What's in a CPAP Warranty?
By Andrew Senske, President CPAP-Supply.com
Last Updated 4/12/2011 6:05:00 PM


Since product warranties are often a factor in the purchasing decisions made by consumers, we share warranty information with customers all the time on the phone, in our office, and through email. We talk about this issue so much, I thought I'd summarize it right here. As you'll see below, not all CPAP equipment warranties are the same, even if they're the same length.

All CPAP machines, CPAP humidifiers and CPAP masks have warranties associated with them. Most CPAP machines have a 2-year warranty, and some have a 3-year warranty. Most CPAP humidifiers have a 1-year warranty, and some have a 2-year warranty. Most CPAP masks have a 3-month warranty, and some have a 6-month warranty. But the duration of the warranty is just one factor to consider. The other factor is what I call the convenience of the warranty. In a nutshell, an inconvenient warranty requires the end user to send a product back for repair or inspection, while a convenient warranty allows a dealer to immediately replace a defective product with a new one even before the defective product has been inspected by the manufacturer.

Let's take a look at both factors - duration and convenience - more closely.

CPAP Machine Warranty Example: Zzz-PAP vs. System One REMstar
The Zzz-PAP CPAP machine is a great example of a small, lightweight and affordable CPAP machine. The Zzz-PAP has a 2-year warranty.

The System One REMstar is comparable in many ways to the Zzz-PAP. I generally refer to these two machines as functionally equivalent, although the REMstar is about $90 more than the Zzz-PAP at the time of this writing. The System One REMstar also has a 2-year warranty, which leads many to believe the two warranties for these two machines are the same.

Since I've already outlined the two factors in a warranty, you can see where I'm heading. The warranties for the two CPAP machines listed above are actually quite different. Within the 2-year warranty period a defective Zzz-PAP machine needs to be returned to the manufacturer for repair. If the manufacturer is unable to repair the machine, it will be replaced with a new or refurbished unit. Since manufacturers don't deal directly with end users, this warranty process can take several weeks, with much of the time spent in transit from customer to dealer, and then from dealer to manufacturer. After inspection the CPAP machine follows the same course in reverse. Of course, we'll make exceptions to this process if we feel we need to do so. For example, we've replaced defective Zzz-PAP units with brand new units from our inventory, bypassing the normal warranty process and taking on the risk of ending up with a repaired or refurbished unit from the manufacturer. We'll generally do this if the unit proves to be defective within the first 30 days of use in an attempt to provide exceptional customer service.

The warranty process for the REMstar is more convenient. If you call us any time within the 2-year warranty period we're able to replace your defective REMstar with a brand new one immediately. After you get the new one, you send the defective one back to us. This means that even on day 730, the warranty process will take just the time it takes for us to ship a brand new CPAP machine to you.

There are three manufacturers that offer convenient warranties: Philips Respironics, ResMed and DeVilbiss.

DeVilbiss Machine Warranty
The DeVilbiss IntelliPAP series of CPAP machines - including the IntelliPAP Standard Plus, IntelliPAP AutoAdjust and IntelliPAP BiLevel S - all have 3-year warranties. DeVilbiss started out by making the 3-year warranty an inconvenient warranty, but in early 2011 DeVilbiss changed their warranty so that it's now much more convenient for CPAP users. This means that not only does DeVilbiss offer the longest warranty in the industry, they also can claim the overall best warranty in the industry.

CPAP Humidifier Warranties
Warranties for CPAP humidifiers are almost always one year in length, with DeVilbiss and the now defunct AEIOMed being the two exceptions. DeVilbiss offers a 2-year convenient warranty with their IntelliPAP humidifiers. AEIOMed offers a 2-year inconvenient warranty with their Everest humidifiers. I'm mentioning the AEIOMed warranties here simply because there are many AEIOMed Everest 3 machines and humidifiers still under warranty. They're not readily available from dealers, but they're still out there and AEIOMed has indicated they'll continue to honor all warranties, even though they've pretty much shuttered the windows back in Minnesota.

Just like with their Zzz-PAP CPAP machine, PMI Probasics requires defective humidifiers to be sent in for inspection and repair. This means the 1-year warranty on the Zzz-PAP heated humidifier is inconvenient. The Philips Respironics, ResMed and DeVilbiss humidifiers are all covered by convenient warranties.

For you Fisher & Paykel fans out there, you should know that the F&P machines with integrated humidifiers (meaning the humidifier is not detachable and is part of the CPAP machine) have 2-year inconvenient warranties.

CPAP Mask Warranties
CPAP users are often pleasantly surprised to hear their broken CPAP mask is covered under warranty. Most CPAP mask warranties are 3-months, but DeVilbiss offers 6-month warranties on their masks. Considering CPAP users often replace a mask every six to twelve months or so, the DeVilbiss mask warranty is really compelling. With any mask, the warranty is convenient. A CPAP user needn't send a defective mask back to us, or wait for a defective mask to be repaired. If your mask broke within the warranty period and it wasn't your fault, we'll replace your mask for just the cost of shipping.

The Overall Best Warranty Coverage
Clearly, DeVilbiss offers the best warranties in the sleep therapy industry for CPAP machines, humidifiers and masks. Coupled with the fact that DeVilbiss makes excellent CPAP equipment, they're on track to compete well with Philips Respironics and ResMed, at least online, where users have more choices.

Out-of-Warranty Issues
When your CPAP machine is no longer covered by the manufacturer's warranty, then you've got a decision to make. Either send the machine in for repair, if the manufacturer still services your particular CPAP machine model, or buy a new CPAP machine. As a general rule of thumb, repair costs on basic CPAP machines can easily be $250 to $350 or more. Repair costs for bilevel machines can easily be $800 to $900 or more. In most cases, it makes a lot more sense to buy a new CPAP machine from a discounter like us. The repair costs might seem okay compared to the prices of CPAP machines at your local supplier, but just remember the local supplier is charging far too much for CPAP machines. Would you choose to pay $280 for a brand new IntelliPAP Standard Plus, or get your old machine fixed for $250 to $350?

Manufacturers generally don't make any exceptions to warranty terms. If you have a two year warranty and you call with a problem on day 731, you're out of luck. If your mask has a 3-month warranty and it broke after 95 days of use, you're out of luck. The only good news in these cases is that you can buy affordable CPAP equipment online from discounters like us!

The Beginning of the Warranty
Manufacturer warranties actually start on the day the dealer purchases equipment from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will generally allow for up to 6 months of "shelf life" to account for the potential of the CPAP equipment to sit on a dealer's shelf for a while before being sold. This generally has no impact on end users (and never impacts anyone who buys from us), but it does present a potential problem. If you buy a CPAP machine from a dealer who doesn't sell a lot of CPAP machines, it's possible the machine you buy has been sitting around in the dealer's warehouse for more than six months. In that case, you could very well be buying a machine which has a shorter warranty than you're expecting. We sell our CPAP machines and cycle through our inventory quickly enough so this isn't an issue when you buy from us. Just something to keep in mind when selecting a supplier.

The Warranty Process
Like I mentioned earlier, manufacturers don't deal directly with end users. So, when you have a problem with your equipment you'll need to call your dealer. If we sold you the equipment, call us. If we didn't sell you the equipment, you can still call us. We're more than happy to help facilitate the warranty repair or replacement process for you, even if you purchased your equipment somewhere else. After you call us, we'll call the manufacturer to verify warranty coverage and obtain a return authorization number. If you have a convenient warranty as described above, then we'll ship a brand new replacement machine immediately. Then you can send your defective machine back to us within a week or two, but in no more than three weeks. Once we receive your defective machine, we ship it to the manufacturer.

If you have an inconvenient warranty and you need to send the machine in for inspection, then the next step after we verify warranty coverage is for you to send the machine to us. Then we'll forward your machine to the manufacturer for inspection. The manufacturer will generally fix the machine within a week or so, and will ship the machine back to us. When we receive the repaired machine, we'll ship it back to you.

In rare cases, the manufacturer will not cover the reported defect under warranty because the manufacturer determines the defect to be caused by misuse or abuse of the machine. For example, if you drop your CPAP machine and crack the LCD screen and it doesn't work anymore, the manufacturer will very likely not cover this under warranty once they inspect the CPAP machine. The manufacturer will notify us of their decision and give us a repair estimate that we can forward to you, so that you can make a decision about paying to repair the CPAP machine.

In any case, we try to make the warranty process as simple and straightforward as possible, while staying within the terms set forth by the manufacturers.

I hope we don't hear from you about a warranty issue, and I'm sure you hope the same thing. But when the need arises, just give us a call.

Let us know if you have any questions about CPAP equipment warranties. We'd be happy to assist you.

Andrew Senske
President
www.cpap-supply.com

CPAP-Supply.com is a leading online retailer of CPAP equipment. Located in Spokane, WA CPAP-Supply.com has been serving thousands of customers around the world since 2001. Founded on a belief that patients are their own best primary care providers, CPAP-Supply.com understands the importance of educating patients and customers on both the effects of and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. For more information visit CPAP-Supply.com or call toll free 1-888-955-2727.