Care homes for the elderly are to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to find out whether residents are being treated fairly.
The study is the result of reports of unfair practices and contract terms. In particular it would like to hear from residents and relatives about problems including: hidden charges, confusing requests for top-up payments, unexpected fee increases or any examples where they believe a complaint was not handled fairly.
According to the CMA, there are currently 430,000 people living in care homes across the UK. The watchdog now wants to know how widespread concerns are, how they are affecting residents, and whether or not consumer law is being breached.
Commenting on the study, Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive, says: “Choosing a care home can be emotional and costly. It’s therefore essential that elderly people and their families have all the information they need to make the best possible choice, and then feel secure in the knowledge they will be fairly treated throughout their time there.
“We are undertaking a thorough review of the sector to make sure it works in the best interests of those who rely on it. We want to hear from care home providers about the services they offer and any challenges they face, as well as residents, families and charities who have experienced what it’s like to choose and live in a care home.
“Given the concerns we have heard about possible breaches of consumer law, we particularly want to hear from people who think they might have encountered unfair terms or practices.”
Comments can be sent to the CMA at email@example.com until 5pm on Monday 16 January 2017.