March 4, 2024

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Arkansas BBB warns of COVID-19 testing scams

There have been many complaints from Arkansans from various testing sites who got tested and never received their results, or had to pay a high price for them.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark — As new COVID cases continue to climb, so does the demand for testing in our state. With that, comes concerns over possible testing issues. In North Little Rock, the Rose City Neighborhood Association received complaints about one location. 

“It has come to our attention that the drive thru COVID testing site at McCain Mall has a history of not giving results to their clients. We personally are aware of at least 2 who tested last week at this site that has not been able to get their results.”

The site is run by a company called Covid Clinic, that told us that the location opened back in October.

With the omicron surge, they’ve gone from two to three people working the site to now six. That’s because they used to do around 10 COVID tests a day. Now, it’s close to 100. 

Charles Parduy got tested at the site a couple of days ago and is still waiting for his results.

“They don’t have the results in yet, but I’ll find out in another day or two,” said Parduy.

Covid Clinic doesn’t recommend no-cost tests if you’re traveling and need fast results.

If you try to book an appointment online, you’ll see a wide range of options for pricing with one of the highest being $299 for a rapid PCR test with results promised in two hours. 

“Cause I don’t have any money. I’m below the poverty line and they told me they would just test me to try to help me, cause I was in need,” said Parduy. 

Cara Carlin with the Better Business Bureau serving Arkansas said the California BBB is currently looking into the company. 

“You want to be concerned about price gauging because in most cases, they’re free, low charge. They will charge your health insurance if you have it typically, but when you’re getting prices in the $300 range, $100 range, it’s too high and there is a concern for price gauging,” said Carlin. 

Covid Clinic said with the high numbers of testing, results could take longer, and expedited testing is taking precedence over others.

“We have received inquiries on some pop-up testing sites with similar details. Either the prices are really high, they’re not receiving their results in due time. We don’t have any specific information on the McCain Mall location at this time,” said Carlin.

The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office released a statement: 

“The Attorney General’s Office is aware of some new complaints related to several COVID-19 testing sites. We are currently reviewing those complaints and coordinating with the Arkansas Department of Health. 

Attorney General Rutledge warns consumers to use caution when choosing a COVID-19 testing site. If the site requires out-of-pocket fees or is not affiliated with a well-known organization, think twice about obtaining a test at that location.”

Overall, authorities are warning people to be careful when it comes to COVID testing. The most common concern — people ordering tests online that aren’t FDA approved.

Any investigations BBB serving Arkansas does will be sent to state health officials and the Attorney General’s Office.

“Research. Research. Research. These pop-up sites are difficult because they are not reviewed heavily online like an Amazon product, but it still applies to do your research because the cases are on the rise and we all need accurate results fast,” said Carlin.