Ad description

Three ads for, a Covid-19 testing service:

a. An ‘About Us’ tab on’s Facebook page, seen in December 2021 stated, “…Covid-19 tests with results in 24 hours (from receipt of sample at the lab)”.

b. A post on’s Facebook page, also seen in December 2021 for a Fit to Fly PCR service stated, “… Choose standard free delivery or expedited courier (+ £29) for priority lab processing and results in 12-24 hours from swabbing)”.

c. Claims on the advertiser’s own website,, seen in January 2022 stated, “… Fit to Fly PCR … results in 24-48 hours from check-in at lab” and “… How it Works. PCR Testing Take our swab test at home and send it back to the lab in the pre-paid envelope. Results within 24-48 hours of arriving at the lab. Or opt for our Expedited Courier service (within M25) to get guaranteed next day results”.


Four complainants, who did not receive their test results within the advertised time frames, challenged whether the claims “results in 12-24 hours from swabbing” in ad (a), “results in 24 hours (from receipt of sample at the lab” in ad (b), “results in 24-48 hours from check in at lab” and “guaranteed next day results” in ad (c), were misleading and could be substantiated.


Health Technologies Ltd t/a acknowledged that they had not always been able to provide results within the advertised timeframes. They said that the timeframes were based on service-level agreements and set by the laboratory they used for processing the tests. They said they had tried to update their advertising when timeframes increased, but that had not always been possible. They acknowledged that this would have affected some customers. They said they were now consistently running to a time frame of 24-36 hours for postal PCR tests and provided evidence to show that was the case in February 2022.

They said they had amended their advertising to make clear that time scales were measured from when the tests were checked in at the lab, not when they were received. They explained that the guaranteed next day results service refunded customers whose results were not received within that time frame; the percentage of the fee refunded depended on the length of the delay.



The ASA understood that PCR tests for travel had to be completed within strict time frames. Because of that, the turnaround time was likely to be a major factor in a consumer’s decision to use a particular company.

We considered that consumers would understand the claims “results in 24 hours (from receipt of sample at the lab)” in ad (a), “results in 12-24 hours from swabbing” in ad (b) and “results in 24-48 hours from check in at lab” in ad (c) to mean that all, or almost all, test results would be received within those advertised time frames. We also considered that consumers were likely to interpret “guaranteed next day results” in ad (c) to mean that delivery of their results the day after they arrived at the lab would be certain, barring exceptional or unforeseen circumstances beyond’s control. We noted that the ad did not include any information about offering a refund if that timescale was not achieved. Because had been unable to show that was the case, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were misleading.

Ads (a), (b) and (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  (Misleading advertising) and  3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.  (Substantiation).


We told Health Technologies Ltd t/a to ensure that they were able to substantiate objective claims regarding timescales in future and to amend their advertising quickly if circumstances meant that they were no longer able to meet the advertised time frames. We also told them to make the conditions of their guarantee clear.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.7    

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