Holidaymakers misled over prices and availability by Covid test firms

Holidaymakers are being misled over prices and availability by Covid testing firms on government approved list, Which? investigation finds

  • Some firms displayed price for just one test when two are required for tourists
  • Consumer group Which? said it was concerning when travel was resuming
  • Firms in the report said they had been confused by government rules

Private Covid testing firms on the Government-approved list are causing ‘serious problems’ for people travelling to the UK over pricing and availability, a new report has found.

Consumer group Which? has discovered some firms have failed to deliver tests on time or returned results to customers.

Others never received kits or even received results for swabs they had not even taken.

More recently companies have been giving attractive prices, but customers are not realising this is just for one test when two are needed, while some don’t have any to deliver.

Rory Boland, travel editor at Which? said: ‘Weeks on from some international travel being allowed to resume, it’s very concerning to still be uncovering such serious problems with the government’s testing system for travellers – problems that could have easily been ironed out well ahead of travel restarting, had proper regulatory oversight been ensured early on.

‘As it stands, travellers risk being left at the mercy of rogue operators who, at best, attempt to profiteer off of those looking for testing services to allow them to travel, and at worst, risk leaving them out of pocket for services that don’t even exist.’

A self-testing kit for coronavirus similar to those being sent out by many private firms

People coming into the UK from amber countries have to take tests as part of regulations 

Travellers to the UK have to pre-book tests for day two and day eight after their return.

Those countries on the government’s ‘amber’ list force travellers to pre-book a two-test package before they are allowed into the UK.

The consumer group said prices offered by Biograd Diagnostics, Screen 4 and Book A Travel Test were between £60 and £98.

But when it investigated further it found the quoted prices were for a single test, not the compulsory pair.

Around four million people in the North West of England are now in the area with extra restrictions because of concerns about outbreaks of the Indian variant. Bolton, Burnley, Blackburn and Kirklees were already affected but now all of Lancashire and Greater Manchester have been added

The Indian variant is now dominant in more than two thirds of England’s local authorities, and has spread to 85 per cent of the country, according to the latest surveillance data from Britain’s leading centre for tracking the virus the Sanger Institute

All over-50s in England could be fully protected against Covid by July 1 — nearly two weeks after ‘freedom day on June 21 — but it will take until September for all adults to have had two jabs, MailOnline analysis can reveal

The firms involved told the BBC problem lay with how the DHSC recorded price information.

‘A number of companies including ourselves were initially confused by the government listing forms,’ said a Book A Travel Test spokesperson.

‘We have gone to great lengths to support travellers, however, we are not immune to costs and have had to navigate fluctuating charges from labs. We remain committed to doing all we can to deliver an excellent service to travellers during this difficult time.”

A Screen 4 spokesperson said the problem lay in ‘differences in terminology’.

‘We do not and have never tried to manipulate the listings and we have tried to provide a competitive and reliable service with clearly stated capacity of tests available,’ Screen 4 said.

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