‘Alphabet hackers’ gaming UK government site — Analysis

Private PCR testing businesses use numbers and exclamation marks to bypass the filters of the official Covid site.

Covid testing providers are “alphabet hacking” the UK government’s list of approved firms by using punctuation and numerals to beat the site’s filters and promote their products as the preferred choice, an investigation has found.

GridPoint Consulting reports that one eighth (or thirteen%) of private PCR testing businesses currently registered on the site’s official site has names that begin with a number or punctuation marks. GridPoint Consulting also discovered that some of these firms charged travelers four times more than the advertised price for the test.

The tactic can be described as follows: “alphabet hacking,” GridPoint Consulting noted that the site’s top five listed suppliers – and ostensibly the first choice for customers – at the time were “!!! “0-100% Travel 19” + + 0 0 44 Tests, ! Covid Testing, ! Nomad and !247 Travel Tests.”

When prospective travelers browse through the government website looking for PCR home test kits, the prices are advertised as low as £15 ($20). However, when clicking through to the provider’s site, the rates increase to more than three or four times that amount.

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There are also hidden charges, including a £10 ($13)shipping fee for some providers, while others – particularly those in less accessible areas – advertised only the “click and collect”They charge higher for products, but lower for home delivery. 

These tactics, while not illegal in their nature, were previously criticised by the Competition and Markets Authority. Robert Boyle, GridPoint Consulting’s head, suggested that the ministers and watchdog would crack down on these practices. “nothing has changed.” 

Despite the CMA investigating some companies and issuing guidelines… the government’s site is just as big a disaster as it was six months ago, full of dodgy looking companies advertising prices that aren’t actually available.

The average price for a PCR test in the UK is about £80 ($107) per person, according to The Telegraph. All arriving guests are now required by law to pay for PCR testing.

The spokesperson from the UK Health Security Agency stated that there were no such restrictions. “strict minimum standards”All private testing providers must comply and complaints are taken into consideration “very seriously.”



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