Competing honestly is what America is all about. In the emergency response system industry, as in most industries, there are good companies and bad companies. By definition most companies are just average. At Vital-Link, we think we are among the best at providing medical alarm systems, medical alert devices medical alert and alarm buttons and the associated service of medical alarm monitoring.
It makes all of the good companies that do what Vital-Link does ... look bad ... when there are a few " bad apples" in the bunch. Even if you are about to choose Vital-Link as your medical alert system provider ... take a few extra minutes ... make a few calls and get a feel for who is going to be taking care of your at risk senior citizen who might need a medical alarm button at the time of an emergency. We are confident that you will find Vital-Link the most appealing PERS (personal emergency response system) provider in the country. We would not encourage you to call our competition in the medical alarm industry if we did not think that we not only have the best offer but that we also provide one of the best medical alarm systems and services in the country.
If you so desire, please check out ... http://www.consumeraffairs.com ... a sampling found on this website on 8/17/11.
Life Alert Sales Practices ... http://www.consumeraffairs.com/age/lifealert_sales.html
Consumer Complaints & Reviews
I originally called to get information about a Life Alert product because my ailing grandmother had fallen down after using the bathroom and spent the night on the floor. She spent the night on the floor and I thought a life alert push button thing would be good for her. If we couldn't hear her faint calls for help, at least they would know she needed help.
When a guy from the company called me back, it wasn't to send me info like the commercial promised. Instead, a hostile man started trying to sell me one. Repeatedly I told him I don't know any info on it and that's what I was trying to get. Then the man started going off telling me that if anything happens to her after this conversation and I didn't buy their product, I would be 100% responsible for anything that happened to her.
He went as far as to tell me that he would document this conversation in case things went bad for her so I could be tried. Not only was the conversation very threatening, but it had to be the without a doubt the rudest/most insensitive conversation I have ever had with a person.
I will never do business with any company that uses hostile sales techniques. As far as I'm concerned, the federal government should be investigating them!
sean of san diego, CA
I was , until today an installer of Life Alert systems for seniors. The reason I refuse to do any more installs is because of the deceptive and sales tactics used to sign up seniors for this service.
Russell of Garrison, TX
LeJay from the Beverly Hills Life Alert facility got on the phone with my 87 year old mother, Phyllis, and me because I had referred my mother to buy a Life Alert system. The company is housed in our office building and LeJay had introduced herself to me.
The sales tactics were heavy handed and very personal, but my mother and I decided to go with the Life Alert System system, even through they got $195 up front and the system was $49.95 a month with a 3 year contract that LeJay kept emphasizing was cancellable if my mom went into a 24 hour care facility. (LeJay originally had asked $300, but reduced it when my mother refused.)
When my mom got the machine she realized that it offered no monitoring, just reporting if she pushed the button for help, a service that was of no use to her if she passed out. She wanted someone to check on her daily, as her last monitoring system had. Life Alert delivered by UPS the machine, and the next day the contract, a 4-page document with several small print items that had not been explained to my mother and to me:
• at the end of 3 years she had 30 days to notify the company in writing that she wanted to discontinue the equipment or else the contact automatically renewed for another 3 years, uncancellably;
• that she had 60 days to return the machine or else she had to pay $400 for it;
• that the nursing home had to be permanent and 24 hour a day to cancel the service.
Life Alert scheduled a UPS contract pick-up the next day. My mother and called Life Alert Friday, November 5,and told LeJay to have her company pick it up and return my mom's $195 sign-up fee. The Life Alert manager called her back and told her to return it she would have to pay for handling fees. My mother told him that he could deduct only the actual cost of UPS shipping, nothing more. He said that the charge had already gone to the credit card company and couldn't be stopped.
My mother does not believe that Life Alert will return her $195 fees, and they have not verified that they will do so. She signed no contract at any time, and the extra fees at the end of 3 years were not explained to her during the sales call.
This company takes advantage of senior citizens in many ways. My mother is very alert and so could read the contract that was so egregious and one-sided toward Life Alert. But other seniors are not so able to read a 4-page contract with small print. Life Alert services are overpriced, because competing monitoring companies offer better services with smaller fees ($30-$45 per month) and require no contracts, set-up, and end fees.
This company uses unfair high pressure tactics on seniors, locking them into contracts that it rushes them to sign before they have a chance to consult relatives or personal managers. It uses UPS delivery and pick-up, probably to avoid federal mail fraud charges. I would like my mother's money returned promptly, but my complaint is not only for my mother, but for those other seniors seniors who are not so able. The company emphasizes Surgeon General Koop endorses the Life Alert System. I would hate to believe that such a prominent figure is involved in this.
JK of Beverly Hills, CA
I called the 800 number they have listed on their website. The website says for a free brochure to call the 800 number. After they obtained my grandmother's mailing address from me they said that they cannot just send her the brochure without also having her phone number so their sales person can call her.
I told the sales person that I only wanted them to send her the brochure and not bother her with a salesman calling her. He told me that they have to have her phone number and they can't just send her the brochure ... even though their website says they will send a free brochure. I told them I knew of their heavyhanded sales tactics and I didn't want my grandmother subjected to that over the phone and that I would do business with their competition.
Rebecca of Avon, CO
Alert several months ago to inquire about monitoring products for my 92-year-old mother. They sent me literature but never mentioned (on phone nor in brochure) about the 3 year contract. After checking their records and learning of several complaints, I decided NOT to purchase and informed them of such.
Anyway, they continue to call me at work even though I have told them I am not interested. A salesman called me again today and asked me why I was no longer interested. He kept on and on and practically called me a liar. I told him I did not have time nor the desire to argue with him. He would not stop accusing me being wrong. I had to hang up in his face to get rid of him.
Judi of Jacksonville, FL
I called to disconnect Life Alert and was told some one would call me back, but no one will return my call. I never signed anything but they take their payment from my bank every month. This unit is at my mother-in-law's home. My husband is deceased and I have two children to care for and can no longer pay for this, my in-laws said they would but they don't, so I got stuck with this bill.
Paul the salesman understood that I would make the down payment and my sister-in-law would make the payments, but he had the monthly payments taken from my bank.
Susan of Gilmer, TX
My mother called for product information only and has been called repeatedly by Life Alert sales people using high pressure and unethical sales techniques. Without her consent they have shipped product to her home and instructed her to have a check in an envelope for the technician they were sending to perform the installation.
I called the company last week and left a message insisting they cease calling and harassing my mother. I left my number for them to call if they had questions but have not been called. My sister and brother-in-law have both called, at separate times, also instructing them to stop calling. Life Alert is still calling mom and attempting to deliver product.
Wynn of Roswell, GA
While I was visiting my father-in-law, he received a call from Life Alert and he politely told them he was not interested. Within 45 seconds after he hung up, the same representative with Life Alert called him and he again politely told them he was not interested. When the phone rang again within 45 seconds after he hung up the second time, I answered the phone. I heard the female representative say to someone with her "I've got him on the phone again."
I told her to quit calling and she tried to tell me she was obligated to call. After our brief conversation about her obligation, she hung up on me. All three times the number on the caller ID was 656-733-1999. I called that number and asked to speak to a supervisor. I was giving somewhat of a runaround and then put on hold. I did speak to John Aceri. I explained the events to him and he was going to look into the matter. When I was investigating just who "Life Alert" is, I found the reference to their law suit about the ConsumerAffairs.com website. I wanted to share this story in case you needed a current example of their sales practices.
My father-in-law is in a wheelchair and has limited use of his hands as well. It is an effort for him to answer the phone. Not only is unwanted telephone solicitation mentally aggravating but it is physically demanding in his case. Three times within a matter of minutes is harrassment!
Jerry of Winder, GA
Your site notes complaints and legal suits. However, the BBB in Calif. gives them a good Report, with all matters attended to satisfactorily. Can you not advise the BBB of the info you documented and the suits for the benefit of other consumers who will be using BBB's Report? Likewise, have you consulted with C. Everett Koop, MD (Former Surgeon General) whose Picture is currently posted on Life Alert's Web site their Current 9 x 12 mailing material? Don't you feel Dr. Koop would be interested in what his good name is used on?
As a direct result of my using Life Alert's WEb site and filling out a request form for "more info," I was telephoned and received their mailing. I am not registering a complaint. However, Mr. Jason Stanley certainly used high pressure tactics to try to get me to sign up right then and there, at $199.95 for equipment and set-up and for taking my medical info, etc., plus $49.95 monthly for the service. At no time did he hint at any "3 year obligation".
If all Life Alert Telemarketers use the same friendly yet excessively forceful sales pressure/tactics, it is no wonder at all that many other elderly folks cannot get away before they timidly sign up! Who will protect them?
In response to Edward's questions, the BBB must take responsibility for its reports, as must Dr. Koop, who is presumably aware of the fact that he has endorsed Life Alert.
Edward of Hawthorne, FL
My mother ordered a unit for herself and had the man from Life Alert call both my sister and myself to pay for the unit. We were told that she would own the unit after we paid the inital start up fee $250.00 and that we could then pay the monthly fee at $29.99 a month. We were also told that it would be activated immediately.
We were never sent a contract. Yet $500.00 was taken from my sister's account. Life Alert attempted to charge $49.99 to my credit card without notice. Which is $20.00 more then I was told. I never signed or recieved a contract. I wrote to cancel the service with a money order enclosed for the intial 2 months service. Then the salesman (Mr Mann) called me and agreed to cancel the contract and was very rude about it.
Then he called my ailing mother and harrassed her for the money on the contract and demanded the return of her unit. Then he sent a UPS man to pick up said unit from my mother. She still is in posession of the unit. They have refused to return my sisters money and we will not send a unit back until she gets back a full refund. They lied to us about their whole program the unit was never activated by life alert. The company is harrassing an old and infirm person even though they said that they would not do that.
I was never informed of the true terms of the contract and Mr. Mann point-blank refused to give me a copy of any contract.
Deborah of Catawba, VA
My mother is 87 years old and was more or less bullied into buying the Life Alert system. They did not and would not give her a copy of the contract and did not inform her it was a 3-year contract. They also didn't tell her she did not own the equipment. She is practically blind and can not read small print.
She trusted a sales person of a business to be honest with her but instead he bullied her into beliveing she had to have this equipment. They have also tried to bully me with their phone calls telling me what I had better do and when. I'm not 87 and I won't be bullied.
Helen of Mantua, OH
The salesperson had my 98-year-old mother sign the contract without sending me a copy or informing me that we had incurred a 3-year debt by installing the machine. It took 5 phone calls to the Encino business office to get a copy of the contract (which I had never seen). Only learned of the 3-year contract when my mother decided she did not want the service.
My mother was having panic attacks. It adversely affected her health. The business office was not forthcoming with the contract copy; I would never have signed anything with a 3-year commitment of funds.
Jean of Haverhill, MA
Received a "cold call" for a demonstration of Life Alert, but they weren't "selling" anything. Your ConsumerAffairs.com shows a 3 year contract which implies to me "high pressure" sales tactics. I wasn't buying into it.
Oh, but it will only take a few minutes to "show" it to you and tell you all about it. ha ha, then comes the intimidation. Been there done that many times over in my youth. I have not been affected in any way but thought i'd alert you to what is gong on. I don't accept solicitations via phone.
Tom of Willingboro, NJ
Salesman came to house. Explained how LifeAlert works. Talked us into it, but never told us that we were in a 3 year contract. Was supposed to be for ailing wife, only she passed away 9 weeks later.
Monday 3/18/02, unit malfunctioned. I called LifeAlert for repair. Told me 3/31/02 for repairman. I called back to cancel service and was THEN told I was responsible for paying for 3 years. Salesman never explained terms of contract.
I am 85 years old with failing eyesight and my wife was stricken with a form of Alzheimer's during her cancer bout. I feel this was a terible way to take advantage of seniors and their last bit of savings.
John of Toms River, NJ