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Retirement home operator Aveo now faces a class action from its aged residents

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Australia’s largest retirement home operator, Aveo, faces a class action over alleged unfair and unconscionable contracts its gives to its ageing residents.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers announced it will take registrations from former residents of the Aveo chain.

The announcement comes in the wake of a Victorian government inquiry into problems in the retirement housing sector and an ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) investigation into potential breaches of Australian Consumer Law.

Advocacy groups are calling for stronger rights and protections for the elderly in retirement homes following a Fairfax Media investigation showing questionable business practices including churning of residents, excessive fees and charges, high exit fees and exorbitant refurbishment costs.

“We don’t think it’s fair or legal to subject elderly people to complex and confusing contracts that contain unfair terms,” says Brooke Dellavedova at Maurice Blackburn.

The Consumer Action Law Centre is also supported the class action regime. CEO Gerard Brody welcoming the Maurice Blackburn class action against Aveo.

“Older people should be able to move into retirement housing without having to worry about being bamboozled by complex contracts and unfair fees,” says CEO Gerard Brody.

“Residents and their families have struggled to take on the unfair fees charged by retirement village operators in courts and tribunals alone. Accessing justice has simply been too expensive and complex for most.”

Aveo says it’s not aware of nor has it been contacted regarding a class action by Maurice Blackburn.

“We have and always will act with the best interests of our residents first and foremost in our minds and actions,” says Aveo CEO Geoff Grady.

“We vigorously deny any suggestion to the contrary and we are confident that we can show that we have at all times met our statutory and other obligations and our commitment to residents.”

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