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Life Station vs Life Alert

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LIFE STATION

LifeStation is based in New Jersey and has been in business for 14 years. They offer both landline- and cellular-based medical alert systems, along with Fall Detection if desired.

Unfortunately, you can only get pricing on non-landline medical alert systems if you call a representative; LifeStation could improve their ability to compete with other services by being more transparent with all of their systems and prices right on their website.

We did speak with a very knowledgeable customer service representative. We like that their reps do not work on commission, which makes it less likely that callers will be pushed to commit to a plan. Between the representative and the website, here is the available information for LifeStation's plans:

  • In-Home: landline required. Base unit plus button wristband or pendant. 500 foot range. Fees range from $25.95/month to $29.95/month, depending on whether you choose annual, quarterly, or monthly payment plans. Fall Detection can be added for an extra fee.
  • Enhanced Location with GPS: necklace has two-way speaker to communicate with the monitoring center. We were given a quote that included Fall Detection, priced at $42.95/month if paid annually, $44.95/month for quarterly, and $46.95 if we paid month to month.

LifeStation does offer a 30-day trial period, where you can return the equipment and get a full refund if you're not satisfied with any part of the service. However, if you choose a prepaid plan and cancel after the first 30 days, you will not be eligible for a refund of your prepaid fees. This is also true if the user no longer needs the service, so we suggest you consider carefully before committing to a quarterly or annual plan if there's any chance that you may not use the medical alert system for the full three months or year.

The rep we spoke with gave us a "limited time offer" of $29.95 per month on the Enhanced Location system, but we would have had to give them a credit card over the phone to hold the price until making a decision. Without having that pricing in writing, we were hesitant to give them that kind of information.

Looking at many of the complaints filed with the BBB, it's a good thing we didn't: several people report being asked to provide a credit card "to hold the special pricing", and they were charged for the plan/medical alert system even though they never called back to authorize it. LifeStation has an A+ rating with the BBB and seems to respond - using a copy/paste response - to the complaints.

On a positive note, a plus offered by LifeStation is 24/7 customer service. While all medical alert services have 24/7 monitoring for emergency response, these operators aren't necessarily able to help users with technical issues like getting a GPS unit to track properly or installing a base unit. LifeStation does both: 24/7 monitoring as well as customer service, to make sure their clients can get either kind of help whenever they need it.

LifeStation gets high marks for a good rating with the BBB and round-the-clock customer service. On the other hand, they could improve by adding transparent pricing to their website, as well as by not seeming to play games with using credit cards to hold "special-offer pricing" and then charging customers without their permission.

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LIFE ALERT

Life Alert may be the most well-known provider of medical alert systems: founded in 1987 and famous for the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" TV spots, this CA-based business has a large customer base and a solid A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Unfortunately, Life Alert continues to make it difficult for prospective customers to get information about their plans and costs. The only way to get current pricing information for Life Alert is by calling to request a brochure. If you're not willing to give them your address and phone number, you'll be transferred to a customer care representative instead.

The representative we spoke with was very pleasant and emailed us the brochure right away. But, once again, there was no pricing in the brochure. The rep said the reason they don't put their pricing on the website is because they design a package to meet every individual's needs. She did say that they have three programs that range in price from $49 to $89 a month; she made no mention of an activation or startup fee, but many customers refer to it in their comments.

According to the customer representative, "We are the most expensive, but there's a reason: we're the best." She went on to say that one of the reasons that Life Alert is the best is because everything is guaranteed and put in writing.

Life Alert offers five main areas of protection:

  • Medical
  • Fire
  • Help Button
  • Home Invasion
  • Mobile Help/GPS

It is worth noting that there's no specific service that detects fire. Life Alert has the traditional base unit / pendant or wristband help button system as most medical alert systems, and the wearer would still need to push the button to tell the monitoring station that there is a fire. Similarly, the home invasion protection assumes that the user pushes the help button and tells the dispatcher that there's a break-in in progress; the dispatcher can then hear activity within the home through the monitoring system, report an invasion in progress to the police, and warn the intruders over the base unit's speaker that help is on the way.

Customers can choose between landline or cellular base units, and the help button range is up to 800 feet.

Life Alert's "Protection on the Go" offers nationwide coverage via cellular networks and uses GPS to locate the wearer if needed. The help button can be worn, carried in a bag or purse, or even in a pocket.

We respect the fact that Life Alert is reliable and reputable. But, customers pay a lot for that name-brand value, for services that seem to be readily available through several other companies with solid reputations.

In today's age of buy-it-online, Life Alert is shooting itself in the foot by not being transparent with their pricing (and by having a website that looks like it hasn't been updated for at least a decade). If their service is truly head and shoulders above the rest, people will still be willing to pay higher prices. But, without the ability to see those prices right away and even to order a package directly through the site, we think many people will just move on to other companies offering medical alert systems.

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Best Medical Alert Systems

To help you find the Best Medical Alert Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Life Station and Life Alert.

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.

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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