Ehpad: between misleading advertising and abusive clauses, towards a new scandal?

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Since the Orpea scandal, nursing homes have been closely scrutinized. The Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) has, for its part, investigated private retirement homes for three years. Over the course of his work, nearly a thousand for-profit nursing home headquarters, establishments belonging to large groups and small structures have been checked by the agents.

But, contrary to what had been brought to light by the Orpéa scandal, it is not here traces of abuse that are sought by the investigators. These have actually focused on misleading commercial practices, unfair terms or even lack of price information, reports Le Parisien.

The results of this work report that more than one out of two private nursing homes has at least one anomaly. These can be multiple and in particular take the form of misleading advertising.

Indeed, on the brochures, some establishments make golden promises: television, air conditioning, hair salon, “homemade” meals, medical or paramedical presence… However, the reality of the places is sometimes far from the dream sold on paper and some nursing homes don’t actually offer any of this.

“In one establishment, it was indicated that the meals were homemade when they were in fact industrial, continues the spokesperson. Another Ehpad claimed to have a therapeutic garden when it was three flower pots. These are simply misleading commercial practices, which allow the structure to improperly charge for a service that does not exist”, explains Rémy Slove, the spokesperson for the DGCCRF, to our colleagues.

In terms of prices, several anomalies were also noted by the DGCCRF. This Bercy service notably spotted “a discrepancy between the” accommodation prices “displayed and those” actually practiced “, as revealed by the organization.

The agents also spotted unbalanced clauses, “such as disadvantageous termination terms for consumers or the request for a disproportionate amount of security deposit”, which would even be higher than the amount of the monthly accommodation rate. The DGCCRF also reports abusive invoicing of services already included in the minimum base of services.

But Bercy does not systematically sanction and their agreement still the benefit of the doubt.

“In order to take into account the impact of the health crisis on this sector of activity, educational and corrective follow-ups were favored in 2020 and 2021 for the least harmful breaches and the easiest to correct. On the other hand, in the the most serious cases, or in the event of non-follow-up of educational measures, sanctions have been taken by the DGCCRF.”, specifies the DGCCRF.

Thus, it is good to remember that this survey was carried out in the midst of a health crisis. Bad displays of prices are generally considered “often human” errors and linked to the period, specifies the spokesperson for the DGCCRF with Le Parisien.