Alert 1 vs Response Link for April 2019

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Alert 1 vs Response Link

See ALL of our Medical Alert System Reviews

Who has the best Medical Alert Systems? As the US population ages, the need for medical alert systems grows. Given the increasing number of seniors who prefer to "age in place" - living in their own home as long as possible, rather than moving to an independent or assisted living facility for the elderly - it is easy to see why a medical alert system could make the difference between life and death.

Medical alert systems give users the ability to rapidly contact emergency services, typically through a button worn on the wrist or as a pendant around the neck. All it takes is a click of that button to get in touch with an operator who will help determine if a call to emergency medical services is needed. For added peace of mind, a number of companies offer equipment that can automatically detect when the wearer has fallen.

ALERT 1

Alert1 is based in Pennsylvania and is a partner brand of ResponseLINK - sharing a BBB listing and offering much of the same equipment. However, Alert1 seems to be the more modern version of the two, offering a total of 5 service options compared with just 2-3 sold by ResponseLINK:

  • Home: starting at $19.95/month for semi-annual and annual payment plans (or $25.95/month for quarterly plans), this system requires a landline to connect the base to the 24/7 monitoring center. A waterproof pendant-style or wristwatch button is used to communicate with the base, and it has a range of 600 feet.
  • Fall Detection: starting at $30.95 for 6- and 12-month prepayment plans (and $36.95/month for quarterly plans), this plan adds automatic fall detection and does not require a landline for service. However, this plan only supports a range of 400 feet from the panic button to the base. The button can be either a pendant or wristwatch-style device.
  • On-the-Go: this system is also priced at $30.95 (6- and 12-month plans) or $36.95 (3-month plans). This medical alert service uses a pendant-style device that looks something like a pager, and it connects the wearer to the monitoring center via T-Mobile or AT&T mobile networks. It does not include GPS technology or fall detection.
  • Mobile + Fall Detection: this service plan costs $41.95/month on semi-annual and annual payment plans, and $47.95/month when paid quarterly. It includes GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular coverage (via AT&T's network) to locate the user if the button is pushed or a fall is detected. The system uses the same pendant-style device as the On-the-Go plan.
  • Home + Mobile + Fall Detection: Alert1's top-tier plan costs $52.95/month for 6- and 12-month payment plans, and $58.95/month for 3-month plans. The system is controlled either by a pendant (home or mobile use) or wristband (home use only).

All plans can include a second user for a discounted price; on some plans it is only just $5 more per month. Each plan includes unlimited button-pushes and talk time; we thought it was interesting that Alert1 says that their system can be used even if someone just feels like having a conversation.

Also, Alert1 does not require a long-term commitment or charge equipment fees for any of their medical alert systems. They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only on plans that are prepaid in 6- or 12-month installments. In other words, if you select the shortest term, quarterly, and aren't happy with your service, you will not get any money back if you cancel. We found many customer reports that Alert1 does not make it easy to take advantage of that satisfaction guarantee, even when a user passes away or the service is no longer needed for some other reason. These complaints are part of the reason that the BBB has downgraded Alert1 / ResponseLINK's rating to an "A" instead of the "A+" they previously held.

We like the greater range of products and services offered by Alert1 when compared with their partner company, but we think most customers will not love the need to pay 6 months in advance just to get a 30-day guarantee - especially when many of their competitors have medical alert systems with more features and less money per month, with no need to prepay in order to have the possibility of a refund.

Alert1 is an improvement over ResponseLINK, but doesn't quite go far enough to put it in the same league as the higher-ranked medical alert systems in our review.

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RESPONSE LINK

ResponseLINK has come a long way during their almost 20 years in the medical alert systems industry. Originally created out of a partnership between Advantor Corp. and Bell South, this company has moved away from its previous distributor-based sales model with an updated, easy-to-use website that allows customers to order directly - no salesperson required.

You'll find two basic, no-frills options when buying a medical alert system through ResponseLINK. Neither plan requires a long-term contract or equipment fees, and both come with free 1-5 business day shipping:

  • In-Home Alert: starting at $19.95/month, this system uses a landline to connect users to their 24/7 monitoring center. The waterproof, wearable pendant-style panic button has a 600-foot range from the base station. If you'd like a system that automatically detects falls, you can choose the system that includes that feature for $30.95/month. The ResponseLINK site doesn't specify whether that system uses a landline, but the equipment photos look exactly like the In-Home system - so it's probably safe to assume you'll need a landline.
  • Mobile Alert: starting at $30.95/month, this system uses a device that looks something like an old-style pager and uses GPS location through the T-Mobile cellular network to provide help wherever the person goes.

We weren't thrilled to see that the ResponseLINK site proudly proclaims an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, because the BBB site showed a lower grade of just "A". Most of the complaints there centered around their sister site, Alert1, which offers several equipment/service plans not available through ResponseLINK.

One frequent area of complaint is billing. You can save money by paying for your medical alert service annually or semi-annually, but buyer beware: we found many customers complaining that they were not able to get a refund for unused months if they had to cancel the service (e.g. if the user passed away or entered hospice care). You can only get ResponseLINK's "30 day risk-free money-back guarantee" on service plans paid in advance, not monthly billing, but for many customers that just means a big fight with customer service to actually get their prepaid money back.

Seniors and their caregivers need the best technology combined with excellent customer service and hassle-free billing. ResponseLINK's medical alert systems fall very short in all three of those criteria. We strongly suggest you choose a more customer-friendly service provider.

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There are a wide variety of choices when it comes to medical alert systems: some services that have been on the market for many years, and others that are newer to the industry. When shopping around for the right product for yourself or for a loved one, you may find a straightforward, easy-to-use website that clearly explains your options. On the other hand, some companies still rely on pushy sales tactics that won't give you much information unless you speak with a representative.

As you compare the various medical alert systems currently available, there are several aspects to keep in mind:

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best medical alert systems on the market today. We hope these reviews give you the information you need to select the medical alert service that will give you or your loved one extra safety and peace of mind.



How to Choose a Medical Alert System

Each year many sick and elderly people encounter accidents and health issues that needlessly take their lives. Medical alert systems can make all the difference in the world for those living alone and in distress. In an emergency, medical alert units create a direct line of communication to needed assistance. If a person falls or becomes ill they simply press a button on a pendant or wrist transmitter to gain the attention of an emergency specialist. That person will immediately call the authorities to send help if needed. The fear of a loved one waiting hours or even days for assistance is no longer an issue with a medical alert system available.

If this is your first medical alert system purchase you may be looking for help with choosing the right device. Making a well informed decision will ensure you get the most for your money and are satisfied with the end result.

There are several important elements to consider when choosing a medical alert system. Some of these include:

Equipment
Not all equipment is created equal. The medical alert button needs to be easy to wear and use. Some may want a unit that's water proof and sturdy to handle showers. If hearing is an issue you'll want a unit that is easy to adjust and has adequate volume options. Knowing the size of the home and how far the transmitter will reach is also important. You'll want UL tested equipment with a good history. Look for products with a battery back-up should the power go out. Also look to see how often batteries need to be replaced. Some batteries last a few months while others last for years. Ask about installation and if a professional is required and how much that will cost.

Warranty
If something happens to the equipment you'll want to make sure it comes with a guarantee. Preferably, the company will replace any broken equipment at no cost. Also look for a company that regularly tests the in home system for good working . Are extended customer support hours available should an issue or question come up about the equipment.

Monitoring Center
In the event of an emergency you'll want a company that provides fast, top notch service. A monitoring company that utilizes its own employees, and doesn't outsource, will most likely provide the best overall service. One that is accountable and well staffed. Does the monitoring company have back-up power, during outages, and are they UL certified?

Cost and Contracts
All medical alert companies price their equipment and monthly monitoring fees differently. Some will sell you the equipment and then charge a monthly fee while others will allow you to rent the equipment and including the monitoring costs in the monthly charges. Some require a several year contract while others are more flexible. If you decide to cancel the contract early you may encounter an early termination fee. Make sure you understand any fees associated with a medical alert system you're considering.

 



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