Government issues warnings to travel testing providers over misleading prices

23 August 2021, 12:03

The crackdown on testing companies could mean some are removed from the government's website.
The crackdown on testing companies could mean some are removed from the government's website. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Over 80 travel testing providers will be issued warnings by the government due to misleading prices, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

A total of 82 companies - which make up 18 per cent of those listed as offering day two and day eight tests - will receive two-strike warnings.

If there is no action taken within three days of strike one, companies will be taken off the site.

It comes after a rapid review of pricing revealed that the 82 companies had been displaying lower prices on GOV.UK than are available on their website at the point of checkout.

The government's website is set to be updated to reflect the actual costs of the tests, with the intention of ensuring consumers feel as those they can trust the testing providers listed and only the most reliable companies are available.

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Mr Javid said: "It is absolutely unacceptable for any private testing company to be taking advantage of holidaymakers and today’s action clamps down on this cowboy behaviour.

“57 firms will be removed from the gov.uk list and a further 82 will be given a two-strike warning - if they advertise misleading prices ever again, they’re off.

“We are also introducing regular spot checks this week to make sure all private providers follow the rules and meet our high standards of transparency."

The 57 companies being removed from the list no longer exist or do not provide day two and day eight testing.

Tests booked for travel with companies not listed can still be used for travel, providing those companies meet legal requirements.

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Earlier in August, it was confirmed that British holidaymakers would be able to get cheaper travel tests.

As of 13 August, the cost of NHS Test and Trace tests dropped from £88 to £68 for green or fully vaccinated amber arrivals, and from £170 to £136 for two tests for amber arrivals who are not fully vaccinated.

It comes as the Health Secretary recently announced that people who have had Covid will also be able to get tested for antibodies under a new scheme.

The UK-wide programme will aim to improve understanding and gain "vital" data about antibody protection following Covid infection and vaccination.