By Ron Howells • 11 September 2021 • 16:06
‘Cowboy’ Covid test companies to be fined up to £10,000, says UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Thousands of British expats from Spain and UK travellers have been complaining about ‘Cowboy’ Covid test companies for months. However, as announced recently, the government body, the CMA, is investigating them with Health Secretary Sajid Javid promising heavy fines for proven malpractice.
It comes as 91 so-called “cowboy” companies have been removed from the government’s approved list following a review.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned there is a “race for the bottom” in the PCR testing market which could see travellers lose out and called on the Government for an “interventionist” response.
The CMA advised that the government should create a one-stop-shop list of “approved test providers by significantly improving the basic standards to qualify for inclusion and remaining on the gov.uk list”.
It also called for a more comprehensive monitoring and enforcement programme to ensure test providers meet the government’s standards and receive swift sanctions for failings.
Mr Javid said: “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.”
“Through our regular reviews and spot-checks, we have identified even more providers that were messing around with costs and have now removed 91 providers from gov.uk and corrected inaccurate prices of 135 private providers who will be removed from the list if they advertise misleading prices again.
“From September 21, in order to ensure travel test providers are performing to a high legalised standard, there will be tough new penalties for companies that fail to follow the law, including fixed fines of up to £10,000 (€11,700).
“I am reviewing the recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority and will outline further changes shortly to ensure consumers are given the best tests at the very best prices,” said the health minister.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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