CARE homes operator Sunrise Senior Living is to pay more than £2 million in compensation to residents after charging them thousands of pounds in fees.

The compensation was secured by The Competition and Markets Authority as part of an investigation into compulsory ‘upfront’ fees.

The company has three care homes in the area, including Sunrise of Mobberley in Hall Lane, Mobberley.

The authority said Sunrise Senior Living Ltd would be offering pro-rata compensation to residents, or their representatives, who paid a community fee and moved into a Sunrise home on or after October 1, 2015 and who left, or died, within two years of entering one of their care homes in England and Wales.

The level of compensation on offer will be based on the length of time spent in the home and the size of the community fee paid by the resident.

Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald, UK CEO of Sunrise Senior Living said: “We have been working closely with the Competition and Markets Authority to review the way we organise our charges, as part of their wider investigation into the UK care sector.

“We are pleased that the CMA has recognised our constructive engagement and co-operation with this process from day one.

“We previously charged an upfront Community Fee, which helped maintain the outstanding facilities and communal areas our residents expect and enjoy.

“However, we have agreed with the CMA that residents who stayed with us for shorter than average periods were not able to enjoy as much of the benefit of our facilities as residents who are with us for a longer time, which is why we are voluntarily embarking on this reimbursement programme.”

A CMA spokesman said Sunrise’s description of its upfront fee - running to several thousands of pounds per person - and how it would be used, was unclear.

He added: “Moreover, prospective residents were having to pay out before they had secured a place at the home.

“The CMA also raised concerns that the fee was non-refundable once someone had lived in the home for more than 30 days.

“On top of individual pay-outs of £3,000 on average, Sunrise has provided legally-binding commitments to stop charging these upfront fees altogether for future residents.”

George Lusty, the CMA’s Senior Director for Consumer Protection, said: “Care home residents shouldn’t be required to pay out thousands of pounds without being clear what they’re getting for their money.

“So, it’s only right that residents at Sunrise care homes will now receive compensation if they’ve paid these fees, and that future residents won’t have to make such payments at all.

“The CMA welcomes Sunrise’s constructive engagement and co-operation throughout our investigation.”