We review personal alarms (member content) to show which devices keep the longest charge, are easy to use and are the most cost effective. We also have a personal alarm buying guide to help you understand the features on offer.
Do you know someone with a personal alarm? Share your experience with the Community below.
For those of us who are mostly lucid and sometimes capable of using a smart phone.
How well do these devices compare with the option to use a smart phone and a 000 call? The wise one worries if I go missing in the rehab area I might be hard to locate. Hopefully there is still some enthusiasm and interest. Are there secure personal Apps that might offer a similar feature seat, both parties in agreement to keeping tabs when required?
Noted some of the older reviewed models are only up to 3G?
Good questions @mark_m. CHOICE decided not to recommend any personal alarms due to a number of concerns, including the reliability of these devices. You can use a smartphone, though they might have some limitations compared to some alarms. A smart watch could also be an option.
I had a Samsung Mini that had an emergency feature whereby if you held certain keys down together it would force on the GPS, the camera, take a photo, and send a stored text message with your location coordinates and the photo to nominated numbers. It seemed like an awesome feature. I don’t know if later phones continued with that particular app but I know my moto G did not have anything like it as delivered.
There are a few ‘emergency’ apps on ‘the stores’, but none I looked at are as polished and ‘slick’, and some are centric to ‘not here’.
My Mum recently purchased a 4G personal alarm device from Personal Alarms Australia.
On setting up the device she found she was unable to activate the small button on the side of the device.
She has arthritis in her hands and reduced sensation in a couple of her fingers due to a recent compound wrist fracture - which was the trigger for her deciding to get a device.
I contacted Personal Alarms Australia on her behalf and requested a refund - it was denied. The company stated they only refund if the device is faulty - no mention of this is made in their refund policy detailed on their website.
Mum is now out of pocket $299 and has an obsolete device that is unfortunately for her not fit for purpose.
As the product isn’t faulty and the reason you are unhappy with the purchase being your mother is unable to push a button, it will fall under a ‘Change of Mind’
Change of Mind Policies sit outside the Australian Consumer Law and as such a business can nominate its own policies.
The only grounds where it may have any success under the Australian Consumer Law is that the 4G personal alarm isn’t fit for purpose as it can’t be easily used by a consumer that may reasonably be expected to be able to use the device. It will be a difficult argue to mount, as one would need to be able to prove that a reasonable person would expect a person with ‘arthritis in her hands and reduced sensation in a couple of her fingers due to a recent compound wrist fracture’ could be reasonably be expected to use the device. The complications your mother has may be seen as unusual and not something a device would normally be designed and cater for. Good luck (you may need it) if you decide to take this path.
They appear to be claiming it is a change of mind. It is imperative to review the T&C for all online purchases as even ill-fitting clothing buyers have met with a similar response from some less than top level merchants.
Your best chance is, if any of the following apply, to write PAA a formal ‘Letter of Complaint’ claiming the device is not fit for purpose and under the Australian Consumer Law you are due a refund. From the ACCC
Fit for a particular purpose
This guarantee applies when:
a consumer tells a business they want to use a product for a particular purpose
the consumer buys the product based on the advice of the business
the business advertises in any way that the product can be used for a particular purpose.
In any of these situations, the product that the business sells must be fit for the particular purpose stated.
This guarantee does not apply:
if it’s unreasonable for the consumer to rely on the skill or judgement of the business
if the business tells the consumer the product won’t meet their purpose, but the consumer buys the product anyway.
Can I assume that the small button is for configuring the alarm, and not the main SOS button, because from what I see on Personal Alarms Australia the button to be pressed is very large and on the front.
No, you can’t make that assumption, Greg. I’ve tested many, many personal alarms, and some have a feature where they can call a pre-set number but not as an SOS. This is always actioned by pressing one of the smaller buttons on the device.
There are also some that allow you to check e.g. the battery status by pressing one of the small buttons.
Given that many of these devices are used by older persons that may have issues with their eyesight or dexterity, it’s certainly not ideal.
Thanks for your interest Gregr - Mum didn’t have any problems pressing the large SOS button which triggers the alarm and would typically send a text message to my phone - the issue was that when I rang her back on the mobile number which is configured to the device itself she needed to be able to hold the small button down for a short period of time to enable my call to be connected. We trialled this process a number of times and unfortunately Mum was unable to manage pressing the small button in a non urgent situation - so we had to accept the device would not be suitable when she was in a more distressed state. I had hoped that Personal Alarms Australia would be happy to accept her return and request for a refund on the basis of this feedback but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
There is as suggest previously I prior posts a ‘Fit for Purpose’ requirement included with Australian Consumer Law. We can relate to similar situations with support products purchased for use by several of our family.
It may prove useful to refer to the information provided by the seller as to whom (personal medical conditions) the product is intended to support. It’s reasonable to expect that if they reference older persons, those with mobility limitations etc, many will also have physical limitations with dexterity, arthritis etc.
The seller may be silent in suggesting the product is/may not be suitable for some due to medical condition/s. Without a like statement is it reasonable for the purchaser to expect the product is not limited in its usefulness through design, and allows for the relatively common condition/s.
For the purchaser and constructively the seller, it’s only possible to determine if the product is suitable once in the hands of the end user. Poor form by the seller if they do not provide proactively for returns. Scope for arguing the product is ‘not fit for purpose’ depending on the information the seller provided and the purchaser relied upon when making the purchase.
The key point to present is hand debilitating conditions are common among those likely to need use of one of the alert devices. Something the supplier has either provided adequately for, or specifically excludes in clear advice to would be purchasers.