Three leading care home providers revise after death fees policies
Care UK, Hallmark Care Homes and The Fremantle Trust have made changes to their after death fees.
The changes follow the CMA’s investigation and publication of consumer law advice to care home providers (BREAKING NEWS: Regulator sets out consumer advice for care homes), which sets a three-day limit for the charging of after-death fees.
The CMA said: “Each of the care homes has, on a voluntary basis, made changes to the terms of their standard residential contracts, which cover the period for which fees are required to be paid following a resident’s death, and the treatment of their possessions.
“The CMA considers that the changes made in these cases constitute satisfactory undertakings and has now closed each of these specific investigations.”
A spokesperson from Hallmark Care Homes said: “We have worked closely with the Competitions Market Authority since they began their initial care home market study in November 2017 and immediately followed their final advice that was issued on the 31 May 2018. We will continue to review our practices in line with the CMA’s advice on consumer law in relation to care homes.”
Liz Turvey, Company Secretary at The Fremantle Trust, added: “The Fremantle Trust has voluntarily made changes to its terms and conditions within residential contracts regarding fees charged after death and the treatment of possessions. We felt it was important to articulate this clearly to ensure transparency with our customers from the outset.”
Care UK said it had voluntarily revised it fee structure in July to bring it line with CMA guidance.
It added: “For clarity, these are voluntary changes arising from a wide ranging review of our fee structures and transparency rather than a formal regulatory process. We continue to give residents and their families more transparent information than the vast majority of care home operators. It is now up to the CMA to ensure that its own guidance is followed in a consistent way by all providers in the sector.”
The CMA threatened Care UK with legal action in December if it did not refund more than 1,600 residents over upfront fees (see BREAKING NEWS: CMA threatens legal action against Care UK over upfront fees).
The government department has also highlighted Barchester Healthcare, Bupa and HC-One as exceeding its recommended limit on after-death fees (see Leading care home providers exceeding CMA limit on after-death fees).