Written by Aaron Hall | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Aaron N. Hall is a Content Management Specialist for Best Company and specializes in the home security and medical alert system industries. He would tell you that he’s probably taking pictures, writing music, or working on his next novel while out of the office, but he’s actually just watching Parks and Rec.
"Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"
You've probably heard that phrase on TV at some point in a commercial for Life Alert, one of the most recognizable names in the medical alert industry. The ad first aired in the 1980s and has since become synonymous with medical alert systems themselves, occasionally causing people to refer to them as Life Alert systems.
However, dozens of companies have emerged in the medical alert industry since then. So how does Life Alert shape up against the best medical alert companies? First, we'll give you Best Company's take, followed by what real customers are saying about Life Alert.
Best Company's take
- CSAA Five-Diamond Certified
- Free equipment, shipping, and warranty
- Large monitoring call assistance
- Transparent about successful services
- Family notifications
- Carbon monoxide, intrusion, and fire protection
- 3-year contract
- Installation fees
- Equipment details
- Poor website
Life Alert has its bases covered when it comes to equipment and monitoring certifications. Free equipment, shipping, and warranty are incredibly convenient, especially if something goes wrong with the equipment. Family notifications are also a nice addition if family members would like to be aware when an emergency signal is sent. Alerts for carbon monoxide and home intrusion could also be life-saving, and often aren't seen in other medical alert systems.
However, if you look at Life Alert's website, the company doesn't offer a lot of upfront information about pricing or equipment details. The site looks like it hasn't been updated in over a decade, and that doesn't speak well in comparison to the company's competitors. Aside from that, the three-year contract alone is a great cause of grief. Top medical alert companies are doing away with lengthy contracts and choosing instead to operate month to month. The hefty installation fees are also a turnoff, and those can tally up to nearly $300.
As of January 2018, Life Alert currently has an overall score of 3 out of 10 on Best Company. You can read the full review here.
As of January 2018, Life Alert has 1 star out of a 5-star rating according to 50 customer reviews on BestCompany.com. The distribution is as follows:
- 5 star: 2 reviews
- 4 star: 2 reviews
- 3 star: 1 review
- 2 star: 3 reviews
- 1 star: 42 reviews
An analysis of the reviews finds that customers most commonly complain of pushy sales reps, high prices, and a rigid contract. Here are the top three reviews marked as "Most Helpful" as of January 2018.
- Jodi Kirk, 6/27/17
- "My grandmother had fallen and was unconscious for TWO hours and obviously was then not able to push her button. I went to check on her and found her. Therefore she looked elsewhere for a system with fall detection. She found a system and called to cancelled life alert, however was notified she was in a three year contract, something she was unaware of. She had asked in the beginning if there was a contract and was told no by Alicia. When on the phone with contract rep JR he insisted over and over she signed a contract and was spoke in the rudest wayI have ever heard an individual speak to someone, especially a kind older woman such as my grandmother. He kept telling her they had the best service and she signed a contract so she basically could not do anything. He was condescending and spoke as though she was stupid for trying to get another system that would actually help her needs. I have never personally been so upset with a customer service call and hope no one has to go through what my sweet grandma is going through. All she wants is to be safe and life alert is actually keeping her from getting the help she needs."
- Mary C. Oliver, 7/19/17
- "Worst experience in my 77 years. High pressure. Take advantage of the elderly. Dishonest. Customer Service is horrible. Downright rude. Scam artists. This company is in business of ripping off clients. They lie!!"
- John R Young, 6/13/17
- "I did not review anything about this company before I got it. Had to use it when I fell in the bathroom on the Base. Did not get anything but put on hold. They contacted my daughter not my wife, said daughter was only name on emergency contact. They thought I was home and had fallen in my bathroom not 40 miles away. Called them next day and told them to come get thei stuff and cancel my service. They said I couldn't, had 3 year contract. Am thinking of getting a lawyer and fighting it. Had Medical alert but it could not pick up 911 from my home, they tried everything to please me but nthing they had for a carry unit would work. Am telling everyone that I can how bad life alert is."