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Home care packages

All home care packages funded by the Australian Government are now provided directly to consumers rather than allocated to a provider. This funding model is known as Consumer Directed Care. It allows seniors more flexibility, including the right to choose and change home care providers.

When you buy goods or services, including using funding from home care packages, you have consumer rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). These rights are the same whether buying home care goods or services directly, or receiving them under a government-funded home care package.

You also have rights and responsibilities under the Australian Government’s aged care laws.

Under these laws you have the right to:

  • choose your own home care provider
  • take your time and ask questions to make sure the agreement is right for you
  • not be pressured
  • honest and accurate information
  • have services delivered on time and with care
  • receive goods that are of acceptable quality (safe and durable).

Choosing your provider

Before signing up for home care, make sure you take the time to do research and find the best care for you, plus understand the costs and what services are covered in these costs.

You can find a list of providers on the My Aged Care website or by phoning My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Door-to-door and telephone selling

Home care packages should not normally be sold by a door-to-door salesperson or over the phone, but it’s important to know your rights if you are approached unexpectedly by a provider.

Door-to-door sellers must obey clear rules around:

  • the hours they can visit you
  • disclosure (what they need to say)
  • written agreements
  • cooling off periods.

Never sign anything on the spot. It is against the law for a business or provider to pressure you.

Door-to-door salespeople must leave if you ask them to and must not approach any home that displays a do-not-knock sticker. You can order a free sticker.

Read more about door-to-door and telephone selling.

Understand your agreement

Your home care agreement is a contract that sets out the terms of your service. Make sure your agreement outlines:

  • who is providing your service
  • how much the services will cost, including exit payments
  • how to change your aged care needs if your circumstances change
  • the process to end an agreement or transfer to a new provider.

Never sign anything you don’t understand. You can get help from an advocate, legal adviser, or a family member.

Unfair contract terms in standard form contracts

If the contracts being used to provide home care services are standard form contracts, the ACL prohibits them including unfair terms.

A standard form contract or agreement should be a balance of rights and obligations on you and the provider. A standard form contract is ‘unfair’ if it gives more rights to a provider than you, and is not necessary to protect the provider.

Read more about signing contracts.

If you feel there is a term in your contract that is ‘unfair’, speak to your provider. If you can’t resolve the issue with them, you can lodge a complaint with us.

Consumer guarantees

Sometimes there may be a problem with goods or services you have received.

Services must be:

  • provided with due care and skill
  • fit for a specific purpose
  • finished within a reasonable time.

When you purchase goods or services in Australia, you have automatic rights called consumer guarantees.

You have the right to ask the provider to fix the problem if these guarantees are not met. This might be a refund or cancellation or for services to be done again.

Read more about consumer guarantees for products and services.

More information and help

Aged Care Complaints
If you have any concerns about your or someone else’s aged care services or the way you are being treated you should contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission online or by calling them on 1800 951 822.

My Aged Care
For more information about accessing a home care package or finding a provider see the My Aged Care website or call them on 1800 200 422.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
The ACCC has produced 2 consumer guides to help you understand your rights when receiving home care:

These publications are also available to download in a range of different languages.

Scams

The ACCC’s website SCAMwatch provides information on common scams, how to recognise them and how to report them.