Government accused of promoting Covid travel tests at deceptive prices | Coronavirus

The government has been accused of promoting companies offering Covid lateral flow tests for vacationers at deceptive prices.

From Sunday, fully vaccinated people arriving in England from countries not on the government’s ‘red list’ can take a lateral flow test instead of the more expensive PCR version.

But concerns were raised when the government released a list of companies providing testing on Friday, as the companies were accused of advertising “clickbait” prices, then charging more and “playing” the site. Web to appear first.

Test providers are listed in alphabetical order, with many using symbols, numbers, or a combination of the two, to appear higher in the list.

The what ? Travel Editor, Rory Boland, said: “The travel PCR testing system has been working for months now and yet there are still major issues with the vendors that are causing the system to appear at the top of the list. government and that the prices of the advertisements are lower than the actual cost. .

“Unfortunately, this means that once again you cannot trust the information on the government website. The government listing should be your starting point, but you will need to do your own homework and research the suppliers.

PA Media’s analysis found that many of the companies offering the lowest prices either did not actually allow customers to book tests or that the prices were much higher than originally advertised.

Some tests were offered for as low as £ 14.94, but clicking on websites resulted in much higher prices. Frustrated travelers on Twitter have accused the companies of “false advertising” and “clickbait”.

Boland said: “The problems that consumers have faced with the PCR testing market have been well documented, so it is inexcusable that these problems have been repeated for the lateral flow test system.”

Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy PC Agency, said: “Why isn’t the government learning? Again, it quotes prices for the second day testing that are not reflected by the actual testing providers on their own websites.

“His poor oversight and lack of regulation of this multibillion pound industry continues to defy understanding.”

Forty-eight providers are selling the tests for at least £ 100, with the most expensive being offered by ROC Health Services for £ 217 despite Sajid Javid, the health secretary, saying the new policy would make international travel “easier and cheaper “.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said: ‘These reports are inaccurate and misleading – the average price is between £ 20 and £ 30 for lateral flow testing and no supplier is listed on gov .uk offering lateral flow testing for £ 150.

“The UK Health Security Agency has extensive controls in place to ensure prices are fair and affordable for travelers. It is unacceptable for a private testing company to take advantage of holidaymakers and for any private vendor showing misleading prices on gov.uk to be removed. “

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