Pay now or pay later: the lesson from ABC’s Four Corners program

Many perspectives have been offered and debated following the episode of the ABC Four Corners program “Bleed them dry until they die” aired recently. The community response to the program has been varied.

In response to the program, Aveo released a statement and took a full page advertisement in the Courier Mail addressing the content of the program. A social media storm has also been created with some organisations affiliated with Aveo becoming targets for community outrage.

One certainty is that the members of our community seeking retirement and aged care accommodation are making substantial investments, often all of their life savings are required to secure a place. Those investing in the retirement and aged care accommodation deserve for their needs and expectations to be met.

It is evident that the existing regulation falls short of what is needed in this area; however, the wave of vitriol that has ensued from the program is not going to bring about the change that is needed in retirement and aged care regulation.

The critical message from the Four Corners program is that you should not enter a contract without obtaining independent advice. It is imperative to understand every clause of your contract, which may seem monotonous and expensive; however it could save you from long term financial strife. In the case of contracts for retirement and aged care communities, it is advisable to seek financial and legal advice to ensure you are properly informed about your legal and financial commitment.

Seek advice before you sign

When entering into a contract, it is advisable to seek independent advice to ensure your rights are clear and all aspects of your agreement are outlined in the contract. There may be many discussions, tours and other communications in the lead up to entering a contract for retirement of aged care accommodation. You may not be able to rely on representations, promises or explanations that are not documented in the contract. Accordingly, it is important to get advice and ensure that the contract includes all of the things that are important to you.

The lesson here is, anyone considering a retirement or aged care accommodation contract should give careful consideration to seeking professional advice before they enter the contract. Alternatively, you may find yourself paying a high price by way of fees or inconvenience in the event the contact is not suited to your needs.