CCPC begins Public Consultation on contracts of care in long-term residential care services for older people

January 30, 2018

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) announced today that it has opened a public consultation seeking views from those who have entered contracts of care in long-term residential care services for older people. This consultation will inform the CCPC’s ongoing project which is developing a set of guidelines for those who provide standard form contracts in long-term residential care services. The guidelines will set out the obligations and responsibilities that service providers must adhere to under European law.

Speaking today, Fergal O’Leary, Member of the CCPC said,

“For older consumers the decision to enter a care home is significant. In addition to the personal implications there are significant financial commitments attached to this care. For many this is the most significant contract that they, or their families, will sign up to in their lifetime.

In long-term residential care services, the contract of care is a vital legal document, as it sets out the terms and conditions, and the rights and responsibilities that the resident is bound by. Most contracts of care are standard, in that the terms have been drafted in advance, and so there may be little or no opportunity for the older person, or their representative, to negotiate or change these terms.

Given the contract’s obvious importance it is essential that residents, or whoever is representing them, are provided with the terms and conditions in a language that can be understood. And crucially, that they are not bound by terms that the law considers unfair. And so in September 2017, we commenced a project to examine the standard terms that are commonly presented in contracts of care in long-term residential care services for older people.”

The CCPC is encouraging submissions from residents, their families or representatives, who have at any time been involved in organising a contract of care in long-term residential services in Ireland. Service providers in the sector are also invited to make a submission and provide information about the care contracts they offer.

Speaking about the CCPC’s public consultation, Mr. O’Leary called on all stakeholders, whether residents, their families, support groups, service providers or trade associations to consider making a submission;

“At the end of this examination we want to produce a set of guidelines, to inform service providers who are providing standard care contracts of their obligations under consumer protection law. The project and this public consultation in particular has been designed to ensure that the guidelines we produce are informed by the experiences of both consumers and traders.”

A copy of the CCPC’s consultation paper is available here and the closing date for submissions is the 23rd of February 2017.

Additional Information:

Relevant consumer protection legislation framework

The European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995 – provides specific protections to consumers who enter into standard form contracts for goods or services. These protections ensure that consumers are not bound by unfair terms and mean that standard terms must be provided to consumers in plain and understandable language.

The CCPCs’ guidelines will set out the obligations and responsibilities placed on service providers in the sector under the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995 (Regulations).

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