Grrr … I hate it when companies deliberately mislead people. And I especially hate it when that deception comes at a vulnerable time in your life — or, even worse, in your parents’ lives.
That’s why I am particularly disturbed by a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against two firms that recommend assisted-living facilities to consumers: CarePatrol, based in Gilbert, Ariz., and ABCSP (which also operates under the name Always Best Care), based in Roseville, Calif.
Misleading Claims of Eldercare Consultants
The websites of these companies claimed their employees had detailed, personal knowledge about the assisted-living homes. But the FTC says they didn’t and, as a result, misled consumers about their expertise and knowledge. While not admitting wrongdoing, both businesses have settled the FTC’s charges, promising not to make false or unsubstantiated claims for the next 20 years.
(MORE: 3 Scams You and Your Parents Need to Avoid)
According to the FTC complaint, CarePatrol claimed on its site that it graded “each and every facility” from A to F, based on the latest state survey. The company also said that its local senior care consultants “pre-screen every home we recommend,” looking “beyond the chandeliers and fancy lobbies to monitor each community’s care history and state violations so we can recommend the safest options for your loved ones.” In truth, the FTC said, the company didn’t monitor or grade any facilities in most states and didn’t have senior care consultants in every state it operates in.
Similarly, ABCSP said it “visits or evaluates most every facility” in the markets it operates to match the person in need of care “with the top three or four most appropriate living options based upon individual needs, custom screening and available budgets.” But the FTC said ABSCP’s placements aren’t based on its employees’ personal knowledge of all the facilities “or a substantial majority” in a given area. Since there are at least 39,000 assisted-living facilities in the United States and thousands more smaller, residential care homes, claiming to know all the senior facilities in the country would be nearly impossible.
Two Lessons From the FTC + 8 Tips to Finding a Home for Your Parents on Next Avenue
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