Carers not turning up, short visits & refund issue

I am assisting my step daughter with this problem. She sufferers minor mental illness issue from a abusive relationship now added to by the recent loss of her father, I have her authority to act in this matter.
Her father became quite ill in February this year and because she lived a long distance from him he needed care so a local company was engaged to home visit and a months contract signed and paid for.
The contract was to provide 2 x daily visits (am & pm), each visit being for 30 minutes.
15 Days into the contract her father was admitted into hospital and he passed away there in late March. The company were kept updated of the situation.
First problem came when she asked the company for a refund as they had only provided care for 15 of the 30 days he had paid for, they refused. The care company clouded the issue further by quoting different sections of their contract.
While clearing her fathers house we came across a “care log” and this has reignited her anger as it clearly shows the company missed five visits and at least 9 of the visits did not last the full time, one only lasting 11 minutes.
It is felt that as the care company have so rigidly hidden behind their contract in denying a refund when to all intents and purposes they have in essences breach the contract by not providing the service contracted and paid for.
If that should be the case the company can no longer hide behind the contract to refuse a refund is our feeling.
The Ombudsman has partly agreed and recommended a small compensation amount should be paid for the missed visits but the company have rejected this.
The QCC are showing interest in the situation because the last 3 inspections have noted complaints from clients about missed and short visits.
Does anyone have any advice on what we should do now.
The carers as individuals were excellent and could not be faulted but almost everyone said how they were under constant pressure to get in and out and onto the next call

Hi Peter

So sorry for your loss and to hear of the awful conduct of the care company.
An unfortunate fact is shortage of carers and over subscription for services, hence the carers seemingly enforced to cut heir calls to minimum and get onto the next one to fulfill the contracts and cover the roster shortages. That is a background picture of what was probably the issue.

Where to go next, probably a solicitors but please do contact Carers UK for advice.
Copy and paste your email to their email address with any other information that will help them to advise you.

Carers UK information and support
Our telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email (

The company were in breach of contract.

They could not fulfil their part of the contract on the grounds of “frustration” i.e. dad had died!
If they failed to keep the part of the contract when dad was alive, then as that was an essential part of the contract, it ALL becomes null and void.

I studied contract law as part of a degree course long ago.

Hugs. I have had nearly the same issue and have notified the current owners of the care company that since they do not seem able to keep good/fire bad staff then I will quite happily go to the police station about them. Or tell my story to a newspaper. My only other option is to try another local care agency in the area. I have already dismissed one.

Exactly as Bowlingbun has said.

You have the grief and proceedings to deal with which are upsetting enough without the issues with this company to cause distress, very insensitive of them.

I have had countless ‘Frustration of Contract’ discussions with a former care company, hence suggesting a solicitor but that could cost more than you stand to be refunded for, hence suggesting contacting Carers UK who might be able to help with what to write to them.

I’m surprised that you paid in advance because it is usually paid in arrears and if anyone goes into hospital the calls booked normally become null and void, well on the contract we had they did.

Reading through your post again it looks like they are trying it on with you.

Please do contact the Carers UK helpline.
I hope you can get a full refund.

Thank you Bowlingbun for your observations, nice to have someone with more knowledge agree with my layman’s perspective.

Thank you Breezy I have sent a very detailed email as you suggested.

Your right with regard to recovery V Solicitors cost, I am happy to take the matter to court etc (have done it before) my issue is that with my SD’s anxiety problems, I know she could not handle a court hearing and not being legally qualified or trained I don’t think the court would allow me to represent her in her absence. I can do the McKenzie friend bit without a problem.

Check you insurance policies.
If you have “Legal Expenses Insurance” on a car or home insurance policy, just let them deal with it.
(If you don’t, it’s worth every penny when you renew). After my husband died suddenly, £10,000 of investigations were funded this way, and another £5,000 worth when I was in dispute with a builder!

If you decide to go to court I would suggest a free consultation with 2 or 3 solicitor firms before deciding on court action or small claims court.
Costs versus refund being a factor and as you have pointed out but I was too polite to say, any effects on your step daughter going through this.

I have no knowledge, training or expertise or anything in this so I am not qualified to say anything but we all have a notion how we would deal with a situation ourselves. If I was in your step daughters position, I would consider a solicitor letter for a refund as an out of court settlement or a small claims court case bearing in mind refund versus costs. Sometimes you need to just cut loose and let it go, other times you have to fight the battle and it is between yourselves to decide the course of action.

I used the Small Claims Court once. Relatively simple.