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Care homes told to be fair and open on fees and contract terms

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The competition regulator has published advice to care homes and a number of obligations they must meet to ensure the elderly and their families are being treated fairly.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued an open letter to care homes reminding them of their responsibilities under consumer law and setting out that they may need to make changes to their contract terms and practices.

Care homes are required to give upfront information to potential residents and their families so that they can make an informed choice.

This includes setting out weekly fees charged to those who are self-funding, as well as any important or surprising terms and conditions that may apply such as residents proving they can cover the cost of care.

They also have an obligation to handle complaints fairly and ensure the complaints procedure is easy to find and use.

The move comes after the CMA probed the care home sector last year and found that some people are at risk of being treated unfairly and that families were being charged fees months after the resident had died.

Given today’s announcement, the CMA will conduct a review in 12 months’ time to see how care homes are complying with consumer law.

CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, said: “It’s vital care homes treat residents and their families fairly, which is why we have issued advice to all homes across the UK to help them understand what they should and should not be doing under consumer law.

“We’ve already taken action against some providers who charged compulsory upfront fees or continued to charge for extended periods after a resident’s death.

“We’ll continue to monitor how well care homes are complying and won’t hesitate to take action again if we find evidence that providers have broken consumer law.”

The CMA has published a guide for care home residents and their families explaining what rights and protections they have. But see also’s guide to paying for care home fees for more information.

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