- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Care.com Settles with AG’s Office for Misleading Families about Background Checks for Caregivers
Boston — Care.com has agreed to pay more than $480,000 and change its practices to resolve allegations that the company misled Massachusetts families about the comprehensiveness of its background check products, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The Assurance of Discontinuance with Care.com, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, resolves claims by the AG’s Office that the company violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act when selling consumers Massachusetts-specific background checks on Care.com.
“When families pay for a background check service, they should get what they paid for,” AG Healey said. “This settlement will provide restitution for families who were misled, and requires Care.com to ensure that parents know what they are getting when they purchase a background check.”
Care.com told consumers that its “Preferred” and “Preferred+” background check products would include a review of criminal records for the “states and/or counties” in which the caregiver resided during the prior seven years. The AG’s Office alleges that these background checks only reviewed Massachusetts Superior Court records and did not routinely check criminal records from District Courts in the state. In Massachusetts, the District Courts maintain the vast majority of misdemeanor records, as well as many felony records.
As part of the settlement, Care.com will now have to provide Massachusetts consumers with more information about its background check products, including specific limitations. Care.com will let consumers know the types of criminal records excluded, geographic reach, and the types of courts records that will be searched before a Massachusetts consumer purchases a background check.
Care.com has also agreed to provide additional information to consumers about how to obtain a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check. The CORI system is the centralized source of criminal record information in Massachusetts, and consumers seeking information about caregivers may be eligible to obtain a more comprehensive search of criminal records through a CORI check.
Unlike the Care.com background check, the CORI system includes criminal record information from all state courts in Massachusetts, and has specific processes in place to help families obtain comprehensive statewide background checks for child care providers and home health aides.
Under the terms of the settlement, Care.com will pay $126,820 in restitution to approximately 2,900 consumers who purchased the Preferred of Preferred+ background check, and will pay an additional $355,000 to the state.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Abigail Taylor, Director of AG Healey’s Child and Youth Protection Unit, and Jared Rinehimer of AG Healey’s Consumer Protection Division.