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American Girl Hospital

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American Girl Doll Hospital logo.

The American Girl Hospital (or American Girl Doll Hospital) is a service provided by American Girl to send in damaged or worn dolls who are in need of repair or restoration. Rather than bill itself as a doll repair service, the theme is a hospital where dolls come in and are healed by a team of doctors. The hospital has been around since 1988 and only fixes authentic American Girl dolls. Age or retirement status of the doll is irrelevant as long as there are parts to perform repairs.

Interactive hospital-style "check-up" stations with doll doctors are available at the New York and Chicago American Girl Place locations.

Admittance and Restrictions

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The bandage logo of the American Girl Doll Hospital on a return box.

As of 2020, repairs are sectioned off into three categories: Doll Refresh and Renew; Doll Care and Repair, and Advanced Doll Care and Repair.

Dolls can either be shipped in from home (the form can be printed from the website) or admitted at an American Girl Place store. Dolls cannot be repaired on site at American Girl Place; when submitted at a store location, it is the same as sending from home. Forms are available in catalogs, online, or at American Girl Place. Dolls must be sent naked with no additional clothing or accessories (removable earrings must also be taken out) in a plain box with the admission form and payment. Free Shipping is available both ways for US customers; Canadian customers and international customers must pay additional shipping and delivery fees.

Due to multiple cases of unethical people sending in doll bodies to repurchase heads for resale or creating "Frankendolls", especially limited editions, replaced limbs and heads are no longer returned whatsoever and repurchase of head or body requires a complete doll to be sent in with both head and body. Parts that are replaced are not returned. All replacements or re-attachments include skin cleaning and hair brushing--wellness care--at no additional charge.

Limited Edition Dolls such as the Girls of the Year or archived dolls with unique features can be sent in for the same costs as a regular doll; the Hospital has limited amounts of unique retired head molds to replace damaged heads until supply is exhausted. (e.g. In June 2017, American Girl stated that they will no longer be able to do head replacements on Lindsey dolls as they have exhausted the supply.) Body repairs for active lines are not affected as they are less unique than specific head molds and designs. Older unique lines such as Hopscotch Hill School and Girls of Many Lands are no longer repairable.

In the case of head or limb replacement, if replacement would result in mismatched tones (such as sending in a Pre-Mattel doll for repair), a full body replacement may be made at no additional cost. Older dolls may come back with different skin tones or variations (such as a Kanani doll being returned with skin tones similar to #79). For archived dolls or dolls that are no longer available, the hospital will do their best to match the original parts, either with exact replacements or the closest alternatives if allowed; many people are offered a chance to refuse the repair if they have an older doll. If declined, the doll will be sent back with original parts.

Repairs take approximately two to four weeks, with an extra week for One of a Kind doll repairs. Delays occur during the end-of-year winter holiday rush due to volume, and the hospital recommends any doll send in by approximately mid-November in order to have the best chance to return by the holidays.

Highly customized dolls outside of One of a Kind dolls will most likely not be repaired, as these are considered altered dolls. American Girl no longer repairs dolls sent in from the United Kingdom as, due to changes in tax rules for packages shipped to UK residents from non-UK countries starting in Jan 2021, offering repair services is no longer financially feasible.[1] The Hospital reserves the right to refuse repairs at any time for any reason.

Free Repairs

Any defect caused by an American Girl product or factory defect with a doll, such as eyelash retraction, Silver Eye or bubble eye, defective limbs in Welliewishers, odd or discolored skin tones, or staining inflicted from an American Girl product, is fixed at no cost. This generally does not include dolls from the American Girl Benefit Sale with the exception of silver eye, as the dolls are purchased with defects expected. Doll receive the full hospital treatment.

When permanent underwear were shortly implemented, American Girl offered body replacements to replace the permanent underwear bodies through December 2018, with a full exchange of the entire torso. This was also offered when a series of new eyes were released and panned, with the company offering exchanges for the eyes (as they returned to prior styles) through 2019. These dolls were not given full hospital treatments and were sent back in plain pink paper gowns with no perks of standard hospital visits.

Discontinued Dolls

AG does not guarantee replacement parts will be available for dolls archived or retired more than ten years ago.[2] When American Girl exhausts the supply and are no longer able to do head replacements on particular dolls, dolls with unique features will be returned un-repaired if the head is the issue and in need of replacement, or the sender will be contacted with options for replacement if they so choose.

The following doll heads are known to be no longer available:

Girls of the Year

  • Lindsey Bergman: unavailable as of 2017.
  • Marisol Luna
  • Jess McConnell
  • Kanani Akina: The original supply of heads was exhausted in 2018. The hospital now offers head replacements with the newer version of the Jess mold and all of the doll's limbs are replaced to match the new skin tone.

Truly Me

Hospital Accessories

As part of the hospital theme of repairs, dolls are sent back with hospital admittance accessories in a storage box that is uniquely labeled with the Hospital logo.

18" Dolls are sent back with a hospital gown, an ID bracelet, a Certificate of Good Health, a "get well" balloon (later removed), a "Get Well Soon!" Card (since 2009) and a band-aid sticker (later removed). Starting in 2013, 18" dolls were returned wearing socks.

Bitty Babies and Bitty Twins are sent back with a hospital gown and hat, a Certificate of Good Health, a "Get Well Soon!" Card, and a bandage sticker (later removed); for safety reasons, a bracelet is not included.

WellieWisher dolls are sent back with a Certificate of Good Health, hospital gown, socks, and a "Get Well Soon!" Card.

When the Hopscotch Hill School characters were available, a hospital gown was available sized for the line.

The hospital gown and various accessories have been released in multiple versions to fit various sized dolls:

Starting in 2020, the following extra Hospital themed items could be added on with a hospital admittance:

Repairs Available for 18" Dolls

(includes Historical Characters/BeForever, Modern Dolls, Girls of the Year, Contemporary Characters, and One Of A Kind)

Doll Refresh and Renew

Wellness visit: The vinyl skin is cleaned, hair is brushed and restyled, and the doll is sent back with accessories. No major "surgery". This will not restore damaged hair (such as haircuts) or deep stains to the vinyl. Dolls will come back with original hair styles unless otherwise specified.
Eye replacement: Replacement of damaged eyes. Eye swapping to another color is not available; a doll will receive the same color of eyes she was sent in with.
Reattachment of head or limbs: Dolls sent in with detached or loose heads or limbs can have them attached. This also includes restringing a loose doll.

Doll Care and Repair

This includes any of the Doll Refresh and Renew services, along with one of the following:

New head: Exchange of the entire head. Heads will only be exchanged for the same head sent in. Heads will not be replaced if the original head is not sent in. This will repair any haircuts, paint damage, or stains on the head. Dolls will come back with original hair styles. This may also include any specific hair accessories, but this is not guaranteed; if not, basic hair ribbons are generally tied in as available. An option to have a bald head for modern dolls was made available in 2012. Replacement of wigs alone are not offered; a doll with a damaged wig must receive a completely new head to be repaired. If a doll had pierced ears, these will be replaced in the new doll at no additional charge.
New limbs: This includes any replacement of any or all limbs.
New torso: This includes any replacement of the cloth body.
New body (torso and limbs): Replacement of the entire body, minus the head. Bodies will not be replaced if the original body is not sent in.

Advanced Doll Care and Repair

This includes any of the Doll Refresh and Renew services, along with two or more of the services listed in Doll Care and Repair.

Repairs Available for Baby Dolls

(includes Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins):

Doll Refresh and Renew

Wellness visit: The vinyl skin is cleaned, hair is brushed and restyled, and the doll is sent back with accessories. No major "surgery". This will not restore damaged hair or deep stains to the vinyl. Bitty Twins will have hairstyles restored.
Eye replacement: Replacement of damaged eyes. Like 18" dolls, Eye swapping is not available.
Reattachment of head: Dolls sent in with detached heads can have them reattached.

Doll Care and Repair

This includes any of the Doll Refresh and Renew services, along with one of the following:

New head: Heads will only be exchanged for the same head sent in. Heads will not be replaced if the original head is not sent in. This will repair any haircuts, paint damage, or stains on the head.
New body: Includes torso and limbs. Because of their anatomy, Bitty Baby and Bitty Twins cannot get separate limb reattachment done; any issues with the limbs or torso will result in a complete body replacement.

Advanced Doll Care and Repair

This includes any of the Doll Refresh and Renew services, along with both a new head and a new body.

Repairs Available for WellieWishers

Doll Refresh and Renew

Wellness visit: The vinyl skin and torso are cleaned, hair is brushed and restyled, and the doll is sent back with accessories. No major "surgery". This will not restore damaged hair such as cuts or deep stains to the vinyl. Dolls will come back with original hair styles unless otherwise specified.

Advanced Doll Care and Repair

This includes the Doll Refresh and Renew services as well as:

Full Head and Body Replacement:: Due to the anatomy of a WellieWisher Doll, there is no way to replace any component separately such as limbs, heads, eyes, hair and/or bodies separately if they are damaged or stained. Any replacements or damages needed require a full replacement of the total doll. If a doll had pierced ears, these will be replaced in the new doll at no additional charge.

Additional Hospital Options

Hearing aids: Permanent piercing behind the ear(s) and fitting of a doll-sized hearing aid. This is only available for 18" dolls and is a separate cost; however a doll can be sent in only for hearing-aid placement.
Ear piercing: Permanent piercing in the earlobe for earrings. This is available for 18" dolls without prior piercings and WellieWishers, and is a separate cost. As of 2020 it is only available as an add-on to other services and a doll cannot be sent in only for ear-piercing.

Website

References

  1. FAQ, "Why don't you provide services for dolls from the United Kingdom?"
  2. Frequently Asked Questions, accessed 9/19/2021.
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