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I recently went abroad and needed PCR tests to fly.
We had a stressful week leading up to our trip so I didn’t pay much attention when choosing which test provider to go with. It was early days in the whole testing rigmarole and there’s not a lot of feedback online for the providers yet.
I ended up going with one of the companies at the top of the list, 247HomeTesting, and went for their ‘day two and day eight’ package, paying more than £280 for two sets of tests.
After sending off my tests once back in the UK, I was frustrated when my day eight result didn’t come back after two days. I eventually received my negative results but not until day 16 of being back.
During this time I chased up my results but 247HomeTesting said it was experiencing delays due to high demand. I was appalled. It was outrageous given what they’re charging and the complete lack of customer service.
I asked for a refund and tried to make a claim with my bank but this was unsuccessful. Is there anything else I can do?
Jo Wright, Bath
Put to Rights
Hannah Downes consumer rights expert at Which? says:
Unfortunately your experience isn’t unusual, Jo. Hordes of holidaymakers have been in the news complaining of tests not arriving on time, not being able to book tests, and misleading prices.
Picking a trusted Covid test provider with a reliable service can feel like a gamble when there’s so many to choose from in a burgeoning market. The UK government has more than 900 providers on its list with little information on how each company’s service differs.
Our research into PCR test providers found a lack of consistency in terms of refund policies. Some providers, such as C19, do offer refunds for late tests, while others on the government’s list have no refund policies at all.
Frustratingly, Jo, it seems the company you went with falls into the latter category. And with no real protection in place beyond the provider’s refund policy, you might well struggle to get any reimbursement.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been looking into the Covid test market and the vastly different prices being charged. After warning 82 companies about misleading prices, the CMA launched an investigation into one testing firm, Expert Medicals, and wrote to 19 other providers, urging them to change their practices.
But this action came months after Which? warned the government about the high cost of private testing and highlighted concerns that the system isn’t set up for large numbers of people.
Though the rules are set to change by the end of October, requiring vaccinated arrivals into England to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR, there will be many holidaymakers who rightly feel they have not received a fair deal when booking Covid tests to go abroad.
If you’ve had a bad experience with a Covid testing provider, get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Which? contacted 247HomeTesting for a comment but it didn’t respond.
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