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care company threatening legal action -Carers UK Forum

care company threatening legal action

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We employed a company to provide care for our son. The company rented a property and the idea was our son would go to it during the day for activities returning home in the evening. It was also to be used for one weekend a months respite. Funding was provided by a direct payment/individual budget fromlocal authority
We stuck with it for several months but it didnt really work. Our son hated leaving home each morning, the carer decided to leave the company, who told us they could use the property as staff accomodation despite the fact we had furnished the house and were paying all the bills and rent. It all became a farse and we pulled out.
We then recieved a bill from the company for 3 months rent and 85 hours of care , a total of over £6000. We have written to them pointing out we have no written contract with them and why on earth should we pay for care we have not recieved. They have now threatened to take us to court.
Just wanted to vent my spleen really and warn others to ensure they have everything in writing when dealing with care companies!
Have you seen a solicitor?Would have thought,by what you say,that they don`t have a leg to stand on,and have in fact failed in their obligation to you,even though there isn`t a written contract. Image Image
Does the name of the company begin with R by any chance. My son was sued by a care company for £10,000 of alleged unpaid fees after he left. Unfortunately for them, I have an Honours degree in Business Studies so I can spout Contract Law like a parrot! I've also run accounts for a hospital, and a business, so always keep proper records. The first set of accounts I was shown were a joke, didn't show a payment of approx. £5,000 and he'd been charged for a lot of care which hadn't been received. In fact the Independent Living Fund Fraud Officer had been involved and fortunately he'd put everything clearly in writing. In the months that followed, the company "adjusted" the account several times. They threatened me with court action unless I paid £4,000 in full and final payment, to which I replied "See you in court!". They issued proceedings etc. refused to acknowledge that what I said was true, backed up with evidence. Finally, I explained to the solicitor that it would give me the greatest pleasure to explain what was going on to the court. A care provider with accounts so badly maintained that they really didn't have a clue what was going on. The Fraud Officer even offered to come to court if neccessary, so there was no way in the world that the care provider was going to win. Finally the case was dropped, but it was very stressful even when I knew I was right and had evidence and support. Just check your facts and gather together all the information you have. Incidentally, I hope you mentioned that it was furnished by you - did you get everything back in good order? Take care. Jill
Hi Daisy, I remember you posting about all of this when it was being set up. Things never ran smoothly and now this. I hope you are getting some good legal advice. Your son should be able to get legal aid if necessary. S has had to have legal aid twice in his life to fight for his rights and he is just 20.

Bowlingbun, that is shocking. I think you should name and shame the company so that other carers can avoid it (maybe forum rules don't allow you too.) Good job you had the expertise, but like you say the stress fighting this thought of thing is immense. I suppose some of these companies are used to intimidating the vulnerable and getting away with it. Shocking.

Melly1
What I've told you is the tip of an iceberg. The same care company failed to support my son properly with his finances. £200 was withdrawn from his account - never traced, a brand new camera disappeared with all his Italian holiday photos on it - they tried to blame my son, but why was the charger also missing. He had his own car at the moment, was supported to drive to the coast 40 miles away 3 times in one week, with staff, on one occasion paying £48 for a meal!! He bought things from a supermarket (receipt evidence) which he never ate. Repeated complaints to the care provider, copied to Social Services, failed to resolve them. In the middle of it all Social Services decided I didn't need a social worker any more. The SW concerned said to me, that if I couldn't sort them out then what could he do?! Even a formal allegation of financial abuse was mishandled. Police were never given the evidence, and I was never allowed to contribute to the investigation directly. The only person who ever seemed to care was the ILF Fraud Officer, who was brilliant. SSD then made arrangements for my son to move, to another care provider, and so started another chapter of overcharging (£1500), charging my son for mileage which was the responsibility of the Local Authority, threatening me with legal action if I didn't pay what I didn't owe immediately, etc. etc.etc. In total, there is £4,000 less in my son's bank account because of the behaviour of this secornd organisation. This is now being investigated by the Local Govt. Ombudsman and the LA at a very senior level, but the SW (different one) freely admitted to me that her maths were so poor that she was thinking of doing a Basic Numeracy course!!!!!!!!!!!!! In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases of physical abuse against people with severe learning difficulties. It has said that the solution is to have smaller homes and supported living instead. From my experience, these leave vulnerable adults even more exposed to financial abuse. Social Services Area Manager has told me in writing that he does not want to harm the "good working relationship" he has with the care agency. The Police don't want to know - although the care provider have fraudulently demanded money from my son which he doesn't owe, and the Care Quality Commission have also failed to act, despite repeated complaints at higher and higher levels. Once the Ombudsman has finally reached his decision, it will become public. However he's not investigated from scratch himself, but sent me copies of the relevant papers, and asked me to point out the problems! All this relates to a period from April 2006 onwards. September 2006 I found my husband dead in bed from a heart attack, December 2006 I was nearly killed in a car accident which wrote off a Range Rover, leaving me virtually housebound. After 5 years of constant pain I've just had my second knee replacement - so it has been a terrible time for me, especially as mum is also severely disabled. The most shocking thing of all is that no one seems genuinely concerned.
You have had a really tough time. You are quite right that no one is genuinely concerned. I dread to think what happens to people who dont have a parent/relative to look out for them.
We have now discovered that our sons social worker had a letter from the company back in October but didnt bother to pass it on to us or take any action.
In my county, social workers are generally called Care Managers - they are ultimately responsible for arranging and managing care. In your case, it is clear that your care provider thought that the CM was responsible for your son's care - why else was the letter sent to him?
It is the responsibility for the CM to make all appropriate arrangements for a placement.

Adults over the age of 18 are financially independent from their parents. Parents income should not taken into account in any financial assessment for their adult son/daughter.
Parents cannot assume that they are responsible for their adult children's affairs if they are unable to handle them for themselves.

Firstly, they should have established whether your son had mental capacity to act for himself with regard to financial matters.
If not, then they should have asked if anyone had been appointed as his DWP appointee, to handle all his benefits, or whether anyone had Power of Attorney.
That person should then have been involved in a proper financial assessment to take place - in my county that is done by someone from the finance department (I recently helped mum with hers).
After the assessment has taken place, the person representing your son should have been formally advised whether or not he would have to make a financial contribution towards his care, how much it would be, and how they arrived at that figure.
If a contribution was required, then a formal contract should have been signed by the representative.

In your case, it seems likely that the CM hasn't followed the correct procedures - complain to the Local Authority, in writing, keeping a copy, send it Recorded Delivery.

Always remember, in English Contract Law, (1) there has to be an offer - something saying will you agree to pay.... (2) there has to be acceptance of that offer - usually your signature

However much the care providers don't like it, legally, that is the situation. Without acceptance there is no legally binding contract.

I hope this helps clarify the legal position, but do get some proper advice. Even your contents insurance for your house will generally include "Legal Expenses Insurance". I used this when the doctors gave my husband inadequate care and he died as a result. Thousands of pounds were paid to the solicitor to investigate. It's much easier to fight a big gun if you've got one yourself!Let us know how you get on. Jill
Do you have a formal agreement with the LA to handle the DPs on your son's behalf? If so I suggest that you check it and see what, if any, your liability is in this type of situation.
As the money which is being demanded is money provided by the LA in the form of DPs I believe that this should be a matter for the LA's solicitor. Likewise the ILF funding.

Verbal contracts where there is an agreement to provide a service and on the remuneration for this service are in fact as legally binding on both parties as written contracts although it can be more difficult to prove breach should a dispute be taken to court.

Unfortunately there can be a lack of training and a lack of clarity on responsibilities when managing DP's whether for oneself or on another person's behalf, if you feel that this is the case and the LA and/or the ILF refuse to assist you in dealing with this company and its demands I suggest that you put in a complaint.
Daisy's problem just highlights the fundamental flaw with direct payments. The idea that Local Authorities can assess needs, then pay family to arrange it is fine, but neither Care Managers nor family have enough training in even basic things like contract law. As soon as the proverbial hits the fan they want to back off and leave the family to it. The very family that asked for support in the first place because they were struggling. It's all a nonsense, but it's the system we're stuck with for the time being. Jill
Following my letter and a copy of service managers email the company have now written to tell us they have decided to compromise. They no longer wish to drop the Notice charges and simply ask us to pay for 2 weeks, 2 new invoices, (£2000), during which we were on holiday!
I really dont think they know what they are doing to be honest. They have asked for payment by return or they will commence County Court proceedings against us.
I n the final paragraph they hope we have found a care solution for our son and wish us all the best for the future! Very bizarre!