Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Help Me Howard: Foul Mouthed Phone
Talking toys are nothing new. But listen up, you probably haven't heard one talk like this. A South Florida mother says a toy cell phone she bought is teaching her daughter words inappropriate for children, so she dialed Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser to see what could be done about this Foul Mouthed Phone.
WSVN -- It is a great time of the year. Time for decorations, time for kids to dream of opening presents on Christmas morning, and the time for parents to work with Santa to find out just what to put under the tree for little girls like Makyla.
Makyla: "What color is this?"
Miya Brewton: "Well, you should tell me."
When Miya buys something for her 3-year-old it has to do two things. Entertain her.
Makyla: "I am painting for my mommy."
Entertain her but more importantly, educate her.
Miya Brewton: "So I went out to purchase this little phone. It wasn't expensive, but it was educational, very important."
The phone was supposed to teach Makyla how to count.
Miya bought it last Christmas. With so many gifts, Makyla put it aside, then a few months ago, Miya found out Makyla had started using the phone.
Miya Brewton: "With the "B" word and I asked where did you learn this, and she said, 'Mommy, this one says it.'"
Makyla said she learned the word from her phone, so Miya started punching the keys.
Miya Brewton: "It should be six and instead it rhymes with itch."
Four sounds sorta like four but not to Miya.
Miya Brewton: "Number four I am hearing the 'W' word."
You could argue a bad speaker distorts the words, but a cheap part can't turn six into this.
Miya Brewton: "I was taken aback, appalled, just shocked, not even believing that someone would do this to a child's toy."
Miya called the store. They offered her money back, but when she saw it was still being sold, she decided to call Help Me Howard.
Miya Brewton: "Mainly to make other parents aware that there are toys out there and just buyer beware. Test the toys to make sure you are getting what you pay for."
But if someone did program this children's toy to say what a 3-year-old and her think it's saying, is that illegal Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "It is not illegal, it's just a breach of contract, and clearly Miya should get her money back. The more complicated issue, was the child damaged by learning a curse word? Trying to prove that would be challenging, because it would be difficult to put a price tag on the psychological damage to a young child by hearing the curse words."
When we played the recording for the corporate spokesperson in Illinois, she said she couldn't speak about something played over the phone. In other words, she couldn't be sure it was saying what Miya says it's saying. The spokesperson also told us that they checked and cannot find any other complaints about this phone. Makyla is now making her Christmas list. Miya will check it twice before she buys it and after, and she doesn't need a gift. Hers came three years ago.
Miya Brewton: "She is my miracle baby, especially being told I would never be able to have kids."
Patrick Fraser: "And the holidays are all about the kids, so the question, how did the phone say what it seems to be saying? No one can be certain. It might be a bad speaker or someone's idea of a bad joke, and we did buy another phone from the company. It sounded fine.
A foul situation left you fuming? Don't start cussing, just count to 10, the ten digits of our phone number cause legal work is just child's play, but don't tell the lawyers that.
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