In-home care Contracts, Cancellation, and Cash. What you don't know CAN hurt you.
What do we mean by, “In-home care Contracts, Cancellation, and Cash can hurt you?”, it seems a little over dramatic. The reality is many seniors and their families seeking in-home care may not fully understand (or may be deceived) by In-home care contracts, an in-home care cancellation policy, or a deposit for in-home care.
What does Abby Services know about in-home care contracts, cancellation policies, and deposits?
Abby Services has been helping seniors and families seeking in-home caregivers in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and surrounding areas since 1997. In that time we have seen and heard many stories of how unclear contracts, cancellation policies, and deposits have hurt consumers.
Our business was started to help connect seniors with the in-home caregivers they need to remain safe and independent at home. What seems simple can become quite complex. We have worked with many family members entrusted to help manage a senior’s limited resources. Using our experience and expertise we will try to break down the details below.
In-Home Care Contracts: A Necessary Evil
When seniors and their families are evaluating in-home care options the choices can be overwhelming. This is further clouded by deceptive practices advertising NO CONTRACT.
It makes sense that families would desire a no-contract option for in-home care. Typically a no-contract option is presented to families as a way to deceive them into believing they have a limited commitment to an in-home care service.
What many families are not aware of is that there is are in fact in-home care contracts in place . Sometimes a service will simply call the contract an “agreement” “caregiver arrangement” or any other verbiage other than “contract”. These arrangements are still contracts that outline important expectations, requirements, and obligations.
Other services that advertise “No Contract” may not have an upfront contract however every time a caregiver visits their loved one, they are asked to sign a contract agreeing to pay. Again this is still a contract.
Some Services that do have in-home care contracts, will have long confusing multi-page documents that are filled with legal jargon and confusing provisions and terminology.
How Abby Services approaches In-Home Care Contracts.
At Abby Services our belief is that an informed consumer is a happy consumer. In the state of Florida, we are required to review specific information with clients. This is included in our in-home care contracts (we sometimes refer to this as a service agreement).
Our service agreement is a one page document that clearly and concisely outlines what charges to expect, your cancellation policy, as well as information we are required to provide to clients and their families.
Yes there is an contract (as there should be). However, the in-home caregiver contract is clear and concise to avoid misunderstanding and misleading a consumer. We provide this contract freely to the consumer to review and understand.
In-Home Care Cancellation Policies
In-Home care cancellation policies are important. They clearly define to clients, caregivers, and services like Abby Services what to expect. As discussed above, contracts that include clearly defined cancellation policies are important to avoid misunderstanding.
What to watch out for when reviewing cancellation policies.
When evaluating In-Home care cancellation policies it is important to ensure that they are clear but also that they are fair and flexible.
Unfortunately, the circumstances requiring in-home care can change quickly. Not all cancellation policies recognize this fact. Just recently we spoke with a client who was upset. They signed a contract with a large national franchise that required a 2-week cancellation notice.
If you are seeking in-home care in Fort Myers or Cape Coral this is not standard, it is not ok, nor is it acceptable. A 2-week cancellation policy in this client’s case would have required a client to lose their 2-week deposit and limited their options and opportunities when seeking care. The client simply wanted to cancel because the large in-home care franchise took away a caregiver the client liked.
Abby Services In-Home Caregiver Cancellation Policy
Abby Services has a clearly defined cancellation policy that is fair and flexible. This helps to protect both the clients and caregivers we work with. The section on our agreement reads as follows:
Termination of Services: I agree that scheduled shifts may be canceled with at least 4 hours advance notice by calling 239-590-0861. Please leave a message with the details of your call. Failure to cancel within 4 hours, or refusal of scheduled service, may result in billing for 4 hours of service.
What this means is that you can cancel at any time with just 4 hours advance notice. This is a courtesy to the caregiver who has made arrangements to provide their services.
Cancellation can be made simply by calling our phone number and leaving a message (if after hours).
If within the 4-hour time frame, we reserve the right to invoice for just 4 hours of service as a way for you to compensate your caregiver.
In-home care deposits.
In-Home care deposits are what we are referring to when we say in-home care cash. Why? Honestly, it seemed like a clever title. The reality is that different in-home care services approach deposits differently.
In the example above the service required a 2-week deposit. This combined with the limiting nature of their contract seemed extremely excessive and is why we chose to write this entry.
Let’s face it. It would be great if we could do everything on a handshake. Like many other businesses, we have had to manage client and family non-payment. A deposit is typically an attempt to balance the risk of non- payment.
Abby Services approach to customer deposits
At Abby Services we have identified a great way to handle In-Home Care deposits, we don’t take them.
That’s right, at Abby Services, we do not require a customer deposit. We are able to accomplish this using a client payment processing platform called Ally.
By using this system, clients can be invoiced by their caregivers quickly and efficiently. This minimizes delays in billing and payment and eliminates the need for a deposit.
When choosing an in-home care service its important to call Abby Services.
When choosing an in-home caregiver service for yourself or a loved one we always encourage families to call around. Dont take our word for it. You should carefully evaluate what others say. Pay close attention to the in-home care contracts you are presented.
Hopefully armed with this information you can make an educated choice and understand that No-Contract doesn’t exactly mean what customers are sometimes led to believe. You should also pay close attention to deposit and cancellation policies.
If you have any questions you can always call Abby Services at 239-590-0861. We are here to help.