A new report has found that families are regularly paying too much for care because they have received incorrect information from councils.
The study, carried out by the Local Government Ombudsman, said that too often relatives were being denied the adequate information they need to make an informed decision.
The watchdog has said that local authorities needed to do far more to ensure that individuals are fully briefed on the financial implications of social care and top-up fees.
Their report said: “The decision to place a loved one in a care home can be one of the hardest any family has to make, but all too often families are paying too much for their care because they are not getting the correct, timely information.”
Under current rules, those with assets of less than £14,250 are entitled to have the cost of a care home placement paid for by the local authority.
However, top-up fees can be charged to families who want to pay for additional facilities, and a number of charities have said that many relatives don’t feel they have a choice.
Tony Cryer is among those who are awaiting a repayment from the council after the Ombudsman intervened.
He told BBC News that he had been charged a top-up fee after his local council reassessed the amount it was willing to pay towards his mother’s care fees.
“They’d decided my mum was going to move elsewhere,” he said.
“But we couldn’t let it happen. We had to pay the difference… we were put in an impossible position.”