Tips for Buying Oxygen Products Online
When you're buying any product online, especially an expensive product, you must make sure you're buying from a reputable seller. But how do you tell? These tips will help you make a good decision.
- Buy only from a business accredited by a reputable source, such as the Better Business Bureau. If a business says it's accredited, you should be able to visit the website of the accrediting agency and confirm the accreditation. For example, if you go to www.bbb.org/us/consumers/, which is the consumer section of the website of the Better Business Bureau, you can click on "Check Out a Business or Charity." Then type in the name or URL (which is the company's website address) of the company you're looking into.
- Validate that the business is an authorized seller by the manufacturer of the product. This is the only way you can ensure that the product's warranty will be valid. Some manufacturers list authorized dealers on their website, if they do not, please feel free to call the manufacturer to verify if a dealer is authorized to sell their products.
- Validate the business's phone number. Some websites are just marketing portals created to make a business look or sound big. They may even reference affiliation with a larger organization. Validate that you are working with a real business located in the same state as the salesperson you are talking to. We recommend asking if you can call them back at a phone number at the physical address of the business.
- Validate that there is a physical address. Check the address on Google maps. Many web-based companies operate either out of their homes or vacant lot addresses. Some will look bigger by showing multiple locations (vacant lots). Google the address and see if a different business comes up. If the company is not honest about their address or location, would you expect them to be helpful when you have a problem?
- Before you buy an oxygen concentrator, make sure you know which product you are ordering and keep a written record to confirm that you receive the correct model. As models change, some suppliers say they are shipping the latest model when really they are shipping older models.
- Verify that the exact warranty start date is the date of your invoice. Many manufacturers start the warranty on the date that they ship the unit to the retailer. Because of this, you might think you are buying a product with a 3-year warranty, but because it has sat on the retailer's shelf for 12 months, you will get only the 2 years of the warranty that remain. Also ask who is providing the warranty. A warranty from a retailer is only good if the retailer stays in business. A warranty from the manufacturer is typically more reliable.
- Oxygen concentrators have built-in electronics that keep track of the number of hours the unit has been used, much like the odometer on your car.If you are buying a new unit, there should be less than 20 hours on the machine. If it has more than that, you are likely being sold a unit that was rented first.
- Watch out for bait-and-switch. If you call a company you found online and they try to sell you a different brand than the one you were interested in (they might claim the product you wanted is out of stock), it's probably because they are not authorized to carry the brand you inquired about. If a company is not honest about which products they carry, why would they be honest about other policies?
- Call the company's service department and see if they really answer and how long it takes them to call you back.
- Craigslist rarely has the best deal. Anyone on Craigslist with a toll-free number is a sales guy hustling business. You can almost always get the same price on the product, with a warranty, from a reputable dealer.