Korean long-term care was introduced as a national system aimed at a rapid transformation from informal care to universal formal care based on choice and competition. However, it failed to satisfy the prerequisites for such a market model, which resulted in various equity problems. In order to tackle these problems, the government superimposed a regulatory framework on to the market. However, in a situation where providers concentrate on profit maximisation, the enhancement of regulations may partially tackle some problems but new ones are created, such as resistance from providers. This article is a Korean case study which shows that, in a context of low trust, it is difficult to enhance regulations governing the private, for-profit provision of social services to enable the effective operation of choice and competition.