5 On Your Side

Family Experiences Problem Interacting With Webkinz Online

Posted December 19, 2007
Updated December 20, 2007

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— Real pets are great, but they can be a lot of work and expensive to care for. A less expensive option is Webkinz. They are stuffed toys that cost anywhere from $15 to $30.

Each pet comes with its own individual code used to sign up on the Webkinz Web site. Owners can then play with their virtual pet and take care of it online.

Belinda and Michael Davis bought several for their daughters.

“It teaches them responsibility with feeding. You have to play every day so your pet will remain healthy,” said Belinda Davis.

The only problem was that the Davises couldn't access their pets online.

“When you buy a new one, you have to log in the code. I go to [the] new member [section] and I get a blank screen. So therefore, I can't play – and it's been going on since June,” said Belinda Davis.

The Davis’ computer was new and fulfilled the Webkinz system requirements. The blank screen problem was listed in the help section of the Webkinz Web site.

Michael Davis, who is computer savvy, tried all of the solutions listed, but none worked. However, he was able to get it to work if he tied into his work computer from home, which duplicates all of his work computer's settings.

“The only difference between this computer and my computer at work – my computer at work has Internet Explorer 6. This has Internet Explorer 7, which is the latest and the greatest. So this computer here actually has an upgrade from the one I use at work,” Michael Davis said.

The Davises called the Webkinz manufacturer, Ganz, repeatedly, but never got through. They also sent e-mails. After three months, they finally got a call back, but it didn't help.

Michael Davis called the situation “absolutely frustrating.”

So the Davises called 5 on Your Side. A quick Internet search revealed a lot of people have the same problem with white screens, as well as other issues. Many people also said the customer support was little help.

Ganz spokeswoman Susan McVeigh told WRAL they take care of most complaints in "three to five days." She admitted to "bad handling" of the Davis' complaint.

She also said the most recent number the Davises were calling wasn’t the right number. They said it was the number they were given.

Regardless, a Ganz representative has since called the Davises. The problem turned out to be a program plug-in. The Davis' home computer was apparently too new, and their version of Internet Explorer defaulted to the wrong player plug-in.

Ganz said Real Player has to be turned off for Webkinz to open. Another option that worked for the Davises and others – open Webkinz using Firefox instead of Internet Explorer.

The Davis' Webkinz problem has been fixed, so the girls can finally interact with Webkinz. Their parents just wanted to make others aware of the issue.

“I just, you know, hate to see a lot of people lose a lot of money during this time of season,” said Belinda Davis,  “and the kids be disappointed at Christmas."

15 Comments

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  • l-rae17 Dec 21, 7:37 p.m.

    hahaha. Webkinz. What a joke. Whatever happened to kids going outside and playing with sticks and kickballs.

    i know a boy in middle school - he lines his Webkinz up in a row and talks to them. And teaching responsiblity? I doubt that. He's one of the laziest kids I know.

  • -info- Dec 21, 7:32 p.m.

    another chittychat avenue, to entertain the little darlings

  • annculter Dec 21, 5:03 p.m.

    Myrrdin --

    You beat me to it! I was going to comment the same thing.

  • maadkowz Dec 21, 6:58 a.m.

    Firefox is superior to any version of IE. I would take IE off my computer entirely if it wasn't for the fact Windows only gets its software updates through IE.

  • Ready for Summer Dec 20, 9:49 p.m.

    My kids love to play with their webkinz online. They have had a problem though a couple of times after they logged their new pets in with the site closing out for some odd reason and telling them to return again. When they returned they had lost the items that were given to them when they had registered their new pet. I found it to be strange but wasn't sure if it was a site problem or what.

  • Liam Dec 20, 9:14 p.m.

    My daughter has at least 20 Webkins and has never had a problem taking care of her virtual pet on their website everyday for the past 5 months. All of her girlfriends do it too. Something's got to be wrong with their computer.

  • Rolling Along Dec 20, 1:45 p.m.

    Gee gotta love those high tech toys...now were is my Teddy Ruxpin LOL

  • FragmentFour Dec 20, 10:22 a.m.

    Firefox is a great improvement over any version of IE. However the company's blather about the family not calling the right number is pure drivel, and saying the IE7 was "too new" is same. In those six months, Webkinz had MORE than enough time to update its plug-ins.

  • imback Dec 20, 9:50 a.m.

    "It teaches them responsibility with feeding. You have to play every day so your pet will remain healthy,” said Belinda Davis."

    Uh, no it doesnt. Thats a parent trying to rationalize their gift. My daughter hasnt gotten more responsible from playing with webkinz. They love because they can go online, talk to their friends and play in the rooms. Its a racket, just like a pet rock.

  • UNC81 Dec 20, 9:17 a.m.

    This is a really small issue to bring in the big guns on - these sound like the kind of people who drive across town to collect the $.02 Bojangles shorted them and make it out to everyone like they were just shorted $50k. Doesn't sound like it was an issue with Webkinz anyways, it was an IE plugin issue.

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