Care homes firm Sunrise to refund ‘up-front fees’ to residents

Care homes operator Sunrise Senior Living will pay more than £2m in compensation after charging thousands of pounds in compulsory “upfront fees”. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) secured the deal for those who had paid the fees since 1 October 2015. People who have left or leave within two years of moving into one of the company’s homes are eligible. Sunrise chief executive Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald said the firm made the move voluntarily. The average individual payout from Sunrise will be about £3,000 and if the resident dies in this timescale, their family will receive the money. The move comes as part of the CMA’s continuing investigation into how some care homes charge for their services. Last November, the watchdog found that as well as charging the “upfront fees”, some care homes were also billing families for weeks after their relatives had died. It also highlighted how those paying for themselves were paying much higher charges than council-funded residents. The average weekly charge for self-funders was £846 – 40% more than local authority rates.