Waltham-based Care.com will pay nearly $500,000 to settle allegations that it misled customers about its background check system.
The website helps families find caregivers.
The state attorney general's office says in a press release that the settlement resolves claims that the company's background checks were not as thorough as it claimed. Care.com has disputed that allegation.
The AG's office says Care.com told consumers that certain background checks would "include a review of criminal records for the 'states and/or counties' in which the caregiver resided during the prior seven years." But the AG's office says these checks did not "routinely check criminal records from District Courts in the state."
The AG's office adds: "In Massachusetts, the District Courts maintain the vast majority of misdemeanor records, as well as many felony records."
"When families pay for a background check service, they should get what they paid for,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.
The Boston Globe reports:
Nancy Bushkin, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement that the company became aware of potential gaps in its Massachusetts background checks a little more than two years ago. The company said it immediately took action and notified customers by letter and e-mail. It also updated the descriptions and disclosures about background checks on its site.
“Care.com vigorously disputes that information on its website was materially misleading or that it engaged in any wrongdoing,” the company said. “Care.com endeavors to provide the tools and tips families need to make safer, more informed hiring decisions and believes all families deserve to have affordable and easy access to background check information when hiring a caregiver.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Care.com will pay $126,820 in restitution to approximately 2,900 consumers who purchased background checks, and will pay $355,000 to the state.
And Care.com will now have to provide consumers more information about its background checks. As the AG's office details:
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.
The site will also have to tell consumers how they can obtain a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check.