Welcome to our top tips pageIn this section you will find useful information about the do's and dont's when looking to purchase a Portable Oxygen Concentrator. It's important to read all the points as we want to help you get it right first time.
You probably ended up on this blog because you have already taken the first step in researching portable oxygen concentrators and searching for reputable companies via the wonderful internet. The problem with the internet is that it's filled with a lot of good stuff but also filled with tonnes of rubbish. Buying a portable oxygen concentrator is not as simple as picking up food off the shelf at Tesco as there are many things to consider before making your decision to purchase. Hopefully this blog will iron out any lingering questions you may have and make you aware of the things to look out for. Don't forget, you can always contact Intermedical direct on 01732 522444. The Homecare team are very helpful and knowledgeable.
TOP TIP 1: Don't fall into the trap...When looking for a Portable Oxygen Concentrator it is vitally important to go for the right one. In the world today, there is a variety of oxygen concentrator models available with some costing less than £500 and others costing around the £3000 mark. Many patients fall into the trap and go with the cheapest. With anything in the medical industry, the technology is only as good as how much you spend on it. The moral of the story: You pay for what you get! You will often find when doing a Google search for a Portable Oxygen Concentrator you will see cheap £500 models from China - The reason why they are cheap is simple... because it is cheaply made. When something is cheaply made, it is not guaranteed to last and more than often enough the specification won't suit your needs anyway.
TOP TIP 2: Speak to a reputable ISO13485 accredited UK supplier...First things first... Get professional advice from us at Intermedical and/or your respiratory nurse. If you know your flow rate already, you can contact us and speak to a member of our homecare team. Judging straight away from your flow rate we will be able to tell you what portable oxygen systems are suitable purely based on the specifications of our machines.
TOP TIP 3: Get a demonstration booked...Before parting with any money, get a demonstration booked. This will give you the chance to see all the machines rather than looking at pretty pictures in the brochure. Intermedical's homecare sales advisors who visit patients are not double glazing sales people and can be trusted to put your requirements first. From the demonstration, we will show you the models which are suitable based purely by specification and in accordance to your oxygen requirements. Once we establish what machine is the best for your needs, we can assess you whilst using the machine to make sure the concentrator is doing what it's supposed to be doing.
TOP TIP 4: Customer Service is important - Don't compromise service over price...
It's natural that us Brits tend to 'shop around' to get the best price. Nine times out of ten you pay for what you get and this often means the lower the price, the lower the standard of service will be. Some companies go the extra mile to be with you every step of the way when some companies are in it for a quick buck with total disregard to moral responsibilities of the patient. We understand at the best of times that these particular medical devices can't be afforded by everyone and know that due to the nature of people's illnesses requiring this type of medical equipment that financial institutions won't lend a hand. Therefore we try to be the best in price without affecting the level of service we offer to you for the long term. Customer service is an integral part of purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator and this should not be compromised by price. When you buy from us here at Intermedical, we look after you for life. In fact we are so confident in saying that our level of service is unrivaled, you can depend on us at any stage of you being a customer of ours. It is for this very reason we do not get involved in 'dutch auctions' or answer to 'what is your best price' because we believe great after-care service is key to anyone purchasing a POC.
TOP TIP 5: Found it cheaper in America? The only benefit is price... But what if the machine breaks down??? Read these important notes.
It's not a secret that buying a Portable Oxygen Concentrator (or anything for that fact) in the United States is cheaper than the UK. The reason why the UK is generally expensive is because we hardly manufacturer anything and most things are imported! This is the case for most medical equipment including our Portable Oxygen Concentrators. If it was for anything non-medical and you can make a saving from buying abroad then go for it. But when it comes to purchasing a medical device that could potentially be your life line in terms of mobility, this may not be such a good idea... and here are the reasons why...
1) First things first, the saving you would make would be probably up to around £500 - You would have to part a fair chunk of your money up front with a foreign trader that you have no knowledge of with no protection if things go wrong.
2) Another reason why not to buy direct from an American retailer is the lack of support if something goes wrong. An American retailer can't offer you round the clock service and give you a loan unit if your machine decides to breakdown. No UK or European service agent will service a machine that is purchased from an American retailed (this is explained in point 3). You will find you will be have to send the machine back at your own cost and pay for return carriage as well (which could be pricey).
3) We or any other European authorised retailer won't be able to support you if your machine has developed a fault. When you buy a Portable Oxygen Concentrator from a US retailer, any electrical device from the United States does not exercise the electrical safety marking standard otherwise known as the CE mark here in the UK and across Europe. This prevents us to open any electronic device that is not CE marked for regulatory and insurance reasons.
Reverting back to TOP TIP 4, it is important when spending this kind of money, you know the service will be there as well. An American retailer will certainly not pay to ship your broken machine back and forth to the UK. They won't offer you a demonstration and will certainly not ship you a loan unit to keep you going.
TOP TIP 6: Avoid buying off eBay or 2nd hand if you can.As mentioned in our TOP TIP 3, not everyone can afford to buy brand new therefore go down the route of purchasing a pre-owned unit. If your budget is limited here are some points to consider before taking the risk in buying second hand...
1) Unfortunately warranties are not normally transferable so if anything does go wrong you will have to pay for both labor and parts.
2) You won't know if there are any problems with the machine. So if you decided to buy 2nd hand, you will be buying blind. If machines have sat in the cupboard for 6 months collecting dust, it is highly likely there will be problems. This may not be evident initially.
3) Mr eBay or whoever you purchase from 2nd hand won't have a loan unit for you if your one decides to fail.
4) If you can afford to stretch your budget, you may be able to find some excellent reconditioned ex-demonstration models from us at Intermedical at a lower price. This way, you still buy direct from a company and machines are sold with warranty, depending how old the machine is.