Terms and Conditions

Last Updated: 01/03/2019

Definitions of terms:

“hometouch Concierge” means an online marketplace for care provided via the hometouch platform “Carers” means individuals working on a self-employed basis and delivering care services via the hometouch platform “Care seekers”“customers” means individuals using the hometouch Concierge service to search for care, engage with carers and enter into a contractual relationship with carers

1. General Terms of hometouch Concierge

1.1 About hometouch Concierge

hometouch “concierge” provides an online platform for self-employed carers and care seekers to connect with one another, communicate and arrange care contracts between one another. This is facilitated through providing services which include but are not limited to:
  • A searchable online database of self-employed carers
  • Communication tools to facilitate interaction
  • Payment system to enable transactions between self-employed carers and care seekers
  • Monitoring tools for customers to monitor care activity
  • Feedback tools on care provision

1.2 Introductory agency service

hometouch is classified as an ‘introductory agency’ in line with CQC guidance. hometouch provides an online marketplace to facilitate the process of finding home care. hometouch does not directly supply carers to care seekers. hometouch does not employ carers, nor does hometouch act as an employment agency or care agency. In line with CQC regulations, hometouch is not permitted to make changes to the care plan, provide rotas or effect control over the delivery of care.

1.3 Limitations of service

All the tools provided by hometouch Concierge are used at the customer’s and self-employed carers’ own risk and there is no guarantee that these tools will work optimally, not be subject to downtime, or removed from service at any point in time. hometouch does not accept any liability for losses or damages caused by the temporary unavailability of the service or technical errors. hometouch disclaims any liability for controversies, losses, injury, accidents, claims or damages arising out of the use of the online tools it provides, the engagement of carers or the provision of care services by carers.

2. Rules for User conduct and use of service

2.1 Eligibility to use the site and services; representations and warranties

By registering and using this site you confirm that
  • you accept and will abide by our terms and conditions
  • you are 18 years old or over and have the right to form legally binding contracts under UK law.
  • all the information provided by you on the site is correct and accurate, including any stated care requirements or specific needs.

2.2 Carer selection

By registering and using hometouch Concierge as a person seeking care you agree that it is your responsibility to select an appropriate carer for yourself, your family member, any friend/associate or any other person you are acting for. hometouch can help you in the process of introducing and recommending carers, however hometouch will not select a carer for you and the final choice remains

2.3 Vetting and background checking of carers

hometouch makes reasonable efforts to check the identity and information provided by carers. This includes visual checks of
  • passports to confirm identity and right to live and work in the UK
  • stated qualifications and training certificates where available
  • existing CRB/ DBS checks
Where carers cannot provide visual confirmation of having passed a DBS check within the past 3 years, hometouch performs DBS checks via an external provider. hometouch does not conduct full reference checks of a carer’s stated employment history or care experience. Although hometouch interviews every carer who is allowed on to the platform in person, hometouch is not responsible for nor has it control over the quality, timing, legality, reliability, responsibility, integrity or suitability of the carers listed on the platform. hometouch recommends that care seekers carry out their own assessment of a carer’s suitability before engaging into a contract with them by
  • Interviewing carers
  • Verifying a carers identity via photographic ID
  • Requesting proof of experience, training, qualifications, authorisations and suitability for the position they are applying for
  • Following up on references of carers

2.4 Insurance cover

Care seekers should ensure that their insurance covers carers working in their home and should verify whether carers have their own independent insurance cover.

2.5 Code of conduct

You should not discriminate against a carer on the basis of skin colour, nationality, disability, gender or any other potential source of discrimination. In addition, you represent and warrant that you and each member of your household (i) have never been the subject of a complaint, restraining order or any other legal action involved with being arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any criminal offence involving violence, abuse, neglect, theft or fraud, or any offence that involves endangering the safety of others, dishonesty, negligence or drugs, and are not nor have ever been on the sex offenders register or other similar list.

2.6 Contract compliance

Once you have set up a contract and submitted it to a carer, you are bound by the terms of that contract. You must pay the upfront required monetary amount for the contract to be active. You must negotiate with the self-employed carer regarding any deviations from the contract terms, e.g. time off for holiday, illness or personal circumstances. hometouch can offer no mediation or intervention regarding perceived non compliance with the contract unless the dispute resolution process is activated.

2.7 Permitted use.

You are not permitted to use this website other than for the following, private, non-commercial purposes: (i) viewing this website and; (ii) sending genuine enquiries to carers regarding use of their services for your own or a care recipient's care needs (iii) making/reviewing/changing bookings; (iv) checking carer feedback and care plan completion (v) changing billing information and generating invoices where relevant and (vi) communicating with hometouch representatives by phone, email or live chat to arrange bookings, seek advice or activate a dispute resolution request. The use of automated systems, manual copying or software to extract data from this website or hometouch for commercial purposes, (‘screen scraping’) is prohibited unless the third party has directly concluded a written licence agreement with hometouch. Any breach of these terms renders the user liable for damages to be determined in the local jurisdiction.

3. Release of liability for user conduct and disputes

Any agreements are legally binding agreements between the care seeker and the carer. hometouch are not party to an agreement and we cannot arbitrate or mediate if there is an alleged breach of contract unless the dispute resolution process is activated. Any issues should be resolved directly between care seeker and carer where at all possible. hometouch does not accept any liability for claims, demands or direct or indirect damages arising from disputes between care seekers and carers, however we do offer a dispute resolution pathway which should be followed in the case of disagreement.

4. Dispute Resolution Policy

4.1 Overview

hometouch provides a dispute resolution process where there is a disagreement between care seeker and self-employed carer. Either care seeker or self-employed carer can dispute a contract. hometouch will examine the contract, compliance with terms, user analytics data including but not limited to visit logging, messaging, geoverification, user feedback and previous self-employed carer behaviour and any submissions by either party. hometouch reserves the right at its sole discretion to defer payment, reimburse or cease contractual payments at any time.

4.2 Disputed funds

The unpaid monies for a contract are held in an escrow account and hometouch offers no guarantee to either care seeker or self-employed carer that there will be either reimbursement or full payment if the dispute resolution policy is activated. hometouch will endeavour to come to an equitable outcome based upon the evidence available. Any disputes should be notified in writing within 1 (one) week of this disputed period.

5. Payments, Cancellations and Refunds

5.1 Payments

Contracts for work are made between the care seeker and the carer. By entering a contract as a care seeker you agree that you have the funds available to pay for the contract value. All payments for work completed must be made via hometouch Concierge; attempts to pay outside of hometouch Concierge will lead to sanctions not limited to immediate account suspension. Any offers to pay outside of hometouch Concierge made by either party must be reported to hometouch immediately. Our current payment provider is Stripe and all credit and debit card information is held securely and is PCI compliant. For customers wishing to pay by BACS, this will be determined on a case by case basis. Any new customers choosing this payment method from 9th November 2016 onwards will be subject to a 2% administration fee.

5.2 Hourly and Daily carer rates

Hourly and daily rates are set by the carer and may be subject to change. Rates should not be changed during a contract agreement. Any change in rates that are made before the end of a contract must result in the termination of the current contract and a new contract must be agreed.

5.3 Fees

A commission fee of 20% (incl. VAT) of the hourly or daily carer's rate is charged to the care seeker. This commission is already included in the rate stated on each carer’s profile on hometouch concierge. hometouch reserves the right to alter the terms of its commission structure at any time.

5.4 VAT

VAT is included in the rate charged by the Carers.

5.5 Direct Payments and Personal Budgets

If you are paying via Direct Payments or Personal Budgets, you must setup a contract on the hometouch platform. Payment must be made in advance of any care being provided. Payment by Direct Payments or Personal Budgets cannot be authorised unless we receive confirmation in writing from the relevant Local Authority or CCG.

5.6 Refunds

hometouch does not as a general rule provide refunds or credits for purchase cancellations. However, hometouch may at its sole discretion issue refunds or credits when it believes they are warranted.

5.7 Cancellations

hometouch strongly discourages cancellations of contracts unless exceptional circumstances occur. Carers working through hometouch depend on predictable schedules and reliable income. Cancellations of contracts without sufficient warning or reason causes undue inconvenience to carers and provides no income protection to carers working through hometouch. It is therefore our policy that any contracted period cancelled within a 24 hour period prior to the contract commencing will be billed and paid to the carer. In exceptional circumstances and where both parties agree, hometouch will exercise its discretion to void payment in cases where cancellation has taken place within 24 hours of the contracted period. Refunds for care work already contracted and subsequently cancelled will only be issued where both parties agree that it is appropriate to do so. All cancellations must be submitted by email to both hometouch on hello@myhometouch.com and the carer.

5.8 Termination of contract

In instances where an ongoing contract is in place, it is our policy that both carer and client must give two weeks' notice to allow both parties to make alternative arrangements.

5.9 Live in Care Requirements

Live-in Professional Carers have various legal  rights which include (without limitation) the following: provision of a separate bedroom for them with suitable bathing and toilet facilities which are clean and in a good state of repair; and a minimum 2 hours break per day. This time off must be within daylight hours. If agreed at the time of assessment some of these hours may be banked to provide longer periods of time off on fewer days, but the minimum provision must be 14 hours over a 7 day week; and provision of ample food and clean bedding as well as adequate cleaning materials and protective clothing to carry out the Service properly. With respect to food We recommend a minimum sum of about £30 a week (or equivalent provision) for the cost of the Live-in Professional Carer's food.

6. Limitation of liability

6.1 Responsibility for contract acceptance

You acknowledge that the decision to enter into a contract with a carer is your sole responsibility and that hometouch gives no warranty as to the suitability, experience, history or character of any carer, nor does hometouch give any warranty as to the completeness, truthfulness or accuracy of any information or documentation provided by the carer.

6.2 Risks of introduction service

You agree that you understand the risks involved in participating in an introductory agency service and you hereby waive any rights to claims for damages from hometouch in relation to the service.

6.3 Breach of terms and conditions

You agree to indemnify and hold hometouch harmless from any claim or demand brought against hometouch as a result of you breaching these terms and conditions.

6.4 Liability cap

You acknowledge that hometouch’s total liability to you whether in respect of goods or services and whether based in negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation or otherwise shall not exceed the value of the total commission income hometouch derived from you via the hometouch Concierge service.

7. Quality assurance and background checks

By using this site or service you authorise hometouch to carry out certain background checks and audits at a time of their choosing. hometouch reserves the right but not the obligation to use a third party to scan your personal information on an ongoing basis against a variety of sources which may include, but are not limited to, sex offender registries, social media media, criminal registries and other legally available databases and resources. hometouch has no obligation to perform checks and releases all liability associated with result from checks.

8. Feedback and customer reviews

You will be asked to leave qualitative and quantitative feedback on your care experience. The feedback will affect each carer’s ranking on hometouch concierge. Feedback should be provided honestly and you must not attempt to falsify, manipulate or coerce a carer by threatening negative feedback. Any attempts of a carer trying to influence you in our feedback or trying to change your opinion unduly should be reported to us. We reserve the right to remove any defamatory, abusive or offensive feedback at our discretion but are not obliged to do so. You agree to providing an exclusive and perpetual right for hometouch to publish these reviews.

9. Contractual Obligations

By using the hometouch concierge service you agree to use the service for all current and future work that takes place as a result of an introduction made through hometouch concierge. You must not create contractual agreements outside this service with carers introduced to you on hometouch concierge, with the deliberate intention of avoiding hometouch Concierge fees. Any severe offences will result in but are not limited to the immediate termination of a care seeker’s profile.

10. Safeguarding Policy

hometouch takes the safety of all parties using hometouch concierge extremely seriously and complies with all relevant legislation including the Care Act 2010, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Act. In instances where we deem a "vulnerable" adult is at risk of exploitation or any type of harm and we have received evidence to indicate this the case, we will comply with this legislation and refer the relevant parties to the nearest Local Authority's Adult Safeguarding Team. Although hometouch concierge does not directly provide care, we take our duties as a responsible organisation seriously and will endeavour to ensure a duty of care to all participants on the platform. hometouch carries out a risk assessment on all care seekers of the platform based on a combination of telephone triage, written communications, medical history, oral assessment of mental capacity and feedback from carer visits. In instances where there is evidence to suggest that a care seeker may not be able to safely and competently use hometouch concierge, hometouch reserves the right at its absolute discretion to limit access to the platform on temporary or permanent basis.

11. Complaints Policy

hometouch takes all customer complaints seriously and is committed to learning from mistakes and improving our service for both current and future customers and carers. If you have a complaint, please send this by email to hello@myhometouch.com. We will normally respond within 24 hours (ie one business day). We will investigate any matter referred and take appropriate action where necessary. If the complaint is regarding a contract dispute, you will need to activate the dispute resolution pathway by activating the disputed contract button in the client dashboard. If you have concerns regarding the performance, behaviour or competence of a carer, we will investigate the matter and take proportionate action ranging from verbal and written feedback to account suspension.

12. Privacy Statement

By using the hometouch services you consent that hometouch may process the personal data that hometouch collects from them in accordance with hometouch’s Privacy Policy.

13. Governing Law

The terms and conditions and any dispute arising out of the site and/or the services shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these terms and conditions or in connection with this site and/ or service.

14. Contact Information:

If you have any questions about the terms and conditions or the services provided by hometouch please contact us at: hello@myhometouch.com