Competition & Markets Authority launches PCR test investigation

The Competition & Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the value of PCR testing for British travellers coming back from abroad.

The secretary of state for well being and social care, Sajid Javid, wrote to the physique earlier this month asking it to contemplate three key points.

The CMA is now inspecting whether or not particular person PCR suppliers could also be breaching their obligations beneath client regulation, in addition to whether or not there are structural issues out there for checks, affecting value or reliability.

Also into consideration is whether or not there are any instant actions that the federal government might take earlier than enforcement motion is important.

George Lusty, CMA senior director for client safety, stated: “It is essential that people paying for PCR tests are treated fairly, get what they pay for and that their rights are respected when things go wrong.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action if we find evidence that PCR providers are breaching consumer law.”

He added: “This is a very urgent situation simply now for households hoping to get pleasure from a well-earned vacation after such a troublesome yr, and for these reuniting with associates and relations abroad.

“That is why we are also providing ongoing support to Department of Health & Social Care, including on steps that could be considered in the interim, before the rest of our work on the PCR testing market is concluded.”

Consumer rights organisation Which? has known as for a value cap on checks.

Rory Boland, Which? journey editor, stated: “Which? raised critical issues with the journey testing system with the federal government forward of journey reopening – lengthy earlier than the predictable disruption we at the moment are witnessing for holidaymakers.

“Not solely do travellers face paying tons of of kilos for checks to be able to journey, however they’re additionally let down too steadily by delayed or lacking take a look at outcomes.

“It’s encouraging to see the CMA recognise the urgency of this situation, though its overview will come too late for these travelling over the summer season holidays within the coming days and weeks.

“The government and regulator must now act swiftly to ensure private testing for travel is reliable, affordable and accessible for all UK consumers – not just those who are better off.”

“The government must urgently look at ways, including the possibility of introducing a price cap, to reduce the cost of testing, while the CMA must complete its review of the market swiftly, and take action against any firms found to be charging excessive or misleading prices.”

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