Over the last few days, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued warnings to several COVID-19 testing labs, ordering them to stop misrepresenting turnaround times for COVID-19 test results. The letters, which were sent to ClearMD Solutions, LabQ Diagnostics, Lawworq, and Sameday Health allege that the companies failed to provide COVID-19 test results when promised.
In announcing the action against ClearMD, NYAG James said, "What we’re seeing more and more are private labs and collection centers making false promises about turnaround times for COVID-19 test results when there is no way for them to keep up with the demand. What’s worse is that a number of these companies are charging New Yorkers for a ‘quick’ test result that is anything but that."
Specifically, the NYAG alleged that ClearMD Solutions made claims such as "COVID testing quick enough to keep up with the busiest of New Yorkers," "PCR results in as quick as 12-24 hours," and "currently, ClearMD has the fastest [test] turnaround time in New York -- less than 24 hours." The NYAG charged, however, that individuals have been waiting four or more days for their test results, including some who paid a premium.
In the letter to Labworq, the NYAG charged the company with making consumers wait over five days for COVID-19 test results, even though the company's website promises "24-hour results" and "an end-to-end customer experience of less than 48 hours."
The NYAG charged that although LabQ Diagnostics made claims such as "Results Come Back [in] 48 Hours," consumers have waited over 96 hours for their results. The NYAG also pointed out that the company's website states, "Turnaround Time Matters."
The NYAG alleged that Sameday Health failed to deliver on what it promised in its advertising as well -- that it will provide COVID-19 test results in less than 36 hours for people who pay a premium and in less than 76 for those that do not, so long as they are covered by insurance.
The letters order the companies to update their websites and in-store signage to accurately reflect how long individuals can expect to wait before receiving COVID-19 test results and to e-mail individuals who are waiting for their results to let them know of any delays and when the results will be received. The NYAG also told some of the companies that they should provide refunds to consumers who paid for (and did not receive) expedited results.
While the NYAG acknowledged that there is an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing due to the holidays and the Omicron variant, the NYAG said that, "it remains important, especially during the holidays, to advertise and otherwise convey accurate information to consumers about when they can receive their test results so that they can plan accordingly."
"What’s worse is that a number of these companies are charging New Yorkers for a ‘quick’ test result that is anything but that" -- New York Attorney General Letitia James