CHOICE membership

Retirement Villages Can Be Rip Offs


Right after the 4Corners report I received my RACV Royal Auto magazine. It has a nice AVEO advertisement.

I questioned RACV on their acceptance of ads from AVEO. Their response was that the issue had already gone to press and was in distribution prior to the report. They sidestepped revealing their advertiser policies. Best guess is if one has money they have space to run an ad, at least in the first instance. It will be interesting to see if AVEO has future ads published by RACV.

It is worth noting the current government is not even inclined to require financial planners to offer advice in the interests of their clients, so expect little from them, party dependent. Consumers need to complain to those accepting advertising from questionable businesses, and to their MP for abdication of related legislation / consumer protections; for the latter what are the chances unless they truly fear for their seats at the trough.


We recently retired ourselves out of Ashbrook Retirement Apartments in Adelaide due to noise, complaints not taken seriously, passive smoke from the Apartment above us, flushing toilets echoing into our bedroom from the 4 floors above us etc etc. Our health was deteriorating and we were becoming acutely depressed, so we were prepared to write off almost half of what we paid in order to achieve some peace and some health improvements. This did not leave us with enough to purchase another home, but are lucky to find rooms elsewhere, where it is quiet and restful. Because we managed to leave just before the 3 years were up, the money they could take from us was slightly less than if we had stayed another year. In any case they made $160,000 out of us.
The whole Retirement Villages Act was originally written by lawyers for the owners before consumers could obtain a look see. Although the Act and Regulations have recently been reviewed, there is urgent need for further review under the Australian Consumer Law as it is very one-sided.

Poor Pensioners Adelaide


Hi Poor Pensioners of Adelaide, I admire your brave move out, I hope you continue to enjoy peace of mind and a tranquil environment. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Here is where you can sign a petition for further action:


Hi Wend, just like most folk, excluding most corporate or political types, I agree with the thrust of your contempt for ARLO, yet note that it is body representing the retirement village industry. Ben Myers is simply doing his corporate duties, while having no conscience as regards the residents. His stated position would hold up at common law, yet unlikely in Equity. I completely agree that this sector needs a huge shake up, yet note ARLO is not the organisation to do it. The appropriate Government department must act urgently to stop identified unconscionable activity (equity concept) yet is restricted by: 1. multi-jurisdictional barriers, 2. the actual difficulty of the task and the growing numbers of folk affected that discourages any inertia, 3. well targeted political donations, 4. the likely blowout to the Federal Budget if the Dept. of Aged Care (however named and located), 5. the lack of adequate knowledge/ability to run an effective compliance regime that could effectively advocate for retirees. PS. I was working in the Health portfolio when Tony Abbot was Minister for Health and Aged Care, and can attest that the issue was raised often and dismissed as quickly due to its cost and complexity.


Hi Wend, further to my comments 15 minutes ago. After two spells in hospital. my ex suggested Aveo retirement homes and had received ‘favorable’ reports from a neighbor. The size of the contract, fees of many types, and multitudes of glossy advertising material - all disgusted me.

Caveat Emptor = purchaser beware. As a sort of lawyer, I did and threw it all Aveo material in the rubbish bin. I suggest other prospective residents also take great care and consult a cynical solicitor.


Signed the GetUp petition


Hi Geofff, Great that despite two spells in hospital you could identify the problems with an AVEO contract.
I hope the issues you identified that prevents an industry shake up, will now have to be addressed in light of many people speaking out and sharing their angst. Thanks for your contribution Geoff. I trust you are comfortably accommodated out of the retirement village sector.


I agree. I watched the 4 Corners program. They seem to be interested in money not serving the elderly. There was a resident who fell and noone found him for 5 days! I would keep away from them.


Well done. The 4 Corners report suggests you made the right decision.


This is terrifying example of capitalism gone mad, how can it ever be morally reasonable for a company to exploit for profit people who are losing control of their lives (and for some their minds) and who are paying to be protected, respected and cared for not, to be exploited, humiliated and die in the middle of a nightmare.
This is barbaric and has been going on for a long time, our heartless lacklustre politicians should hang their heads in shame for failing to monitor or regulate the aged care industry that has grown so far out of control they get people to sign incomprehendable contracts that legitimise fraud, neglect and robbery and tell you “It’s a great deal, trust me”
There are now dozens of terrifying stories of outrageous treatment experienced by vulnerable people in aged care facilities including drugging people into compliance and submission, nothing is being done because it is still happening. This is such a huge failure to act on evidence by our M.P.s that a large part of our community is seriously terrified by the prospect of being placed in aged fossil factory.
The Government does not care, AVEO does not care, we should stop calling any of it care because it looks more like economic rape.
My wonderful 90YO Mum came up with a far superior option. She has been on a number of boat cruises where the cost of the cruise per day was cheaper than what it cost to stay in most aged care homes. After a few cruises they start to offer very cheap deals.
So you could spend the rest of your life, sailing on a boat eating great food, drinking, travelling to new destinations, in the company of a large range of other older folk, being pampered on a vessel with gyms and theatres, music and shops and many sorts of fun and entertainment and do it cheaper than living in aged care, surely this would offer people more reasons to be alive and get out of bed.


I am disgusted by the obviously biased report on aged care living presented by 4Corners. Having now read the Aveo responses to the allegations made, I am disturbed by the lack of homework done regarding the various points raised. It is ridiculous to complain about Aveo when the residents have not read their contract, or have not had their name put on the contract. I am also aware that people in the early stages of dementia (I have had two elderly parents in that situation) can appear extremely confident and somewhat belligerent, and have their erroneous assertions believed by all and sundry (including Emma Alberici). It seems that 4Corners has again opted to stir up public hysteria rather than “investigate” the facts. The Twitter feed resulting from this report reminds me of the hysteria surrounding Lindy Chamberlain. Why were happy residents not included in this “report”?


Thanks for your Very eloquent contribution john.cooper52. Hooray for your mum, long may she cruise.


I had a look at moving into a retirement home, but after seeing this programme, there is no way that I would ever give these retirement homes money. I am disabled and my husband is my carer. Should anything happen to him I shall advertise for a live in housekeeper, as the Government is now encouraging people to stay in their homes. I couldn’t believe the full page advertisement, which must have cost thousands, that one of these “Care” Homes put in the weekend papers after the Four Corners Programme went to air where they gave their point of view.
As long as these companies are not forced by the Government to provide easily understandable contracts, then, sadly, nothing is going to change.


Brava Linda, I hope you and your husband have many more happy years in your own home with more care support from local and government and others.


Thank you Wendy. We shall do our best. We have recently adopted a new puppy and we are learning how to train her at our nearest puppy pre-school!. She has brought such joy and happiness to our lives, after the recent death of our 14 year old dog , and it gives us a reason for getting out of bed in the morning and she has also done wonders for lowering my blood pressure.


I also think a dog makes a home and a happier family. At AVEO you could bring a pet but not replace one! Happy puppy training and enjoy meeting lots of doggy people in dog parks : )


Those contracts need to be simplified and more black and white clearly they benefit the supplier not the consumer.


It seems that retirement villages continue to do over oldies, even some who thought they did diligence.

I looked at them and the initial conclusion was they were not so much financially worse than a serviced flat in a resort-like building, and there seemed to be upsides in ‘owning’ your place with management taking care of maintenance and providing leisure facilities and support. But on second reading the gotchas started coming visible. Here are a few.

The summary is the retirement community industry could have much in common with the banking/financial industry in how they deal with their ‘customers’ and it is caveat emptor with big dollars to be had by the developers at you know whose expense (risk).