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Major UK PCR test provider under investigation

travel tests

By Isabel Shaw
Reporter

06 Sep 2021

One of the largest providers of PCR Covid-19 travel tests in the UK is currently undergoing an investigation by the competition watchdog after it received complaints from customers.  

The provider, named Expert Medicals, has been accused of potentially breaking consumer law by not providing tests and results in the time it said it would, and some cases, failing to provide tests at all.  

Customers have also said it failed to respond to customer complaints and issue refunds for tests and test results that did not arrive in time, the Competition Market Authority (CMA) announced on Friday (3 September).  

The body has also written to 19 other test providers requesting they begin to price their tests correctly, or else face future legal action.  

The CMA said it is concerned the providers are falsely advertising their tests at deceivingly low prices when the tests are not available at that price or include additional costs which the company has not stated.  

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive at the CMA, said: ‘Millions of people have to buy PCR tests in order to travel. If we find that firms have been misleading customers and failing to provide the service that people have paid for, we stand ready to take action.   

‘Our actions today are the next steps in our work to ensure the PCR testing market works for consumers and we are preparing to take further action in this sector.’ 

This comes after the CMA wrote an open letter to providers last month (25 August), in which it listed a range of practices and conducts which could lead to legal action from the CMA or Trading Standards. 

The letter asked all providers to ‘immediately’ review their conduct and policies to ‘make sure they are in line with the requirements of consumer law and to make any changes where necessary’. 

Before this, the Government announced (23 August) it would be warning 82 testing companies that they face being removed from the Government’s test list if they advertise misleading prices. 


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