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Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying a CPAP Machine on Amazon

Amazon is an excellent source for products from around the world—but that doesn’t make it the best option for CPAP machines.

Amazon has built a reputation for rock-bottom prices and buyer-friendly customer service–not to mention speedy shipping and an endless selection of products. 

Person with short black hair in a greet shirt looking online and thinking about CPAP machines

These factors might lead you to consider using Amazon to source your next CPAP machine

But before you spend any money, you need to understand precisely what you’re sacrificing for convenience and possible savings.

In this guide, we will look at why buying a CPAP machine on Amazon might not be the best option for you.

The Legal Question

While many of the considerations in this guide will have some subjectivity, one of the biggest reasons to consider buying your CPAP machine from a CPAP supply store instead of Amazon is its legality.

Retailers cannot sell CPAP machines without a prescription as they’re considered Class II medical devices

Requiring a prescription ensures that buyers receive a reliable, dependable product configured for their exact health needs.

So how do vendors sell CPAP machines on Amazon? 

They skirt the rules, and it’s questionable whether Amazon allows the sales by their terms of service. 

However, as with any online marketplace, there will always be providers willing to take chances.

However, since the sales should not occur–by Amazon or regulatory standards–you could find that you have little legal recourse should your experience end badly. 

This should be reason enough to avoid purchasing a CPAP machine on Amazon for many buyers. 

But this is just the start. Let’s look at other potential concerns.

NOTE: We want to be clear. While buying a CPAP machine on Amazon is questionably legal, buying CPAP accessories on Amazon is entirely legal. However, many of the concerns below also apply to CPAP masks, CPAP tubing, CPAP filters, and other accessories.

Questionable Quality

As durable medical equipment (DME), CPAP machines must meet standards to ensure safe, reliable operation and accurate settings and measurements. 

Without this, it would be impossible to dial in your settings and make the most of your PAP therapy.

Since CPAP machine sales aren’t explicitly allowed on Amazon, searching for options will often lead to machine models from lesser-known companies. 

This could lead to questions surrounding equipment quality and reliability.

While they’re often priced lower than CPAP machines from leading manufacturers, you’re always taking a risk when purchasing alternative products. 

While you might save money, you could find that the quality lacks or that durability is a concern. 

If an off-brand product is half the price, but you have to replace it twice as often, you’re not saving money in the bigger picture. 

You’re simply dealing with more hassles and potentially risking the benefits of your PAP therapy.

While rare, you might also find that name-brand products on online sites like Amazon are counterfeit or refurbished. 

If you don’t realize this right away, you could find yourself in an uncomfortable situation later should parts fail or you run into an issue with the operation of your CPAP machine.

You might say, “What about reviews? Won’t those help me avoid this problem?”

Yes and no.

First off, despite their attempts to prevent such things from happening, a sizeable portion of Amazon reviews are either completely fake or somehow incentivized to leave a positive review.

However, even for the genuine reviews, you’ll find reviews for the same products by multiple sellers all bundled together. 

This means that you often have no way of knowing whether the positive or negative reviews are related to the store you’re buying from or not. 

The Value of Support

While Amazon is known for its excellent customer service and generous return policies, they can’t help you troubleshoot a CPAP machine, adjust settings, or look for replacement CPAP parts and CPAP accessories.

If you purchase your equipment from a reputable CPAP supply store, you have someone you can call if you have questions or think there might be an issue with your CPAP machine

If they’re local, you might even be able to drop by the store with your equipment!

On Amazon, you’re often limited to email interaction with sellers. 

And that’s even sometimes moderated by Amazon. 

While you might save money, there’s a solid chance that you’ll miss out on a fundamental level of support in exchange for the lower prices.

Where’s the Warranty?

Most CPAP machines feature a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty if purchased from a reliable source. 

You might even see these mentioned on listings for CPAP machines on Amazon. 

However, having a warranty is only worth anything if you can use it. 

Some manufacturers will require you to initiate the warranty process or verify information from the reseller you purchased your CPAP equipment from.

Since connections with sellers are limited on Amazon, this can be a complicated–and sometimes fruitless–process. 

Illustration of paper warranty with receipts and credit cards next to it

Sellers on Amazon come and go regularly. 

Even if the person or business you buy your CPAP machine from has the best intentions, they might not be around in 3 years to honour your warranty. 

If this happens, you could find yourself responsible for an expensive repair bill or replacing equipment that your warranty would have covered had you bought your CPAP machine at an authorized retailer.

Even if they are around, any purchase protections through Amazon are likely to expire after 90 days. 

If you have a problem one year into your three-year warranty, you have little recourse should the seller ignore your requests to help leverage your warranty coverage.

Configuration Complications

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you buy a CPAP machine from Amazon, there’s a significant chance that it will arrive at your door without any software updates and without your personalized settings as listed in your prescription.

Even if you have a prescription, you’ll need to understand how to read it and access the settings on your machine to enter them all. 

While most machines provide user access to these settings, understanding how to set them all up isn’t always straightforward.

You could also find that you have trouble setting up and data logging or reporting features if the software on your CPAP machine is not up to date.

You’ll need to download updates, install them on your machine, and possibly reconfigure settings again!

Reliable, independent CPAP machine retailers, such as CPAP Supply, typically fall between the ultra-low prices of sites like Amazon and the often-shocking sticker prices set by manufacturers or larger DME providers.

However, the ability to skip the configuration process and not worry about updates could be well worth the slight difference in price over Amazon without even looking at the rest of the considerations on this list.

Summary

  • While you might find CPAP machines at a reasonable price on Amazon, buying one without a prescription is illegal. Amazon doesn’t technically allow the sale of CPAP machines in their terms of service.
  • CPAP accessories are legal to buy on Amazon. However, this still comes with added risks due to the nature of online marketplaces.
  • When buying on Amazon, it can be hard to verify the quality of the products you’re shopping for. Even if you’re avoiding generic or off-brand products, you have no guarantee that the CPAP machine that arrives is authentic or isn’t refurbished. Reviews only provide a cloudy picture of what to expect at best.
  • While you have transaction-level support from Amazon, there’s a strong chance that you’re on your own for finding help with your CPAP machine.
  • CPAP manufacturers often ask you to go through your retailer to process warranty claims and receive service. If your seller on Amazon is unavailable, you could find your two-year manufacturer warranty is useless.
  • Part of the value in buying from a reliable CPAP machine supplier is knowing that they can handle any configuration and update requirements to get your CPAP machine running smoothly and adjusted to your specific needs.

As Canada’s leading online CPAP supply store in customer satisfaction, CPAP Supply understands the ins and outs of the CPAP purchasing process. Our extensive selection of leading brands and generous discounts means that you can get the most out of your PAP therapy without paying the expensive prices of other CPAP and DME providers. Contact us today to discuss your needs and let us help you find everything you need for a fantastic night’s sleep!

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