Sunday, March 6, 2011

Things to Know Before Buying a Pump from an Unknown Source

The new pump I am excitedly awaiting.
So I have been on the hunt for a new pump for myself.  I am continuing to pump for Little Man as we have a new goal of breastfeeding for two years.  So being that I own a Medela and all the icky things that could be building up in that pump and their continued non-compliance with WHO code I decided to upgrade to a different manufacturer.  You can check out this article from Amy at Just West of Crunchy for more info on The Problems with Medela.
I of course like so many other pumping moms have an emotional attachment to my breastpump.  It was the only way I was able to feed Little Man for the first two months and the only way I have been able to feed him while I returned to work. So I am not going to chastise you for choosing or defending your Medela pump - it just isn't for my family anymore.  What I feel is important is that we are able to feed our babies how we choose and be comfortable, safe and informed with our choices and options available to us.
I started some research - that I should have done more of before Little Man -  and found information on two other breastpump manufacturers, Ameda and Hygeia.  I felt that either of these two companies would be a good choice because they both sell consumer grade closed system pumps.  I myself liked Hygeia just a little bit more because it is also a green pump and can be recycled when I am finished. Once I made my decision it was now time to buy my pump.
Even though the IRS has now made breastpumps a tax deductible item they are still a very large investment.  Quality pumps can last through multiple breastfeeding children which is another way to justify the cost but it isn't like I have all the money in the world to go buying pumps.  I then decided to check out two resources for after market goods - EBay and Craigslist.  Craigslist I am a bit leery of because there is no guarantee that you or your investment will be protected.  EBay I felt was a better option for this purchase because the seller has to disclose certain information about the goods.  Another benefit to EBay is their Buyer Protection program and you pay through PayPal which has its own buyer protection plan.  The down-side to buying on EBay is going through the auction style purchase.  Setting your price and then losing a pump that you desire can be emotionally draining, especially with long listings.  But that hunt can be fun as well.
When buying through after market sellers there are a few options: Used, New in Open Box and New in Sealed Box. Depending on what manufacturer you are purchasing from and the type of pump you can find quality, safe pumps in any of these categories.  However, the same can be said about any of these pumps being low-quality and unsafe.  It is best to do your research and ask the seller questions before you purchase a pump.

Used Pump
I thought about buying used with both of these pumps and while they are closed systems and if I purchase my own collection kit from either manufacturer I could have purchased these used.  This price point is typically very good but you have to factor in the purchase of a new collection kit which can cost anywhere from $35 to $50 depending on manufacturer.  That being said it does not mean that the motor will be of factory quality.  Terms like lightly or gently used are very subjective because my lightly used is 2-3 times a day for 5 days a week as compared to what I started at 12-15 times a day 7 days a week.  For most people they would not consider daily use as "lightly used" and they are right.  So I moved on from a search for a used pump. With these pumps the manufacturer warrantee has either run out or is non-transferable in most cases.

New in Open Box: Two Types

Type A- Authorized Reseller
I asked a seller why the pump box was opened and they explained that they are a reseller and sometimes receive pumps from the manufacturer in "open boxes" that have never been used by a pumping mother.  They may be a demonstration or display model.  I felt this was a good option because no one had used this pump before and the person I would be purchasing from was authorized by the manufacturer to resell the products.  The price points on these pumps are typically at a good discount but usually still pretty close to regular price.  The manufacturer warrantee is usually still in effect with these pumps but ask the seller first before purchasing.

Type B- Consumer That Changed Their Mind For "_________"
This is the seller that got a breast-pump for a shower gift, got excited and opened the box and then for whatever reason changed their mind about breastfeeding.  This is a 'hit or miss' sale.  They will either want all of their money back from this purchase or they will sell it at a bargain price.  If you are like me you will still factor in the new collection kit - just to be safe.  This is not an authorized reseller and there is no warrantee in place either.  I regrettably purchased a Hygeia Enjoye from a seller in this category*

New in Sealed Box: Two Types

Type A- Authorized Reseller
This is the dealer who likes to make a quick sale of the stock they already carry as an authorized reseller for a particular manufacturer.  There may be some discount at a Buy It Now price point and the manufacturer's warrantee will be effect.  You do not need to factor in a new collection kit because this has never been opened.  It is as close to ordering direct from the manufacturer that EBay has to offer.  After my first fiasco I purchased my Hygeia Enjoye this way**

Type B- Consumer That Changed Their Mind For "________"
This seller was a bit more patient or at least already knew that they were not going to breastfeed their child but thought instead of returning said gift or purchase I am going to sell it.  This will be discounted but not much and they may make up for some of it in the shipping charges as well.  You will not need to purchase a new collection kit but the manufacturer warrantee is most likely not going to transfer.

So my advice is to do your homework when buying a pump for you or someone else.  You should be educated on the type of pump as well as who you are buying it from.  Most of the manufacturers allow you to buy directly from them and you can also purchase online from most of the big baby stores as well.  EBay is a good way to save a few dollars but it comes with risks as well.  Another source to check out when purchasing breast-pumps is Breast Pumps Direct, they are an authorized reseller who can sell to you at a discount.

*I purchased from a seller who never sent me my pump or responded to my communications through EBay.  I made several attempts to work things out with the seller but ended up having EBay refund my money after nearly a month.  It was an exhausting as well as an emotional decision to give-up on that sale and move on.  Please note that EBay and PayPal Buyer Protection only protects you if you open a case within 45 days after the payment is sent.  Had I let this go on I would have lost my money and the pump.  They will only honor the claim if you escalate it within 20 days after the initial case is opened.  I escalated mine after 8 days and three phone calls the last resulting in the seller hanging up on me.

**I just purchased the pump from the seller today but I am hopeful that this will turn out better then my previous purchase.

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