Action against UK care home providers who continue to charge after death

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking direct action against some unnamed UK care home providers who are continuing to charge the estates of deceased self-funding residents for up to four weeks after death.

The CMA has been investigating the scandal since June 2017, along with the equally common practice of forcing self-funding clients to pay unreasonably high moving-in fees – sometimes as much as £5,000 to be paid in advance.

As a starting point, the CMA has written to the offending providers, setting out its position that their contract terms are in breach of consumer law.

Separately, the CMA is also conducting a study of whether the elderly care home and nursing home services market is working well for residents, and is enabling business to compete fairly. It says it has identified several other consumer protection concerns: one is that people who pay for their own residential care home places are being charged £12,000 per year more than councils pay for the residents whose fees they cover. Average fees for self-funders are now nearly £850 per week, compared to the £620 paid by councils (although the numbers vary sharply from place to place).

Lindsey Sharples is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.

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