The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a formal investigation about a private travel test firm after complaints from the public.
A ‘high number’ of complaints have been made against Expert Medicals, including that it has not provided tests and results in a timely manner; has failed to respond to customer complaints and has refused to issue refunds when due.
The firm, one of the largest providers of PCR travel tests in the UK this summer, has been the subject of complaints to Citizens Advice as well as the CMA.
It now no longer appears on the list of testing providers who self-declare that they meet the Government’s minimum standards for COVID-19 testing.
According to Which? Expert Medicals offered the cheapest kit, at £28 including postage and packing, far less than the next cheapest provider, which charges £40.
The CMA has also written to a further 19 test providers warning them to improve their pricing information or risk action in the future.
The CMA is concerned that the 19 firms continue to falsely advertise tests at very low prices when they are either not available at that price or include hidden conditions, such as where the tests must be collected from.
This action comes after the CMA last week sent an open letter to PCR test providers warning that a range of harmful practices in the sector could breach consumer protection law.
CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli 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.”