Warning to Care Home Providers to comply with consumer law

The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) have been examining residential care homes and nursing homes for over 65s. As part of that examination they published a letter to care homes, reminding them of their responsibilities under consumer law. Care homes may need to make changes to their contract terms and business practices as a result.

The CMA will be conducting a compliance review, commencing in November 2019, to assess the level of compliance with consumer law. The CMA may take further enforcement action for serious instances of breach. CMA Chief Executive, Andrea Coscelli said “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.”

What do care home providers need to do to ensure they are treating their residents fairly under consumer law?

  • Upfront information – check what upfront information they should give to potential residents, their families or other representatives and when (through websites, over the phone and when people visit) to help them make informed choices. This includes giving an indication of the weekly fees charged to self-funders and highlighting any especially important or surprising terms and conditions that will apply.
  • Treating residents fairly – making sure contract terms and the way residents and their representatives are treated is fair. Residents must not be put at an unfair disadvantage by using wording that tilts the balance of the contract too much in the care home providers favour.
  • Language – given that service users may be vulnerable, ensuring that all contracts and other literature is written in plain English and is clear and easy to understand.
  • Complaints handling – checking that they handle complaints fairly and ensure their complaints procedure is easy to find and use.

How Sintons can help?

We can carry out a review of your contractual documentation, marketing literature and internal procedures and processes to ensure compliance with consumer law. Please call Pippa Aitken on 0191 2267878 (pippa.aitken@sintons.co.uk) for a no obligation quotation.

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