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Life Alert Pendant Medical Alert

Life Alert is offered by Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc., based in Florida. It owns the trademark to the famous (or infamous) “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Life Alert has an interesting history. In 1993, the company was sued by California’s Attorney General for deceptive practices and agreed to pay $1,350,000 in fines. The case was described this way by Rep. Linda Sanchez of California:

California’s district attorney stopped Life Alert, the purveyors of the ‘‘I have fallen and cannot get up” advertisements from aggressive door-to-door sales tactics. Those tacticLife Alert Medical Alert Watchs included refusing to leave elderly people’s homes until they bought the product, and refusing to issue refunds to consumers who complained about such tactics.1

In 2004, the company sued a consumer complaint Web site, consumeraffairs.com, that was publishing consumer complaints about the Life Alert product. Life Alert later dropped most of the claims, and the remaining trademark claim was settled out of court. Consumeraffairs.com discusses the case here.

Pros

  • Attractive devices: pendant and wristwatch are both appealing

Cons

  • It is difficult to get basic information about the products, services and pricing. The Web site is unhelpful. The toll free number leads to a call center that mails brochures and, in our experience, the representative was unable to answer basic questions.
  • Requires three-year contract, which is not clearly disclosed in the advertising
  • Limited choice of equipment
  • The device must be installed by the customer
  • Comparatively expensive

See a sample Life Alert contract, with key provisions highlighted.

Visit the Life Alert Web site


  1. Cong. Rec. H5298 2003 

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