Retirement provider Aveo faces class action lawsuit

Law firm will contest that contract terms are unfair and take advantage of the elderly.

An ongoing investigation into retirement housing provider Aveo has led to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers readying a class action lawsuit.

The retirement provider's business practices made headlines when an investigation lifted the lid on questionable business practices, including punitive fees, misleading marketing promises and sub-standard safety and emergency services.

The law firm will accept registrations from former residents of the Aveo chain of retirement housing operations, says Brooke Dellavedova, the principal of the class action at Maurice Blackburn. 

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

"There is understandably a high level of concern that people looking to enjoy their retirement, and who may be physically or mentally vulnerable, should not be taken advantage of by unscrupulous business models."

The law firm will lead the class action on a no-win, no-fee basis, but it will only go ahead if enough people register for representation.

Investigations into Aveo's business practices were launched by the Victorian Government and the ACCC following close media scrutiny in July.

News of the class action was welcomed by the Consumer Action Law Centre, a Melbourne-based advocacy group that provides legal aid.

"Residents and their families have struggled to take on the unfair fees charged by retirement village operators in courts and tribunals alone. Accessing justice has simply been too expensive and complex for most," says chief executive Gerard Brody.

"Until now, the retirement village sector has avoided proper scrutiny of its contracts, and it's about time someone stood up for the rights of residents."

Affected people can register for the potential class action at the website