Sajid Javid threatens traveller testing firms with £10,000 fines after watchdog urged him to get tougher on rogue providers amid fears thousands more people could be ripped off
- Sajid Javid revealed the new penalties will be introduced from September 21
- Comes as Competition and Markets Authority urged ‘interventionist’ approach
- It warned not taking action ‘a race to bottom’ seeing thousands more ripped off
Sajid Javid threatened traveller testing firms with £10,000 fines last night after the competition watchdog urged him to get tougher on rogue providers.
The Health Secretary revealed the new penalties will be introduced from September 21 for firms that ‘fail to follow the law’.
It came after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urged Mr Javid to take a ‘more interventionist’ approach to end the ‘lottery’ facing holidaymakers in terms of cost and quality.
The Health Secretary revealed the new penalties will be introduced from September 21 for firms that ‘fail to follow the law’
Failure to take action would risk ‘a race to the bottom’ that could see thousands more ripped off, it warned.
But Mr Javid insisted his department was already cracking down, having removed 91 private providers from the Government website that were caught ‘messing around’ during spot-checks.
Officials have also ‘corrected inaccurate prices’ advertised by 135 firms on the official Government portal.
If they advertise misleading prices again they will also be booted off the list, Mr Javid warned.
He added: ‘It is completely unacceptable for any private testing company to take advantage of holidaymakers and we are taking action to clamp down on cowboy behaviour.’
Mr Javid had ordered the CMA to carry to carry out a ‘high-level review’ of the private PCR testing market.
It wrote to him with eight recommendations and published a 35-page report.
It said many travellers have been ‘getting a poor deal’ after tests and results they ordered arrived late or not at all, with some firms charging ‘extremely high mark-ups’.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urged Mr Javid to take a ‘more interventionist’ approach to end the ‘lottery’ facing holidaymakers in terms of cost and quality
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: ‘Buying a PCR travel test is a lottery.
‘From complaints about dodgy pricing practices, to unfair terms, to failure to provide tests on time or at all, to problems with getting refunds, the experience for some is just not good enough.’
The watchdog said ministers should ‘be prepared to introduce a price cap’ if firms fail to slash costs.
The average price of a single post-holiday PCR test was between £90 to £120 and £180 to £210 for two-swabs.
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