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Dante Labs to Refund COVID-19 Test Customers Following UK Regulatory Investigation

NEW YORK — The UK's Competition and Markets Authority said on Tuesday that Dante Labs has committed to providing timely refunds to customers for its COVID-19 and other PCR diagnostics after the agency launched a formal investigation into the test providers business practices.

In September, the CMA said that it was looking into complaints that New York City-based Dante had not been delivering tests on time or at all and had been refusing or delaying refunds to customers who canceled their orders. The CMA said at the time that Dante had failed to provide proper customer service.

The CMA's probe into Dante was part of a broader initiative launched last summer to crack down on potential price gouging and substandard delivery of domestic PCR-based testing services for SARS-CoV-2. That effort included the initiation of an ongoing investigation into UK-based Expert Medicals in September.

The CMA said on Tuesday that Dante has agreed to complete a review of customer complaints and ensure people have received refunds if they tried to exercise their cancellations rights or if their test kits or results were provided late.

Dante, which has already refunded thousands of customers, is required to settle any outstanding refunds within 21 days, the agency said. Additionally, the lab has agreed to strengthen its customer service protections and update the CMA on its progress in three months.

"While travel rules to the UK may have changed, those people who still require PCR tests to travel abroad shouldn't have to waste money on late results or tests that don’t arrive," Andrea Coscelli, chief executive at the CMA, said in a statement. "It is crucial that all PCR providers treat people fairly, being clear on price and timings and providing refunds where they are due."

The CMA said that it has sent letters to 25 PCR test providers instructing them to review their terms and conditions, as well as other practices, or risk enforcement action.

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