The online caregiving giant Care.com was recently ordered to pay almost a half million dollars due to holes in its background screening process. The lawsuit comes after several incidents where caregivers found on Care.com (all of whom passed background checks) victimized the families who hired them through the website.
In all cases, Care.com failed to provide the families with information on existing criminal records. The reason, was because the premium background checks only looked at superior court filings – not records at the district court level. Yet, most felony and misdemeanor records are handled by the district courts.
“When families pay for a background check service, they should get what they pay for,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “This settlement will provide restitution for families who were misled.”
The settlement calls for Care.com to pay $355,000 to the state of Massachusetts and another $125,000 to customers who purchased premium-level services through the website between January 1, 2013 and February 11, 2016.
The settlement comes after a few high-profile cases involving issues with background screens provided by Care.com. In 2013, a Massachusetts nanny hired through the website stole $300,000 from her employer’s bank account. The woman had a history of larceny and fraud convictions that went undiscovered through the background check process.
In 2012, a Chicago-area babysitter was charged with first degree murder in the death of a three-month old infant. The sitter, hired through Care.com, had an existing criminal history that wasn’t reported during the background screen.
According to the Attorney General’s office, consumers who purchased the premium background screening service through Care.com weren’t getting as thorough of a service as they were led to believe. The website, they said, had an obligation to ensure consumers knew what background checks were included in the screen – and which one’s weren’t part of the package. Their failure to provide consumers with that information was in violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.