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Personal Emergency Response System:
What You Need to Know
By Rosalie Okaty
(Page 2  of 2)

There are a variety of PERs available. Many charge a monthly fee and a one-time set-up fee. Others require you to sign a three-month, six-month or year-long-lease, while others offer rental opportunities. To navigate the maze of PERs, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following suggestions:

  • Check out several systems before making a decision.

  • Find out if you can use the system with other response centers. For example, can you use the same system if you move?

  • Ask about the pricing, features, and servicing of each system and compare costs.

  • Make sure the system is easy to use.

  • Test the system to make sure it works from every point in and around your home. Make sure nothing interferes with transmissions.

  • Read your purchase, rental, or lease agreement carefully before signing.

Questions to Ask the Response Center

  • Is the monitoring center available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

  • What is the average response time?

  • What kind of training does the center staff receive?

  • What procedures does the center use to test systems in your home? How often are tests conducted?

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. For free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

The MSF Assistive Technology Programís number is 888-MSFOCUS (673-6287).

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