Disabled and elderly people are being put up for auction on web sites by at least twelve city and county councils in the UK.
Rest homes offer bids for seniors and disabled folks whose personal details (age, medication, type of care) are listed on the eBay-type websites.
Facilities can lower their price or offer extra services in order to win the bid, which includes government money to care for the senior or disabled person.
According to the BBC, the facility with the lowest bid won the patient 92 percent of the time on one city's website.
The BBC, which obtained the statistics via a Freedom of Information request, also found that 20 percent of the facilities failed to meet UK national standards for rest homes. Some facilities smelled of urine, gave residents the wrong drugs and washed people with dementia in cold water.
"These eBay-style sites highlight the funding crisis for elderly care," said Ros Altmann, a government adviser. "It is awful. The idea of bidding for a person is just uncivilized. These are not parcels, they are people."
"Do we really want to treat older people as a 'product' to be bought and sold this way?" added Janet Morrison, head of the non-profit charity group Independent Age. "We are concerned that older people’s needs will lose out to price as the main reason for selecting a home."
In some cases, elderly and disabled people were sent to rest homes that had a "zero" rating, even though scores under 60 are considered to be "poor," noted the Daily Mail.