‘Ridiculous’: Briton warns against costly PCR test mistake – ‘you don’t get money back’

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Testing has been hailed as one of the main ways to help international travel, however, the subsequent cost of testing has made holidays inaccessible for many. Yet, even those who have factored in the expense of tests should be sure they are purchasing the right ones for their needs.

British traveller Sylvia set off for France in July alongside her husband so the couple could check up on their second property, having not been able to do so for almost a year.

“We’ve had flights cancelled, like a yo-yo, and the first one out was on July 2 to see our house and really just to make sure that it’s all okay,” Sylvia told Express.co.uk.

Ahead of her trip, the homeowner did plenty of research to ensure she had “dotted all of the I’s and crossed all of the T’s”.

However, the fast-changing rules for the amber list, and for France in particular, meant testing requirements were also changing in rapid succession.

Initially, it had seemed that by the time the fully vaccinated couple were to return from France, they would be able to side-step quarantine and take just a day two PCR test upon their return.

“When we found out everyone [who is fully vaccinated] could come back from an amber country, because you could do at that point with France, we would have only needed the second-day test,” Sylvia explained.

“So thought maybe we don’t need to book or purchase the eight-day test at this point.

“We booked [the day two test] before we could complete the Passenger Locator Form.”

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The couple forked out £120 for their day two tests alone.

However, when the couple went to input the reference code of their paid-for tests into the Passenger Locator Form “it wasn’t accepted”.

She continued: “I said: ‘Do you think it’s because we’ve not done the day eight test with the day two test?’

“We went back onto the Government website and re-read it and it said package.

“That’s when we realised that’s what they mean – you have to purchase the second and the eight-day test.”

It was a blow for the couple who had already shelled out for one test and now faced a further “package” purchase, though they did not think they would have to use the day eight test at this point.

“We had to cancel the first tests which we got a voucher for,” she said.

Though the test centres do offer a voucher for future use, Sylvia warns “they don’t give you the money back.”

She explained: “If you booked the test they will give you a voucher for it if you let them know within 72 hours or if the flight is cancelled.

“But if your ring up say 48 hours before the test you don’t get a voucher.

“They have given us a voucher back to use for another stage but you don’t get your money back, it is just a voucher and I think that applies to all of the testing centres.”

This is why she urges holidaymakers to fully understand what is required of them before making their bookings.

“We had to rebook the second and the eight-day tests and when we got that reference onto the Government form it accepted it,” she said.

Yet, even for those who do purchase their tests as needed, Sylvia says the costs associated are “ridiculous”.

“The cost of it is ridiculous,” she said.

“We obviously went for the cheapest.

“We paid £60 coming out each which is enough, isn’t it?

“Then we had the antigen test done and that was €33 and then for the way back it was a £250 package for the both of us.”

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