CHUCK BONGIOVANNI Letter re: CarePatrol Marketing Representations

Chuck Bongiovanni, CEO of CarePatrol, was asked to explain the continued use of marketing representations that appear to have been prohibited by a 2012 Order by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  There may be a perfectly good explanation for why CarePatrol continues to make representations regarding its monitoring of the senior care industry that the FTC deemed false and misleading two years ago.

We have reached out to CarePatrol CEO Chuck Bongiovanni to invite him to provide us with that explanation.

If others would like to comment on CarePatrol’s marketing, CarePatrol senior placement services or the CarePatrol franchise opportunity, please leave a comment – positive or negative – below.

 

Mr. Chuck Bongiovanni

Chief Executive Officer

CarePatrol Franchise Systems, LLC

428 S. Gilbert Road

Gilbert, AZ  85296

 

Dear Mr. Bongiovanni:

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has received an anonymous complaint that alleges that CarePatrol continues to make claims that, in 2012, the FTC deemed false, misleading, deceptive and that violated Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

It does appear that CarePatrol has continued to use the exact (or very close to exact) representations in its marketing that the FTC objected to in 2012.  However, I know that things aren’t always as clearcut as they appear, and would like to give you a chance to respond to these allegations directly.

In the course of looking into the consumer marketing allegations, questions arose as to the forthrightness and adequacy of CarePatrol’s mandated disclosure of the FTC Complaint and Order in Item 3 of your Franchise Disclosure Document.  We would like to give you the opportunity to respond to these questions as well.

1. The claim that CarePatrol monitors care history and state violations

In 2012, the FTC complaint gave this example of a representation it deemed false or misleading:

…CarePatrol’s local, Nationally Certified Advisors… monitor each community’s care history and state violations so we can recommend: The Safest Options For Your Loved One

The FTC Complaint alleged that:

In truth and in fact…  CarePatrol does not monitor or grade the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location. In most states listed on CarePatrol’s website, it has not monitored or graded any facilities…

The FTC Order said:

IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, franchisee, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of any covered service in or affecting commerce, shall not represent in any manner, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that:

1. It or its franchisees monitor or evaluate the care history or state violations of any number, portion, or percentage of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location…

However, we have identified a number of CarePatrol promotional videos and commercials that contain such statements as:

“CarePatrol researches the care and violation history of every community in their network BEFORE they recommend them to you”

“CarePatrol not only knows what options are available for your family, but they monitor the violation and care history of every provider in their network so they can recommend only the best to you.”

To reference these videos and commercials you can go here:

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/carepatrol-videos-commercials-misleading/

We have also identified numerous active web pages that contain such statements as:

“…That’s why CarePatrol looks beyond the chandeliers and fancy lobbies and monitors each community’s care history and state violations.”

“…We review care and violation history for every community we recommend and we continue to monitor the community.”

Mr. Bongiovanni, is CarePatrol simply ignoring the FTC Order or is CarePatrol making these statements with the approval of the Federal Trade Commission?

2. The claim that CarePatrol grades every facility based on its most recent inspection report

CarePatrol FranchiseIn 2012, the FTC complaint gave this example of a representation it deemed false or misleading:

At CarePatrol.. We Grade Each and Every Facility From “A” to “F” Based On Their Last State Survey. Our Local Senior Care Consultants also Pre-Screen every home we recommend…

Regarding CarePatrol’s representation that it “grades” each facility, the FTC Complaint stated:

CarePatrol does not monitor or grade the care history and violations of virtually all, or a substantial majority, of assisted living facilities in a consumer’s desired location… In numerous instances, CarePatrol does not monitor or grade assisted living facilities based on a review of the facilities’ most recent state inspection reports.

The FTC Order stated:

IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, franchisee, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of any covered service in or affecting commerce, shall not represent in any manner, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that:

3. It or its franchisees evaluate assisted living facilities based on a review of information, including state surveys, or any other records detailing the performances of these facilities…

However, we have identified a number of current CarePatrol promotional videos and commercials that contain such statements as:

“Only CarePatrol grades every facility from A to F based on their latest state survey and their experience with the home.”

“We grade every facility from “A” to “F”… We know which facilities are having problems.”

We have also identified numerous active web pages that contains such statements as:

“We are the only agency that grades each and every facility from “A” to “F” based on their most recent state survey.”

“Only CarePatrol of Scottsdale grades each and every facility from “A” to “F”, based on their most recent state survey so you can have Peace of Mind knowing that you will never receive a Care Option that has serious violations.”

These current representations appear to us to be identical to those that caused the FTC to file a Complaint and issue a 20-year Order for CarePatrol.

Is that not the case?  Is CarePatrol, in fact, complying with the terms of the 2012 FTC Order?

3. The Item 3 disclosure in the CarePatrol FDD seems inadequate and intentionally misleading

Chuck Bongiovanni CarePatrolMr. Bongiovanni, we were distressed to find that your required disclosure of the FTC actions against CarePatrol seemed to intentionally downplay the seriousness and actual content of the FTC Complaint, and did not even mention the existence of the 20-year Order imposed on CarePatrol.

As the FTC Decision and Order contains restrictions and record-keeping obligations for every franchisee, this omission seems to violate both the letter and the spirit of the FTC Franchise Rule regarding required disclosures for the Franchise Disclosure Document.

The inclusion of two questionable and unsubstantiated statements within a summary of the FTC Complaint (That there was no intention to mislead, and that the infractions were caused by search engine optimization writing) despite the fact that neither issue was stated in the Complaint smacks of deception and misdirection.

Do you truly feel that state franchise examiners will feel your Item 3 is truthful and adequate once they’ve reviewed the actual Complaint and Order?

You may read our line-by-line commentary of the CarePatrol Item 3 here:

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/carepatrol-franchise-disclosure-document-fdd-misleading/

Is CarePatrol honest & trustworthy?

Few franchise brands rely on trustworthiness to a greater extent than CarePatrol.

We know things are sometimes not as they appear;  we look forward to your clarifications if that is the case.

We all know that mistakes are often made, and that a willingness to admit and correct fault is an admirable trait.

I hope that you’ll embrace this opportunity to demonstrate your transparency and commitment to honesty and integrity in both your consumer marketing and your franchise disclosures with a timely and constructive response.

As you know from past dealings, UnhappyFranchisee.Com will post your statements, rebuttals, corrections and clarifications accurately, fairly and respectfully.

Feel free to respond to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com. You can also post comments on any and every post.

Yours in franchising,

 

ADMIN

UnhappyFranchisee.Com

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CAREPATROL Investigation & Discussion Links

CAREPATROL Made False, Deceptive, Misleading Claims, States FTC

CAREPATROL Investigation: Documents & Links (Includes actual CarePatrol FDDs and FTC Documents)

Is the CAREPATROL Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Misleading?

CAREPATROL Videos & Commercials: STILL Misleading?

CAREPATROL Investigation: FTC Complaint Press Release

Older posts:

CAREPATROL Franchise Complaint – Updated  October 11, 2010

CAREPATROL: Franchisees Praise the CarePatrol Franchise    October 14, 2010

 

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CHUCK BONGIOVANNI, CAREPATROL OR THE CAREPATROL FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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