On 20 August 2020, the High Court ordered an interim injunction against Royal Mail Group in favour of Preventx, a provider of remote diagnostic testing services and clinical referral services for sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Preventx claimed that changes introduced by Royal Mail with respect to its returns service were an abuse of Royal Mail’s dominant position in the market for untracked outbound/return postal services for STI test kits and completed samples by way of nationwide letterbox network (or equivalent) in the UK. Preventx claimed that Royal Mail had informed it that its samples should be shipped using a ‘Tracked Returns’ service because they were classified as ‘dangerous goods’. Royal Mail threatened to destroy returns samples sent by ‘Freepost’ or to refuse to process them, and told Preventx at short notice that it would withdraw the relevant licence if Preventx did not migrate to the tracked service.
The High Court agreed with Preventx that insisting that Preventx include the word ‘Tracked’ on the packaging would have a deterrent effect on users of Preventx’s service and may constitute an abusive unfair trading condition. The interim injunction prevents Royal Mail, until trial or a further court order, from refusing to provide its Freepost Standard service to Preventx for the return of its samples for as long as Royal Mail cannot offer its tracked 24 hour returns services without the requirement to be labelled ‘Tracked’. The court also held that Royal Mail cannot refuse to process or deliver test sample packages that have been sent by Freepost’.