Competition watchdog warns PCR Covid test providers on failures

Competition watchdog warns PCR Covid test providers they are breaking the law with misleading pricing and slow results

  • Competition watchdog has delivered stern warning to PCR Covid test providers 
  • CMA said firms that had hidden prices or delays in results were breaking the law
  • Insisted that it will take enforcement action when it finds customers mistreated 

A watchdog has delivered a stark warning to PCR Covid test providers that they are breaking the law with misleading pricing and delays in giving results.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is ready to take enforcement action over a range of dodgy practices that cause misery for holidaymakers.

The behaviours include hidden charges and advertising cheap tests which are only actually available in very small quantities or are not available at all.

The CMA also insisted it will not tolerate failure to give results within promised timescales, and refusing to provide consumers with refunds where tests are not provided on schedule.

The sabre-rattling comes after the Government announced this week that 82 companies face being removed from the Gov.uk list if they advertise misleading prices.

The competition watchdog has delivered a stark warning to PCR Covid test providers that they are breaking the law with misleading pricing and delays in giving results. Posed image

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is ready to take enforcement action over a range of dodgy practices that cause misery for holidaymakers. Pictured, Heathrow airport

An open letter from the CMA tells providers that if they treat customers unfairly then it or Trading Standards can take action.

They must ‘immediately review their practices and policies to make sure they are in line with the requirements of consumer law and to make any changes where necessary’.

CMA general counsel Sarah Cardell said: ‘PCR test providers should be in no doubt that they need to get on the right side of the law. If they don’t, they risk enforcement action.

‘Our advice today will also help people by setting out exactly what they should expect for their money.

‘This warning goes hand in hand with action taken by Government this week, and is the latest step in our work to tackle rip-off prices and bad service.

‘We continue to work closely with DHSC in reviewing this market and will be providing further advice to DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) on action that can be taken.’

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: ‘This intervention from the regulator is positive news; however, this laundry list of problems has left travellers struggling for months to choose a trustworthy, reliable test provider and having to pay the financial penalty when things go wrong.

‘The Government must act swiftly to remove test providers misleading customers from its site, while the CMA must be prepared to take tough action against any firms flouting the rules.’

This graphic shows the basic process of a PCR test for coronavirus

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