STOP SICKNESS SCAMS: Government launches probe into fake holiday sickness claims

BENIDORM: All-inclusive holidays are under threat BENIDORM: All-inclusive holidays are under threat Shutterstock

THE UK government is urging travel industry insiders to help with a crackdown on fraudulent holiday sickness claims which are estimated to have cost the industry £240 million already.

It is feared that the false claims will force up the holiday prices for others or lead to certain types of package holidays taken off the market.

Travel trade association ABTA have said, "Since 2013, there has been more than a 500% increase in the number of compensation claims for holiday sickness with tens of thousands of claims in the past year. Yet, during the same period, reported sickness levels in resorts have remained stable and the problem is only associated with UK holidaymakers. Evidence suggests many of these claims may be exaggerated or fraudulent."

Most cases target all-inclusive resorts, with claimants saying they only ate at their hotel in a bid to identify it as the cause of their supposed food poisoning.

Tui, which owns all-inclusive specialist First Choice, recorded a 1,400% rise in claims in the last two years.

The company’s UK managing director, Nick Longman, said, "There’s a distinct risk that if this carries on as it is unabated, the hoteliers will say to us either ‘We don’t want to work with the British market at all’ or ‘We’re not going to offer you all-inclusive’."

Thomas Cook’s UK managing director, Chris Mottershead, also warned that the scam could lead to the end of such holidays. 

"It’s a very serious situation because it has the effect of stopping all-inclusive holidays for the UK market,’ he said. ‘It has the potential of putting hoteliers out of business. They will stop British customers coming into their hotels."

The call for evidence from the Ministry of Justice follows recent claims that touts are operating in popular European destinations, including Spain.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said, "Bogus claims against tour operators risk driving up the price of summer holidays abroad for hard-working families who have earned a break. We’re taking action to deter these claims, and protect holiday-makers from being ripped off."

ABTA warn, "Claims management companies can be very persuasive when encouraging people to submit an exaggerated or false claim and may make some very misleading claims, including that it is a straightforward and risk-free process. This isn’t true.

"If you put in a fraudulent or exaggerated claim for holiday sickness, you should be aware of the potential penalties. Submitting a fraudulent claim is a criminal offence in the UK, which could result in a criminal record and fine. Pursuing a fraudulent claim will also be illegal in the country where you took the holiday.

"In addition to breaking the law, there can be severe financial consequences. A Greek hotel is currently pursuing a counter-claim for £170,000 against a British couple where they have evidence which proves the couple have submitted a fraudulent claim.

Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to crackdown on the fraudulent sickness claim culture, fuelled by touts and unscrupulous claims management companies.

"We’ve worked hard to warn our customers about the risks of bringing fraudulent claims, but it’s become clear the government needs to step in, which is why this call for evidence is so important.

"Jet2holidays looks forward to providing comprehensive evidence to support the case for legal costs control in this area.

"The government needs to ensure that the new rules are enacted without delay so that British holidaymakers can continue enjoying their well-deserved holidays without the risk of being duped by these fraudsters.”

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Poll of the Week

Should Spain introduce payments for the return of plastic bottles in the war against environmental pollution?

Create UK Alert

Do you want to be the first to receive our latest news from UK? Subscribe here.

Latest Tweets

After the news that France will introduce fines for wolf whistling, should it be banned in Spain as well?
#EasyJet flight from Spain forced to make #emergency landing in UK
Duke and Duchess of #Cambridge expecting third child in April #baby
Follow Euro Weekly News on Twitter

Post Gallery

Airport strike threat in Spain called off after  unions reach deal ‘in principle’

Costa de Almeria 05– 11 October 2017 Issue 1683

WATCH: Fundraising appeal for mother and son  cancer sufferers in southern Spain

Police issue warning after thefts from British expats on Costa Blanca

Ryanair announce MASSIVE flight cancellations on routes to Spain due to French air traffic control strike

Buzz off! Tiger mosquitoes spreading on Costa del Sol

Catalan independence: Major banks and businesses move out of Barcelona

Police swoop on Marbella FC as 11 arrested in €30 million Russian mafia sting