scary stuff!
 

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Also, the dreaded clicking sound is stripped gears. Very common in the TekkyToys products. Absolutely NOT YOUR FAULT! Just poor quality manufacturing. It is the most common return spirit gets for animatronics. I saw more jumping spiders and grave jumpers come back for that reason than I care to think about. The actual Store Models (not just a regular one that they put on display because their store model never arrived) are built better quality. They come in plain brown boxes with the prop name and squ on the box. The Store Model props have larger gears designed to handle going off thousands of times a day in the store, if you get a true brown box prop - you are very very lucky, they will last considerably longer than the off-the-shelf version.
 

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I have had good luck going directly to Spirit's Customer Service (via email). I have gotten quick responses and they always fix my problem and then go above and beyond to make me happy. Once, I purchased a few items online and they were never delivered. This was the Post Office's fault as Spirit had sent the items. They still replaced all of my things and gave me a $25 gift card. Another time, I ordered some really cheap freaky fabric and they forgot 2 of them. The cardboard packaging was inside the box, but no freaky fabric. I let customer service know and even though they were out of the super cheap clearance freaky fabric I originally ordered, they let me pick another higher-valued freaky fabric (a $7 difference). Then they sent not 2, but 4 freaky fabrics for my troubles. All free of charge.

If you have a problem with Spirit Online, don't be afraid to email customer service. I was pleasantly surprised. :D
 

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Irrespective of the return policy, I've just found so much of Spirit's stuff to be junk.

Maybe it's because I've gotten more into building my old stuff, or maybe I'm just at that age of discernment, but I'm not going to pay too much for cheap plastic crap made in China that doesn't hold up worth a damn.

Just my two cents.
 

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I'm really not sure how to respond to this. I'll start off by saying I understand your frustration and anger about spending money for a prop that malfunctions or doesn't work after just a short time and you don't have much recourse. I will say it's really more the fault of the manufacturer than the store and when it comes to animated props maybe there are certain manufacturers you want to avoid.

For anything electronic it's always a good idea to test it out upon buying. Things are made so cheaply these days the internal components are not always of the highest quality. And to be honest even non-animated, static props are very cheaply made. You use to get a reaper with a nice solid plastic face and now it's either a thin plastic or just shaped styrofoam. You use to get a decent fabric and now so many of these static props are just landscape fabric-like material with gauze over it.

Spirit's return/exchange policy has always been published. My stores have always had it posted near the registers (not unlike HomeGoods, TJMmaxx, etc) and it appears on the receipt. I'd be willing to bet there were signs in your store somewhere as well and it's really always up to the consumer to ask prior to purchase what their return/exchange policies are. There was a time when I seem to recall all sales at Spirit were final even at the beginning of the season. As you mentioned you now have until mid-October to bring something back. Other seasonal stores like Halloween City last I checked were strictly All Sales Final. it's been a well known policy that Spirit's 50% off After Halloween Day Sales are Final. In my stores come the Day After the place is plastered with All Sales Final signs.

As for buying off e bay, yes you do get some protection thru e bay itself but as we've sometimes commented on HF, the prices can also be inflated. When people pay retail or above, companies can factor in returns in the prices they are charging; when items get deeply discounted sadly there's not much room for them to deal with defective mdse from manufacturers. Seasonal companies are simply not set up to store merchandise or make returns to mfgrs for credit.

I guess you could always buy your props early in the season from Spirit and test them out for a while prior to the cut off exchange/return period or simply avoid buying any props from seasonal stores that have similar store policies. Based on how popular the Day After Sales are and how the store gets cleared out of mdse then, myself and others seem to be OK with taking the risk of All Sales Final and I have many wonderful props that do work fine from that timeframe. I did have a Flaming Skull prop motor not work, but for the $12-15 I probably paid for it, it's still a nice prop and one day I might replace the motor but have used it as is.
 

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When you buy a spirit "animatronic" and it's made by a company called "Tekky Toys", that's what you're getting; a toy. They are nothing more than cheaply made toys with plastic gears and small underpowered motors that simply are not made to last or withstand a lot of use. Right now in our spirit store at least half of the display animatronics are not functioning, and many haven't worked right since the store opened around Labor Day, and please don't say it's because they run all day every day for weeks. Shouldn't they be able to do that? I feel bad for the OP's trouble with the company but its a case of buyer beware and "you get what you pay for" all rolled into one. I purchased two real animatronics from Distortions this year and there is simply no comparison in terms of quality. Again, you get what you pay for. Sadly, spirit is the sole sponsor of the forum here so negative reviews are probably not looked upon favorably but over the years here there are dozen's of threads about their props malfunctioning after a very short use period. Buy it and it breaks and you're essentially hosed if you can't return it within a certain time. As far as tech support, forget it. I called Distortions directly with a question and talked to Jeanine, one of the owners! Again, there is no comparison to be made.
 
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....I used to be a Spirit Store Manager and the policy is a tough one. The policy exists for several reasons; first because it is a holiday retail store. They set the deadline for RETURNS at mid-month every year because people will seriously wear a costume to a party, and then bring it into the store for a refund. I myself, have seen this attempted almost 100 times in my three years with Sprit. The best was a girl that had clearly spilled jungle juice all over her sexy cop costume and wanted her $65 dollar back, SORRY SWEETIE! ....

I was going to say something to this affect too. Not at all saying this has anything to do with Chaerbug's situation, but policies get made because stuff like this happens. I'm embarrased to say but I once had a friend who bought an expensive dress because she liked it and didn't like other dresses more in her price range and stuck the tag inside the dress and wore it to an event and then returned it because...well it was more than she felt it was worth or really could afford. I was appauled that she even had the balls to tell anyone what she had done. But yeah, unfortunately over the years I've encountered more people like this. Really disgusting and honestly makes me feel like how could anyone want to run a business these days when you get customers like this and worse.

I also see a trend where people will break things to either get a discount on the item or expect to keep it for free while still expecting a new replacement. Heck even my Goodwills encounter the intentional breaking and/or removal of pricing stickers hoping to get a lower price on second go round, and try to halt this by pulling the item they want off the store shelves for a period of time. And this is a charity organization trying to raise funds to help those in need! I mean how low can people go? It really makes people and those with legitimate issues suffer when policies get changed to combat the higher costs. The only way for companies to absorb these costs when they have a customer base who abuses the situation is to raise prices or go out of business down the road or just fill their stores with cheaper merchandise. Got to be one or the other to survive.

Policies get put into place for abuses like this and we all lose out.
 

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I hope Tekky Toys is listening,I'll never have anything good to say about them or their"support",and I will never buy anything Tekky again.
If you build quality stuff people will be back to buy more,build junk and lose sales.IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I honestly had no idea they had this return policy and I think it's crap. It should be at the manager's discretion in certain instances. I buy from them after Halloween because I can't afford most of the items any other way. I don't have a lot of money so it pisses me off even worse when stuff doesn't work. One year I ordered a Halloween costume from them in August and a week before Halloween it still was not here and my son missed out on several parties. They made no attempt to make it right. I said then I would never buy from them again but when a store popped up near me I gave in. You could tell my item was new it was spotless and had all the packing. I did not want a refund I wanted an item that worked. Like I said most reputable companies would try to make it right. I'm hoping that hopefully I can make people in here aware so they know in advance they could be throwing there $ away. At least that way you have a choice. I also don't like being told by one person that a new item will be there and then I get there and it's not. I was told a lot of different things by them and I don't appreciate being jerked around. They are lucky they were not dealing with my husband.
 

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When you buy a spirit "animatronic" and it's made by a company called "Tekky Toys", that's what you're getting; a toy. They are nothing more than cheaply made toys with plastic gears and small underpowered motors that simply are not made to last or withstand a lot of use. Right now in our spirit store at least half of the display animatronics are not functioning, and many haven't worked right since the store opened around Labor Day, and please don't say it's because they run all day every day for weeks. Shouldn't they be able to do that? I feel bad for the OP's trouble with the company but its a case of buyer beware and "you get what you pay for" all rolled into one. I purchased two real animatronics from Distortions this year and there is simply no comparison in terms of quality. Again, you get what you pay for. Sadly, spirit is the sole sponsor of the forum here so negative reviews are probably not looked upon favorably but over the years here there are dozen's of threads about their props malfunctioning after a very short use period. Buy it and it breaks and you're essentially hosed if you can't return it within a certain time. As far as tech support, forget it. I called Distortions directly with a question and talked to Jeanine, one of the owners! Again, there is no comparison to be made.

Because many of us go all out decorating way more than the standard lit pumpkin, we probably get way more kids to our house and more wear and tear on our props getting activated. Honestly I don't think Tekky Toys, Gemmy or other manufacturers like them make their props for those "heavy hitter" haunters. I see them as made for a family setting, many times for use in your house (inside or covered area) for a party or to entertain your kids. Maybe for ToTing numbering 30-50-100. Really doubt they are designed for haunts set up for days on end or more and really doubt they are meant to handle hundreds of kids. That really is approaching a light professional haunt use IMO.

I'm pretty sure we have multiple sponsors on here BTW. Spirit being one of the more generous I'm sure.
 

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How many Haunters are Members of this Forum? Are we all Spirit customers? Do they want to lose Customers?Can't the ***** to Tekky about the quality of their Props?Will they? Hummmm.
 

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Because many of us go all out decorating way more than the standard lit pumpkin, we probably get way more kids to our house and more wear and tear on our props getting activated. Honestly I don't think Tekky Toys, Gemmy or other manufacturers like them make their props for those "heavy hitter" haunters. I see them as made for a family setting, many times for use in your house (inside or covered area) for a party or to entertain your kids. Maybe for ToTing numbering 30-50-100. Really doubt they are designed for haunts set up for days on end or more and really doubt they are meant to handle hundreds of kids. That really is approaching a light professional haunt use IMO.

I'm pretty sure we have multiple sponsors on here BTW. Spirit being one of the more generous I'm sure.
Spirit is the SOLE sponsor of the board. There are no others, even though other vendors have attempted to become sponsors, spirit seems to have the say in this.
When a prop breaks or malfunctions after 2-3 hours use or even after one season of running for a few hours on Halloween night, it's poorly made. This is not uncommon for these props. Regardless of how many TOT's you get or whether it is an indoor party haunt or a Halloween night, if the thing won't work and they won't make it right, you've bought crap. Perhaps they should include a disclaimer with their animatronics that they are not meant for heavy use and that activating more than X amount of times may result in breakage, or would that discourage people from buying them?
 

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Here's the biggest problem...

we all are cheap! we demand something that looks good, and has two or three movements and with sound...for next to NOTHING. I understand $100 or more is not next to nothing for a lot o us but it is for what you are asking for. There's a reason these type props sold for $1,000 or up a few years ago. They were made with real parts that cost $10 to $20 to $30 just for one of the parts to build the item.

We are the reason the market went this way...

you asked for it and now you got it! cheap props that look good from a distant and gives you movement and makes noise

There are still outlets for well built props but most of us don't want to spend 5 to 10x the amount of the prop we can buy from china (I never bought one). There should be NO expectation on a return bought the year before. I'm sorry but you shouldn't be able to buy something after Halloween and expect to return it the next year. That is asking way too much from the seller.

We have more people than we want to believe that will buy something (not talking about the OP ) then use it and then return it expecting to get a refund. Or misuse the item and still expect a refund. All this does is drive up the price. Some people will buy something, use it for their party and then ask for a refund . Ebay is the worse for this as they usually always side with the buyer.

But back to this topic...there should not be any returns on something you are buying at 50-75% off you are getting a huge discount for your risk. Sometimes it pans out sometimes it doesn't
 

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When it comes to Spirit props, I have had a large majority break on me, but have also had several that have pushed through. (maybe because I only decorate for one night)

I will say that I have only ever managed to return one of my broken items and that's because I returned it the day after I bought it.

The manager at my store seems to be aware of all this. I have seen him approach people and actually say "I wouldn't buy that, it's not worth the money". I think he almost feels guilty about all the things breaking constantly, and he doesn't want to break Spirit's return policy.
 

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My Lurching Vampire quit after one season,The typical "clicking".I just now took it apart and found one of the drive gears had a tooth missing causing the problem.Im pretty sure you wont be able to buy the gear anywhere or even the complete assy,thanks Tekky.
Anybody else have one that just clicks?Typical junk.I'll probably change it to a pneumatic so I can get my moneys worth out of it.
Anyone with a 3D printer could make replacement parts,prolly hold up about the same.
 
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