Nick Baggs from Bristol was due to fly to Thailand at the end of November to visit his girlfriend and children for the Christmas holidays.
However his plans took a drastic turn when Boots, which Nick Baggs used to purchase a ‘Fit-to-Fly’ PCR test before leaving the country, lost the kit – meaning he was unable to fly.
The father-of-two has shared his disappointment with Bristol Live and said he will ‘never use Boots’ services ever again’.
On November 29, the 54-year-old visited the health retailer and pharmacy’s Broadmead branch to take a PCR test, requiring a negative result to enable him to fly, and was told to wait up to 48 hours for a result.
Even when the deadline had passed two days after his test, he was convinced he would receive an email from the laboratory as ‘Boots is a huge household name’.
But on the morning of his planned flight at 10:55am on December 2 he still hadn’t heard back about his test, despite having attempted to find out multiple times.
Unsure what to do, Nick went to the airport regardless, but his efforts were ultimately in vain,
He said: “I had no choice as I had to go to the airport either way and my flight was leaving at that point.
“There was no way I could have got my PCR test but I thought the only way was to ring them up and see if they had my results ready.”
Nick added that only when there was 90 minutes left before check-in closed was he informed by a staff member at Boots that his test was lost in transit.
Despite pleading with Boots that he hadn’t seen his children for almost two years and wanted to be with his family over the Christmas holidays, Boots told him the best they could do was offer a full refund of £79, the cost of the test kit.
Nick added: “I was absolutely fuming – I tried to ring up to look for a complaints department to speak to someone who could help and give me a bit of empathy about the situation
“When I had spoken to a member of staff, they said to me that they would pass on my message and get someone to call back.
“Usually they said it takes them 72 hours for a response but also that it might take longer if they’re busy. That’s when I decided to not ring them anymore because it was a waste of time.”
Nick is now hoping to rebook his flight to reunite with his family in hope of rectifying the situation, but fears it could be difficult.
He said: “Because of the lockdown, I was not able to see my girlfriend and kids since January last year as they’re in Thailand.
“So for this to happen, it feels like a rug has been pulled out from underneath us. It really hurt.
“This trip was about spending time with my family but I had to tell them over the phone that I’m not going to be there. They were so upset and so angry at Boots. They made me make my kids cry.”
As a customer who once highly respected Boots, Nick has now completely changed his mind and is hoping compensation from the retailer.
“I thought Boots was meant to be this big name who would never do anything like this and that’s why I went to them, but they were awful. They’re horrible,” he said.
“That’s why I’m doubling my efforts to fix things because they don’t seem to care every time I’ve spoken to them.
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“Before you travel to Thailand, you need to have a Thai pass so you can enter the country and you must have a lot of things put in place before you can get the pass such as booking for a hotel.
“So the knock-on effect of what Boots did is huge and I definitely feel after all the losses my family and I had suffered from, there is definitely compensation that I’m entitled to.”
Response from Boots
Boots has since apologised for causing such distress.
A spokesperson for the retailer said: “At Boots we offer a range of Fit to Fly COVID-19 tests and the vast majority of them are processed normally within our recommended time frames.
“Unfortunately, in the case of Nicholas Baggs, his test went missing in transit to the laboratory – a very rare occurrence.
“We offer our wholehearted apology to Mr Baggs for the disruption this has caused to his travel plans and have offered a full refund for the price of his test.”