Tonka Truck Bursts into Flames: What To Do When It All Goes Wrong


Toys “R” Us has put a stop-sale on the Tonka 12V Ride-On Dump Truck after one burst into flames in the back of a customer’s vehicle.

Roxsane and Delmond Harden were headed home from Toys “R” Us after purchasing the truck for their grandson when they noticed flames from the bed of their pickup. “Sparks and smoke coming from inside of the box, like fire,” Roxsane recalled. “So we pulled over. Flames start shooting.” The flames, 15 to 20 feet high, weren’t able to be put out by state troopers, who then called the fire department to come extinguish the fire.

Although this seems to be an isolated incident, many customers have left poor online reviews citing other battery problems.

Toys “R” Us responded quickly to the mishap: “Although this appears to be an isolated incident, out of an abundance of caution we are implementing a stop-sale and pulling the item from our stores and pending further investigation. In the meantime, we are working closely with Dynacraft, the manufacturer, to determine the cause.”

“That is the way to go. Good for Toys “R” Us,” said Delmond Harden.

Although a faulty product or bad review is never ideal, there are ways to handle the complaint that will minimize the negative affect on your business. Here are some tips on how to handle the situation when your company comes under fire.

Own the mistake (explain, and apologize)

If there’s something your customer isn’t happy with, ensure they feel they’ve been heard.  Don’t deny it! 67 percent of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, so you don’t want to turn this into a very public game of ‘He Said She Said’ – a lot more damage can be done in a back-and-forth exchange on Twitter than if you apologize and show you can handle criticism gracefully.


Offer to correct it to the best of your ability

Do your best to correct the mistake. Did an online order take too long or show up damaged? Offer to refund the cost of shipping. Was an employee rude to them over the phone? Let them know there’s a little something waiting for them next time they come in.


Whatever the resolution, make it public

It’s pretty easy for you, as a brand owner, to ignore negative press online. But bad reviews on Google, Amazon or Etsy left unaddressed can be detrimental to your bottom line. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust an online review (including social media callouts) just as much as they trust a friend’s recommendation. If you’re going to explain, apologize and correct an issue, do it on the public forum they reached out to you on. You want future customers to see that even if a past customer wasn’t completely happy with your business, you worked to make it right. It builds consumers’ trust with your brand.

Image courtesy of Littler, Caryn / Courtesy Harden Family