Like any other major company, LifeLock is not immune to consumer complaints, though it has had more than its fair share of negative publicity. The LifeLock identity theft protection service is meant to try to prevent identity theft, but what it’s most useful for is alerting clients to the beginning stages of identity theft through monthly credit monitoring so that clients can take action before their identity is stolen. For the most part, LifeLock manages to provide clients with the services it claims, although in its early years that was not always true. Let’s look at the biggest complaints about the LifeLock service.
The LifeLock service isn’t effective.
When it’s considered that LifeLock does not offer a credit freeze, which would prevent any new lines of credit from being opened, LifeLock should be effective in what it claims to do: monitor clients’ credit reports and alert them to any possible fraud. Those familiar with the LifeLock service know that CEO Todd Davis has openly shared his social security number in the company’s advertisements. LifeLock apparently did not live up to its service claims in his case; in 2010 it was reported that Davis’ identity had been stolen at least thirteen times through fraudulent utility bills, new cell phone accounts, loans, and even a credit offer through a gift basket company. In some cases, Davis didn’t find out about the fraud until a year after the fact when collections activity appeared on his credit report. Whether this is because he did not receive LifeLock alerts about the activity or did not follow up on them is unclear.
The LifeLock service doesn’t protect against all forms of identity theft.
This complaint has some basis in fact. Most identity theft occurs through the theft of information relating to existing accounts, and the LifeLock service primarily monitors for new accounts. The Federal Trade Commission felt that this consumer complaint had enough merit to bring suit against LifeLock for false advertising claims. The suit was settled in March 2010, and LifeLock re-wrote its service agreements and advertising pieces.
The $1 million dollar service guarantee isn’t what it claims to be.
LifeLock’s well-known $1 million dollar guarantee is not a form of insurance, which would protect clients financially in the event of identity theft. The $1 million dollar guarantee is actually a service guarantee that functions like a limited warranty: LifeLock will only cover certain (not all) expenses associated with identity theft if the theft occurred due to a defect in its service – for instance, if it failed to alert a client to an unauthorized new credit line. After a class action lawsuit, LifeLock re-wrote the $1 million guarantee due to this confusion, and clients who read the information on their LifeLock policy thoroughly should not be caught off guard by what the guarantee actually does.
The services LifeLock offers can be done without LifeLock’s assistance.
Many LifeLock benefits, including opting out of pre-screened credit offers, placing fraud alerts with the major credit reporting bureaus, and requesting annual credit reports can in fact be done by consumers at no cost directly with the source. However, it is very time consuming, and requires consumers to be proactive. The LifeLock service may be of most benefit to individuals who do not have the time or inclination to perform these activities regularly themselves.
LifeLock’s customer service isn’t very helpful.
Any major company is bound to face this complaint, but LifeLock’s B rating with the Better Business Bureau indicates it may have received this complaint more often than most, with 85 complaints registered. This, combined with the regulatory action against LifeLock by the FTC, has resulted in a lower BBB rating than most companies of LifeLock’s size. Most complaints about LifeLock’s services are related to billing and collections, and a search of consumer reviews shows that LifeLock has a tendency to blame these issues on “computer glitches”, which can hardly be satisfying to the affected consumers.
On the whole, the complaints about LifeLock are rooted in real issues, though LifeLock has taken steps to address many of them. This may simply be a case of that old adage, “you get what you pay for”: at $10 per month for the basic LifeLock service, LifeLock is certainly on the low end of fees for consumer services.
But the all new Lifelock Ultimate offers a lot more than the old $10 a month plan. It addresses many of these complaints and a more robust identity theft protection service that includes tri-bureau credit monitoring, bank account monitoring, and a more proactive customer support team. Of course you have to pay more for this new service, but it might be worth looking into for some people.