Think purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator is a once-and-done transaction? It’s not.
Chances are your portable oxygen concentrator will need service sometime during the warranty period. Getting warranty service can be a little bit tricky, and sometimes it is downright hard if you don’t have a good dealer. Here’s the scoop:
If your unit alarms or malfunctions, your first thought might me to call the manufacturer. The problem is you are not their customer; the dealer is. Therefore, the manufacturer will usually provide only limited assistance and they will refer you back to your dealer. If you do not know who your dealer is, they will be able to tell you if you give them the serial number on the unit.
It’s a little bit like purchasing a car. You never buy a car from the manufacturer directly; always from a dealer. When your car has problems the manufacturer will not provide any assistance. You have to go back to the dealer. However, unlike an auto dealers who can handle warranty work no matter where you bought your car, a portable oxygen concentrator dealer can usually only help with warranty service for units they sold. The reason is that many manufacturers will only accept a warranty claim from the original customer which is the dealer that bought the unit from them. There are exceptions, of course. Invacare and Respironics are very willing to allow any authorized dealer handle a warranty claim. SeQual, Inova, and Oxlife are fairly willing. AirSep and Inogen are sticklers, and rarely allow anyone but the original dealer to request warranty repair.
If your dealer is helpful, then you have no worries. However, if your dealer is out-of-business, or rude and unwilling to help with your warranty repair, you may have a hard time finding a another dealer to help. Since dealers make no money by requesting warranty repairs, many are unwilling or financially unable to assist anyone but their own customers. Some are willing to help people in a bind and may help for a reasonable flat fee and shipping charges to cover the cost of their time. Still others will charge exorbitant prices for shipping.
What does all this mean to you? A good dealer is the key to continued satisfaction with your portable oxygen concentrator purchase.
When choosing a dealer for your portable oxygen concentrator purchase, here are several indicators to help determine if the dealer will be as helpful with service as they are with the sale:
- The company is an authorized dealer for the manufacturer.
- The company is a highly rated member of the Better Business Bureau.
- The company specializes in portable oxygen concentrators. “Big box” medical supply companies may have lower prices, but often provide poor service.
- The company has business longevity. There are no guarantees that a company won’t go out of business, but long-established businesses are usually a safer choice.
- The company has non-pushy sales people. Sales people who are more interested in helping you make the best choice than in their next commission check are usually backed by a company that cares more about customers than sales quotas and are probably more willing to provide future support.
- The company can supply a loaner unit for you to use while your unit is being repaired.