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Tuesday 19

September, 2017 9:41 PM



Aveo confident it can defend class actions

Aveo confident it can defend class actions

Shares in Aveo have slipped after a second law firm announced plans to run a class action for former residents of the company's retirement villages.

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By AAP 13.09.2017 04:31 PM

Aged care company Aveo Group has denied taking advantage of its elderly residents after a law firm said it may launch a second class action against the company for allegedly using "unfair and unconscionable" contracts.

Lawyers Maurice Blackburn on Wednesday said it will look into running a no-win no-fee class action for former residents, calling for stronger rights and protections for older residents and their families.

The retirement communities owner has come under fire in recent months following a Victorian government inquiry into problems in the retirement housing sector and a consumer watchdog investigation.

Another law firm, Levitt Robinson Solicitors, announced in June it plans to launch a class action against Aveo.

Aveo said it is not aware of a class action from Maurice Blackburn, and has not been contacted.

Chief executive Geoff Grady denied Aveo has acted wrongly, saying it has and always will act with the best interests of its residents.

"We vigorously deny any suggestion to the contrary and we are confident that we can show that we have at all times met our statutory and other obligations and our commitment to residents," Mr Grady said in a statement.

Gary Landells, whose mother Ruth moved into Aveo's Veronica Gardens in Victoria at the age of 91, said the contract his mother signed was a "mammoth scam".

He said Ruth was forced to pay for a number of general services after vacating and selling the premises four years later, which accumulated to more than $54,000.

"This is what happens in these places to elderly people, even though they might have their marbles, they trust a lot of people too easily," Mr Landells told AAP.

He said he hopes a class action will prompt the government to better protect the community's most vulnerable.

Maurice Blackburn class action principal Brooke Dellavedova said a no-win, no-fee class action - which means clients will not be out of pocket if the case is unsuccessful - could be the best option for those affected.

"We don't think it's fair or legal to subject elderly people to complex and confusing contracts that contain unfair terms," Ms Dellavedova said.

"If enough people want to take action against Aveo, then we will look to step in and stand up for these people."

Aveo shares have dropped almost 20 per cent since allegations were raised in the media in June, and fell seven cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $2.47 on Wednesday.

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