Commissioner's blog: Don't get scammed buying rapid antigen tests

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Now that COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RAT) are cleared for sale in Western Australia, many consumers will be looking to get their hands on the popular product before we open our borders to the rest of the country.

When demand for a product outstrips supply, this can create an opportunity for scammers and some individuals to take advantage, so we are urging shoppers to be wary and to familiarise themselves with new rules now in place for RAT kits.

Price mark-up concerns have been addressed, with limits imposed by the Commonwealth Government that stop individuals from on-selling RATs at more than 120 per cent of the price they paid for them. Individuals must also not export a RAT from Australia, unless a valid exception applies.

Closer to home, we are urging shoppers to watch-out for dodgy sellers of RAT kits given we know opportunistic scammers have set up fake websites or are selling unapproved self-testing kits that don’t work.

Overseas experience suggests that desperate consumers experiencing supply shortages are buying home testing kits from unknown websites and, if they do receive anything, it is often a kit that does not provide accurate results. This may then increase the risk of people unknowingly spreading the virus or not getting the appropriate treatment.

Aside from the risk of losing money, consumers purchasing these dodgy kits online may be the target of identity theft by providing personal and financial information to criminals.

We urge consumers to only buy RAT kits that are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) – a list for which can be found on the TGA website – and purchase them from reliable suppliers.

Checks can also be made on the supplier by doing an ABN Lookup and searching the internet for any negative reviews or comments about the business.

To avoid being scammed, we recommend paying with a credit card or via PayPal, so there’s an opportunity for a charge back if the product doesn’t arrive.

WA consumers with concerns about any seller of testing kits can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website, email or call 1300 30 40 54.

Gary Newcombe office exterior 2
Gary Newcombe office exterior 2, by CP Media

Gary Newcombe

Commissioner for Consumer Protection


Consumer Protection
Media release
03 Feb 2022

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