Firstly, Amazon handled this beautifully. I purchased one of these Giraffes and after noticing the "fake" complaints, I went out and purchased one from Barnes & Noble and did a compare. Even though the "quality" of the one I purchased from Amazon seemed "ok", there was clear issues & errors with the packaging and toy itself that were dead giveaways. The one I bought was actually SOLD by Amazon. When I called their customer service, they immediately refunded the money and opened an investigation on their distributor. Please - everyone BEWARE, though I love Amazon, I would not purchase this product online. You have no idea what type of paint and rubber is used on the fake ones and taking the chance is not worth the few extra bucks savings. See pictures below for example of the issues on the fake. Some key things to point out:
1. On the real and fake one, the serial number and (c) SLG were on example the same spot 2. The font and colors were "off" on the fake one's packaging 3. There was spelling mistakes. My favorite is misspelling of Hevea tree. 4. The font and coloring on the packaging is different 5. On the bottom, I had a sticker that said "imported by Callison" vs. nothing on the fake 6. Hooves are bigger and more "defined" on the real one
I hope this helps everyone looking to purchase one of these great toys.
Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mold! We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mold!
Update 1/17- Due to the increased interest in this review, I thought I would elaborate. I am a neat freak. I clean everything more often than I probably should. I have pipe cleaning brushes to clean my kids' sippy cups. I don't have squeeze-y toys in the bathtub. I did not put hot glue over the hole, because that pops right out if it's chewed enough and it would've become a choking hazard. I know how to clean. I spot cleaned Sophie following the directions. She never went in the tub, dishwasher or a boiling pot of water as all of those methods would've obviously gotten more water in the hole. This mold growth was due to excessively drooly babies using it for over two years for it's intended purpose- a teething toy. I realize this will not be everyone's experience, but it was mine.
We've had it for about 10 months before comparing with an authentic one and finding out that ours was fake. The body is thicker and has very unpleasant chemical smell which never goes away. Real one would have a pleasant rubber smell. Who knows what kind of chemical our baby has been sucking on... Also, the paint is pretty much gone now.
After learning that these Vulli Sophie giraffes were regularly counterfeited, I did my research and found this one, sold by Amazon.com themselves at the time, assuming it was "the real thing". Now I'm not so sure.
Either way, it's pretty much junk. I've had it for about six months and my son has played with it maybe fifteen times. And he doesn't even have any teeth yet. The paint is coming completely off, the rubber is cracking in multiple places, and it is seemingly always grungy though it rarely gets used. In fact, it's so gross and probably bacteria-riddled due to the many fissures in its exterior that I won't even let my son play with it any more.
I bought into the hipster hype for this thing and it let me down. For an insanely expensive glorified dog chew toy, you'd think it would be more robust. It isn't.
I received Sophie today, and immediately opened the box and checked for the requisite serial number all the other reviewers say exists. It's there. And the box looks real. And Sophie smells like she should. And she's the right size. And the serial number is imprinted. And the copyright mark is imprinted after the serial number. And she squeaks and there are no misspellings on the packaging and there's a sticker on the bottom of the box, and, and, and. . .
And all of this adds up to NOTHING. I just spent a half an hour reading reviews and comparing pictures to my Sophie and making myself pretty crazy in general. I still don't know if this is a genuine item, and I really don't care. I'm returning it and will be buying Sophie from a local retailer listed on the Sophie USA website. I should buy locally more often anyway (Goals!). The extra cash I'll have to shell out is minimal and worth a lot less than the time I've already spent visiting Fake Sophie Stress Land.
Amazon, I love you. This is not the end of our relationship by any stretch of the imagination. But when it comes to a rather expensive, classic toy that is going into my child's MOUTH, I'm not going to stress out over a possible knock-off--no matter how good it is. 3 stars because I just don't know if this is good or not.