The practices of concern to the Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA) embrace:
- promoting up-front costs for PCR exams which don’t embrace extra fees that everybody should pay
- promoting low cost PCR exams that are solely really obtainable in very small portions or will not be obtainable in any respect
- failing to ship PCR exams or present outcomes inside said timescales, or in any respect
- refusing to supply shoppers with refunds the place exams will not be supplied inside marketed and/or agreed timescales, or in any respect.
It comes after the Authorities this week (23 August) introduced it could be warning 82 firms that they face being faraway from the Gov.uk listing in the event that they promote deceptive costs.
Constructing on this, the CMA letter warns PCR take a look at suppliers that in the event that they mislead prospects or deal with them unfairly they might additionally face enforcement motion from the CMA or Buying and selling Requirements. The letter instructs PCR take a look at suppliers to ‘instantly assessment their practices and insurance policies to ensure they’re in step with the necessities of shopper legislation and to make any modifications the place obligatory’.
CMA Basic Counsel Sarah Cardell stated:
PCR take a look at suppliers needs to be in little doubt that they should get on the suitable aspect of the legislation. In the event that they don’t, they danger enforcement motion.
Our recommendation in the present day may also assist folks by setting out precisely what they need to count on for his or her cash.
This warning goes hand-in-hand with motion taken by Authorities this week and is the newest step in our work to sort out rip off costs and dangerous service. We proceed to work intently with DHSC in reviewing this market and shall be offering additional recommendation to DHSC on motion that may be taken.
The letter lists 11 steps suppliers ought to take, together with not focusing their promoting on low cost exams that are solely obtainable in small numbers; displaying the total price of exams together with all obligatory fees; and offering ‘sincere, correct and clear’ timescales on when exams shall be obtained. PCR take a look at suppliers must also make sure that PCR exams and outcomes are supplied inside marketed timescales.
Additional info will be discovered on the CMA fast assessment of PCR testing for journey internet web page.
Notes to Editors
The open letter is offered on the CMA’s web site.
On 12 August the CMA supplied an replace on the areas we’re exploring as a part of our work on the PCR testing market. There are 3 areas that the CMA is at the moment exploring:
- Whether or not particular person PCR suppliers could also be breaching their obligations below shopper legislation and needs to be topic to enforcement motion;
- Whether or not there are structural issues available in the market for PCR exams, affecting worth or reliability;
- Whether or not there are any speedy actions that the Authorities may take within the meantime.
The CMA has despatched preliminary recommendation to the Secretary of State on choices that DHSC may take into account to handle issues over the worth and reliability of PCR exams and the standard of service folks obtain from suppliers.
The Authorities introduced its ‘two strike’ system on 23 August 2021.