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Toys R Us layaway problems almost "ruin" Christmas for Cape mom

Matt Grant

Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Toys R Us layaway problems almost "ruin" Christmas for Cape mom

CREATED Dec. 13, 2012

CAPE CORAL - UPDATE - Stacey Brand's daughter will be getting exactly what she wants for Christmas.

After a Fort Myers Toys R Us lost a hard to find toy chest which she put on layaway, a Toys R Us regional manager from the Tampa-Bay area personally drove to Brand's home Thursday night to hand deliver the Monster High toy chest free of charge.

ORIGINAL STORY

A layaway mix up at a Fort Myers Toys R Us could have "ruined" Christmas for a Cape Coral family - until Fox 4 stepped in.

Stacey Brand got her hands on a hard to find toy back in October and put it on layaway. But after she paid it off, she was told the Fort Myers Toys R Us lost it. 

Every year it seems there is always one toy every kids want sending moms like Brand on a holiday hunt to find the perfect present.

"Nothing can experience the smile on a child's face Christmas morning," said Brand, "when they get that one gift that they want."

For her 8-year-old daughter Gabby that one gift is a toy chest to hold her doll collection from a show called "Monster High," an animated series about a high school of ghosts and monsters.

"I would say [she is] a little obsessed with it," said Brand laughing. "Definitely so."

Her daughter's obsession includes dolls, a karaoke machine, a diary and T-shirts. But it was a $21 Monster High toy chest that she really wanted this year.

In October Brant found it at the Fort Myers Toys R Us and put it on layaway with $150 worth of presents.

Toys R Us and other retailers have been hyping layaway, where the store holds on to an item until it's paid off in installments.

Toys R Us has no service fees for layaway but customers have to pay 20 percent upfront.
 
Brand says she paid everything off last week. But when she went to the store to pick everything up she was told a "computer glitch" wiped out their layaway records, she said.
  
"I was so excited I couldn't wait," said Brand. "Her little face and everything was just going to be so precious and they robbed me of that."

When Toys R Us told her they couldn't find the toy chest Brant drove more than an hour to Port Charlotte and Naples from her home in Cape Coral to look for the item - but every store she went to was sold out.

Fox 4 found one Monster High toy chest left on Amazon selling for $85.95 - more than quadruple what she initially paid. A similar toy chest was listed on Amazon for $63.99. There is also one left.

"Unfortunately," Brand, who is a single mother said, "I cannot afford to spend that much money."

So Fox 4 stepped in and called Toys R Us' corporate office.

"As soon as we learned of Ms. Brand's experience we immediately reached out to her to ensure we secured all of the items she had put on layaway," said Toys R Us spokeswoman Jennifer Albano."We are in the process of delivering those items to her."

We were there when a Toys R Us district manager contacted Brand. The manager told her found a toy chest in Clearwater and was going to personally deliver it to her Thursday night.

Best of all, she was told, it's now free.

"It's very great news," said Brand, wiping away tears. "I'm sorry. I'm just so happy."

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com

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