Buying a used oxygen concentrator can save you a lot of money, but if you aren't careful, you could end up with something that wasn't even worth the lower price. There are several playing factors you need to take into consideration if you want to buy a used portable or used home oxygen concentrator, and these are very important. Knowing where you are buying ensures a positive experience from selection through resale.
There is more to the "total cost of ownership" than the initial purchase price.
Things to Consider When Searching for Used Oxygen Concentrators
1. Getting the right equipment is critical: Navigating the selection of the correct equipment is difficult, and you need a provider that has both a good selection of units and the technical knowledge to help you get the correct unit. Roughly 40% of our customers “think” they want one unit when , in fact, will not meet their medical needs. Buying the wrong unit can harmful to your health. Returning the wrong unit can be both a huge hassle and expensive. The small print in return policies can cost you $500 or more. Working with a reputable dealer who represents more than one manufacturer helps ensure you are making the best selection for your lifestyle and medical needs.
2. Who you buy from matters: We know from experience, over 50% of our customers reach out to us after the sale for either advice, technical support, additional equipment or selling back their unit. Consider the value of informed technical expertise when you have a question or your machine is malfunctioning. Finding good technical support when you have a problem can be difficult. We recommend talking to the support department before you make your purchase.
Also worth noting, the manufacturers in this industry are unique in that all repair work must go through the retailer where you purchased your unit. Good support can be invaluable.
3.Protect your data: Providing both your credit card information and medical health information to an unknown business should be a concern. The cost of a breach of privacy can be expensive.
Tips for Purchasing Used Oxygen Concentrators Online
Unlike in Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the students are above average; on the internet, everything may not be what it seems like, purchasing the wrong equipment can be an expensive mistake, and it’s essential to have good support for your medical equipment.
Consider these 10 tips:
1. Verify You're Working with a Real Company
It can be hard to tell if you are working with an actual business operation or a smooth salesperson working from their kitchen in their pajamas. It is easy to be fooled by a nice website or a great salesman. Typical "talk" on the internet includes:
- "We are the worlds largest..."
- "We have 20 - 1000 repair locations...
- "We have been in business 20 - 30 - 40” years..."
The only way you can tell is if a company is legitimate and authentic to what they put on their website is if it is accredited by an outside agency. Because oxygen is a prescription device and treating a mostly senior population, the government has authorized nine accrediting agencies to oversee care.
A list of accrediting agencies can be found by clicking here: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/MedicareProviderSupEnroll/Downloads
The nine approved accrediting agencies are:
- Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC): https://www.achc.org
- American Board for Certification of Orthotics & Prosthetics: https://www.abcop.org
- Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities: http://www.carf.org/dmepos
- Community Health Accreditation Program: https://www.bocinternational.orgv
- Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation: http://www.hqaa.org
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy: www.nabp.net
- The Compliance Team: https://www.thecomplianceteam.org
- The Joint Commission: https://www.jointcommission.org
- Board of Certification/Accreditation International: https://www.bocusa.org/
There is no other government approved agencies that can verify the business you are purchasing from is a real operation with approved health, safety, and business practices.
These external agencies come in and verify the operationand business practices with a full day audit. This includes such essential details as HIPAA requirements, credit card management, support processes, cleanliness, and financial viability. Additionally, with an organization that is accredited, you have an additional path of recourse should something go awry.
We recommend asking the company you are buying from if they are accredited, by whom and have them SHOW you how to find their company on the accrediting agency web site.
Note: We are accredited by ACHC, and you can verify this here: https://www.achc.org/accreditation-locations.html Simply enter our name - American Medical Sales and Rentals and zip code 80112 and our information will pop up.
2. Use the Better Business Bureau
Unfortunately BBB ratings can now be "bought," and websites sometimes post a photo of a rating without ever really associating with the BBB. Don’t be fooled by an A+ rating with the BBB. Instead, we recommend you click through or call the BBB and see if an organization is associated with the BBB and how long they have been a member. We recommend you read the issues that have come up. Every company will have "issues," and what you should be concerned about it how it addresses customer concerns. Pay particular attention to people with returns or product issues. If a retailer does not have an “official” history with the BBB, beware becausethere is likely a reason.
You can find our BBB history here: https://www.bbb.org/us/co/centennial/profile/oxygen/american-medical-sales-rentals-0885-12054457
3. Verify the Address
While we don’t recommend doing business with an organization that is not accredited, you may at least want to verify their address. You can check information about a business location by searching the address on Google. Many companies operate with “virtual addresses.” These companies pay a nominal amount to look like they are located in an office building and use their address when they are operating out of their house. If many other businesses come up with the same address, be suspicious.
This is important because you will want and need support for your equipment. If a business fibs about its location, it is likely it will fib on other things.
Note: to view our business, type our name and the address from our website: 7032 S Revere Parkway American Medical Sales & Rentals (or the Oxygen Concentrator Store) into Google and you will see information and photos about us that has been verified by Google.
4. Truth in Advertising Tells You About the Company and Business Practices
When a company uses questionable techniques in advertising, it usually means there is a highly commissioned sales force that will be aggressive on the sale and long gone when you need support.
Typical questionable advertising practices include:
- a) "Only two left” - this is the traditional bait and switch and also tries to create a sense of urgency. Unless you are buying a used unit (which often do have limited supply), beware of the advertisement for a low price and "only two left."
- b) We got these from our doctors (don’t be fooled, doctors don’t stock units, and internet retailers don’t sell to doctors).
- c) A very low price on a “can’t mention” unit - these are tricks to get you to call and hear the sales pitch. It is much more important to get the correct unit for your medical needs.
- d) Open box specials - this is a gimmick as there is no such thing, a unit is either new or used. We open all boxes and sticker the units, so we are easy to find when you need help. Don’t be surprised if you see additional tape!
- e) 70% off sales. When it looks to good to be true, it is. No retailers are selling for discounts like this. It is false advertising of an imaginary price to attract your attention.
5. Buying from Anyone Other than a Accredited Business is Dangerous
Medical equipment can carry harmful bacteria if not cleaned appropriately. Proper cleaning takes special chemicals and a defined process. Unless an organization is accredited, you have no idea that the equipment has been adequately cleaned. Additionally, a unit can “appear” to be functioning (i.e., not giving a warning) and not be delivering medical grade oxygen. It takes specialized and calibrated equipment to measure oxygen purity. Talk is cheap when selling, and we encourage you to be careful of "certified pre-owned" or "our technicians inspect" unless an outside agency accredits the organization and you have verified this.
Note: None of the major manufacturers sell "certified pre-owned" equipment. If a retailer is telling you a used unit was certified from the manufacturer, beware. They are telling could be telling lies.
6. Don’t Buy from Third Parties
For the same reasons as listed above, we would not recommend buying equipment from third-party sites such as eBay or Craig’s list. While you may get a bargain, you may compromise your health by exposing yourself to harmful bacteria or buying a unit that is not providing medical grade oxygen. Oxygen concentrators operate best when they have been operated and run frequently so "hardly ever used" is often bad news for the operation of the unit.
7. Click and Ship Retailers vs. Knowledgeable Experts
Oxygen equipment as an attractive product to sell via an internet site because of the potential "quick sale." What many of these retailers don’t realize is that it is important for oxygen therapy patients to both get fitted with the correct equipment and to have knowledgeable support during the unit’s useful life. We recommend always speaking with an expert at the business before purchasing.
We also recommend not being fooled by short customer reviews such as “arrived on time” or "works great" as these are easily manufactured. Consider asking to speak with their customer support manager and ask about the most common questions that customers have. We have a team of 8 customer support representatives assisting customers AFTER the sale.
Feel free to call our manager, Doug at (303) 483-7142 and ask the same questions.
8. Return Policies Vary Greatly
Return policies need to be in place to protect both the customer and the business. Explain your situation and a reputable dealer will work with you to make sure your needs are met.Some of the discount "click and ship" sites won’t let you return for any reason if you even open the box. Read the fine print on 30 day return policies as most have very strong restrictions. Our return policy is designed to easily allow a customer to test the unit and get them into the right unit, quickly. If you ever need a slight exception to our policy, make sure to talk to our representative about your needs
9. Prescriptions are Required for Used Oxygen Concentrators
This is for the customer’s benefit because people often are confused about the type of machine they need. Additionally, having your RX on file is a great benefit should you have an emergency while traveling. While we agree this is a hassle, we believe it is important that we follow the law. Companies that do not require prescriptions are not accredited and making a conscious decision to violate the law. If a retailer “says” they will get your RX for you, make sure you are giving your personal health information to an accredited agency and ask to have them send you a copy.
10. State Accreditation/Licensing for Selling Oxygen
Although no one likes government oversight, the oversight helps protect consumers. Many states (such as Florida) have strict rules to becomes licensed including a physical location, financial viability, and effective business practices. Any reputable dealer would be licensed, and it provides a consumer some degree of protection. If you are a Florida resident, we recommend checking that the company you are buying from is on this list: http://www.floridahealthfinder.gov/facilitylocator/ListFacilities.aspx
Note: You will find us and the address on our website under AMSR, LLC. Call us if you need help locating our Florida license.
Final Thoughts on Used Oxygen Concentrators
Buying a used oxygen concentrator can save you a lot of money, but if you aren't careful, you could end up with something that wasn't even worth the lower price. If you’re trying to decide between a new and used concentrator, remember that no answer is perfect. Conduct research to find a unit that fits your needs, lifestyle and budget whether it is new or used.
Updated: March 6, 2019