Shocking £525 cost for a single Covid test: Holidaymakers confronted with extortionate prices, shoddy service and long delays, Mail audit reveals
- Daily Mail analysis of 15 companies found, in some cases, true prices were up to three times more expensive than stated on the Government website
- At least four of the companies were incorporated in the last 12 months
- Reviewers have complained that tests arrived later than needed or not at all
- MPs are slamming the Government’s traffic light system as an ‘expensive mess’
Holidaymakers are facing a ‘shambolic’ lottery when choosing Government-approved coronavirus tests – with travellers telling of lengthy delays, appalling customer service and high prices.
A Daily Mail analysis of 15 firms found that, in some cases, true prices were up to three times more expensive than stated on the Government website. And one company even charged up to £525 for a single bespoke test service.
Dozens of firms were also attacked in customer reviews, with travellers demanding some be ‘shut down’ due to tests being delayed or not arriving at all.
At least four companies were only incorporated within the last 12 months, according to Companies House records, raising concerns about their suitability to meet growing demand. And two listed their headquarters as ‘virtual’ office spaces – meaning none of their staff are physically based there – in affluent areas of London and other cities.
Last night, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who sits on the Commons transport committee, described the Government’s traffic light system for travel as an ‘expensive mess’.
‘The UK Government maintains a hideously complex and expensive system of testing and quarantine, which is a nightmare for the public and a cash cow for unscrupulous testing companies,’ he said. ‘This is needlessly destroying thousands more British jobs in the travel sector.’
Holidaymakers are facing a ‘shambolic’ lottery when choosing Government-approved coronavirus tests. A Daily Mail analysis of 15 firms found that, in some cases, true prices were up to three times more expensive than stated on the Government website. And one company even charged up to £525 for a single bespoke test service [File photo]
Currently, passengers arriving into England from amber countries must take a Covid-19 test before travel and book tests for days two and eight of a ten-day quarantine on arrival.
These rules will continue for arrivals not yet fully vaccinated. But, from Monday, double-jabbed Britons will only be required to take two tests – one pre-return and another post-arrival by day two – and will not have to quarantine.
Passengers travelling into the country from green list destinations must take a Covid test before travelling and then another on or before day two of arrival.
The Mail looked at private firms recommended by the Government offering ‘day two’ test kits. Prices range from a £2.49 ‘self-swab’ from 1010 Labs to a £525 test from Harley Street Dr, which is administered by a professional at a place of the customer’s choosing.
Another firm, 123tests.co.uk, is listed as offering green list home testing kits for £26. The only ‘day two’ testing kits available yesterday were priced at £75.
And the company, which was only incorporated in February, has been blasted by customers with one review on Wednesday saying that a day two test had still not arrived by the eighth day of quarantine. ‘I don’t know how they are on a Government website but they should be taken off and shut down,’ the reviewer added.
Similarly, Expert Medicals, which offers a home testing kit for £28, was rated as ‘bad’ by 87 per cent of its Trustpilot reviews.
Tim Alderslade, CEO of trade body Airlines UK, has called on ministers to ‘get a grip’. And Labour transport spokesman Jim McMahon blasted the fiasco as ‘nothing short of shambolic’. He added: ‘People are having to fork out for seemingly substandard tests from private companies and the Transport Secretary appears to have no idea what is actually available.’
It comes amid further travel confusion for Croatia and Bulgaria, which will be upgraded to the green list from Monday. But yesterday the Foreign Office was still advising against ‘nonessential’ trips to both countries.
Currently, passengers arriving into England from amber countries must take a Covid-19 test before travel and book tests for days two and eight of a ten-day quarantine on arrival [File photo]