Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Einstein Refunds

Looks like I'm not the only one apprehensive about plopping my baby in front of a Baby Einstein video. If you're unsatisfied with a Baby Einstein DVD that was bought between June 5, 2004 and Sept. 5, 2009, Disney will refund ($15.99) or exchange the DVD for a book or music CD (up to four per household).

Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has been pressing lawsuits for years, claiming that baby videos -- such as Baby Einstein -- are harmful. Because of Linn's persistence, the company dropped the word "educational" from their marketing in 2006, but Linn wanted further action: Accountability and compensation for their "unfair and deceptive practices."

A letter from Linn's lawyers cites studies that show television exposure between ages 1 and 3 is "associated with attention problems at age 7." And educational or not, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under 2.

To read about the new refund, read this. Here's what Linn had to say about it:
"We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds."
But is it an acknowledgment? According to Susan McLain, the general manager of Baby Einstein, this refund is just an extension of the customer-satisfaction refund that has always been in place, but it's basically just to get Linn off of their backs: "We strongly believe that, unlike Linn, our customers find value in our product, and rather than continue to fight with her, we decided to leave it up to those consumers."

Looks like Linn is the nagging gnat that won't die. Here's McLain's side of the story:
"For the past several years, Baby Einstein has been under attack by propoganda groups taking extreme positions that try to dictate what parents should do, say and buy. Our philosophy has always been to focus on creating products that parents and babies love, and to not get sidetracked and pulled down into their street fight.

Unfortunately, with Susan Linn's latest stunt, we cannot be silent any longer. Linn's obvious dislike for Baby Einstein has now turned into a sensational, headline-grabbing publicity campaign that seeks to twist and spin a simple, customer satisfaction action into a false admission of guilt. This is clearly not the case.

Linn's moves are carefully crafted to prey on parental guilt and uncertainty...Linn’s latest public relations blitz simply distorts the facts and misleads the public. In the end, this smear campaign has everything to do with Linn trying to generate ink and funding for her cause, and not about the value that consumers find in our product."
I think it needs to be said that Baby Einstein does offer redeeming products, such as developmental toys, books and CDs.

What do you think? Will you be sending back your DVDs? Do you really feel duped by the Big Bad Baby Einstein? I mean -- what rational parent really thinks that a child can become a genius through the boob tube?

No comments:

Post a Comment