One of the UK’s largest COVID-19 testing providers is being investigated by the competition watchdog following a number of complaints by customers.
Expert Medicals has been accused of failing to provide PCR tests and results on time, or not at all in some cases.
The company also allegedly failed to respond to complaints and allegedly refused to issue refunds, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The watchdog has written to another 19 testing firms telling them to stop advertising misleading prices or face legal action under consumer protection laws.
The organisation said it was concerned the businesses falsely advertise tests at very low prices when they are either not available at that price or include hidden conditions, such as where the tests must be collected from.
Expert Medicals has been removed from the government’s list of testing providers and was the subject of many complaints to the CMA and Citizens Advice.
Companies on the list must self-declare that they meet the government’s minimum standards for COVID-19 testing.
Last week, the watchdog sent an open letter to providers warning them that a range of harmful practices in the sector could break consumer protection laws.
In addition to the concerns outlined on Friday, these include advertising prices for tests which do not include hidden charges.
Ministers had previously said they would be telling 82 companies that they would be removed from the list on the government’s website if they advertise misleading prices.
Millions of people have to buy PCR tests in order to travel, and holidaymakers have expressed concerns about excessive costs.
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “If we find that firms have been misleading customers and failing to provide the service that people have paid for, we stand ready to take action.”
He said their actions were taken to “ensure the PCR testing market works for consumers”.
PCR tests, which use a swab to detect coronavirus on the tonsils and inside the nose, typically cost £68 and are offered by more than 400 companies.