Remember the old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Well I should have remembered this for my own sake. The past 5 months I have been researching the most functional baby equipment for my needs. When it came to strollers, travel systems and car seats it would make my head spin! Never in my whole life have I been so confused about what I thought was a very simple decision. Let me take you down this dark and twisted road, The Stroller Scam You’ve Never Heard of, Until now!
I ran across a very inspiring YouTube channel, Alyssa Jean Hicks AKA The Blind Oily Mama: A blind mother’s life with her new baby. On her channel I found a video titled” “This is what it’s like to be a blind mom | Day in the life of a mom.” I think I watched this particular video about 10 times! Alyssa shows her daily routine with her baby girl and how she just gets things done like any other mother would. Anyhow, what was attracting me to watch the video over and over again was the products she used, they were outstanding! Everything she used was absolutely made for people like us – the visually impaired. I ended up buying everything she had featured in this video, except one item… A very hard to find one of a kind car seat/stroller/travel system – Doona Car Seat & Stroller.
What is a Doona stroller? “Doona is the world’s first complete and fully integrated travel system, allowing you to move from car seat to stroller in seconds. The sleek and stylish design allows you to navigate the streets at ease, without disturbing your sleeping child when hopping in a car, traveling by bus or walking up the stairs. The revolutionary car seat and stroller provides a safe and practical solution for parents on-the-go.” – Doona is the perfect piece of baby gear for people reliant on Uber, Lyft or City Bus to independently get around town. It was a slam dunk purchase as far as I was concerned.
Here’s Where I ran into lots of trouble… I searched Amazon.com first and found the Doona stroller at a price of $549! That was a deal breaker for me so I decided to do a Google search “Doona Stroller for Sale,” and found what I was looking for – a bargain! or so I thought. A website with the domain of margaretie.com advertised the stroller at an amazing price of $89! According to the website, it included the latch base, free shipping and was the US version (Rather than the UK version or Chinese Imitation). So of course I felt vindicated and incredibly clever to think before I made such a large purchase, ha!
It wasn’t more than a few days after that I started to really think I made an “instant gratification” mistake. My first inclination that I may have just been scammed came after watching all the YouTube videos I could find on the Doona Stroller. I tend to do this with every large purchase I make, good thing I did! Not one Doona Stroller Reviewer said this was an affordable item, they actually exclaimed the complete opposite. In fact, one video I watched warned of widespread Doona Stroller Scams and to buy from retailers that you trust. I immediately went to PayPal and reversed my transaction with margaretie.com. This was after several unanswered emails sent to their customer support.
My miserable search didn’t end there though. Unfortunately I attempted to find another ‘deal,’ although I was a little more knowledgeable this time around – it didn’t matter. In my defense though, I did attempt to buy the Doona stroller on Amazon.com – however when I went back to purchase it, the price was astronomical! Remember the original price was $549, but when I went back a week later the price increased to $775. I still waited to look elsewhere though, I kept checking Amazon.com regularly, but the price kept increasing – it had at one point increased to $1200! So I did another search on Google and found another website with the domain of paryvibe.com – advertising the US version with latch base for $449 and free shipping. I checked out the website before I purchased, the about page and the contact support page – it seemed pretty legit to me. It even had a valid SSL certificate.
It started to smell like my last purchase, quickly. I had contacted the customer service through email in 3 different emails, asking when they were going to ship the item. When I didn’t hear back from them, I still wasn’t suspicious until I called the customer support line, it was a text app number. The voicemail was not professional at all. Again, I went to PayPal and canceled my payment. Now I feel completely devastated and stupid. The only silver lining is that I still have time to get this right before the baby comes. I went back to Amazon.com – checking daily. I also started looking at Ebay.com, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace. All this effort turned up only high prices and more scammers.
Last night I broke down on my husband… I had to vent to someone about this very serious issue. We had no car seat or stroller and here I am 35 weeks pregnant. My husband had thought I had already purchased these items weeks ago, but I felt stupid telling him that I was fooled. My honesty of the situation didn’t phase him though, he just said we’ll figure it out tomorrow. I had a very grim outlook on “tomorrow,” I just knew we wouldn’t find this damn stroller before the baby comes. I told him that this was the only stroller/car seat/travel system that will work for us. I don’t want to rely on him nor anyone else to get around town with 3 pieces of baby gear (Stroller, Car Seat and base). I’m litterally in tears at this point – cried myself to sleep.
Well to my surprise, the next morning I picked up my phone and checked Amazon.com again, like I always did – for ‘shits & giggles.’ I open up the app and right there on the front page there it was, Doona Stroller with Latch Base $549! The Lesson Here is: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is! Buy from retailers you trust! Don’t fall for the ‘deals.’