PCR provider Randox improves refund and cancellation terms after CMA steps in

Covid test
By Lisa James
03/12/2021
Home » PCR provider Randox improves refund and cancellation terms after CMA steps in

One of the UK’s largest PCR testing providers, Randox, has changed its terms on cancellations, refunds and liability, after the Competition and Markets Authority stepped in.

Randox now says it will give clearer information to customers after the CMA said its terms and conditions were confusing.

In particular, Randox will clarify when it will provide PCR tests and results as well as improve notification of consumers’ legal rights on cancellations and refunds, such as making it clear there is a ‘cooling off’ period.

It’s also agreed to remove terms that could suggest customers aren’t entitled to compensation if things go wrong.

CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: “With recent changes to the rules for travel, the spotlight is once again on PCR testing providers and their practices.

“I am pleased that Randox has agreed to change its terms, which means consumers benefit from their legal rights to cancel and get a refund, and are not stopped from pursuing compensation if there is a problem.

“However, it’s essential that all companies play by the rules and treat people fairly. We are clear that, if they fail to do so, they risk facing enforcement action from the CMA or Trading Standards.

“We recently provided recommendations to Government on changes to better protect consumers in this market and we hope that, given the reintroduction of PCR testing for travellers, these will be implemented as quickly as possible.”

The CMA’s engagement with Randox is part of a wider set of actions it has taken to protect consumers in this market. In August 2021, the CMA published an open letter to PCR providers, outlining how they should comply with consumer law.

Practices of concern included advertising up-front prices for PCR tests which do not include additional charges; advertising cheap PCR tests which are only actually available in very small quantities or not at all; failing to deliver PCR tests or provide results within stated timescales and refusing to provide people with refunds where tests are not provided within advertised or agreed timescales.

The CMA has also sent letters to 25 PCR providers, warning them to review their terms and conditions and other practices – or risk facing enforcement action. It currently has formal investigations into two PCR providers, Expert Medicals and Dante Labs.

In addition, the CMA has provided advice to the Government on ways to make the PCR testing market work better for consumers.

The recommendations included improving the basic standards to qualify for inclusion and remain on the GOV.UK list; monitoring providers on this list and swiftly removing, and sanctioning, those firms that don’t meet these standards; and adding information to enable consumers to compare providers properly and find the best deals for them.

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