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Aveo Group to keep challenging A$160M lawsuit over Aveo Way sales scheme

Aveo Group Ltd. said it will not back down from challenging a A$160 million lawsuit lodged against it by law firm Levitt Robinson, acting on behalf of about 2,000 Aveo Village residents, The Australian reported.

The retirement village operator maintained that it will "vigorously" face the class-action suit, which is directed toward its Aveo Way sales scheme, which allegedly caused losses for some retirement village residents. The company denied earlier that it withheld information about the impact of the program, which gave outgoing residents the option to sell their units back to the Aveo, for it, in turn, to lease to incoming residents under titles that have been converted to leasehold from freehold.

Stewart Levitt, a senior partner in the law firm, was cited by the publication as saying that the A$160 million amount represents the difference between the value that unit owners should have received and the amount they got in reality. According to the Dec. 7 report, each complainant's claim ranges from A$50,000 to A$300,000.

Levitt also said that the case is centered on "consumer protection" for the elderly residents. Through the lawsuit, the plaintiffs hope that the court could put an end to the company's Aveo Way sales program.

Aveo CEO Geoff Grady countered the suit by pointing out that the program has garnered support from new residents who saw the scheme as "transparent and fair." Grady further told the paper that the Aveo Way program provided a substantial amount of advantages, including "certainty about exit fees, no liability for refurbishment costs, agency fees or capital losses on leaving the village."

Trial proceedings for the class action will likely begin late 2018, the publication added.