23 Jun 2017

Bogus Holiday Food Poisoning Claimants Face Blacklisting or Legal Action

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A flood of bogus food poisoning claims from British holidaymakers has caused a backlash among travel companies and legal authorities in destination countries. The latest craze in bogus claims has been caused by a legal loophole, whereby all people need to claim is a receipt for tummy-bug medication from a chemist during the holiday.

A collaboration of travel companies, including Thomas Cook, Tui, Jet2holidays, Monarch and Saga, has called on the government to put a stop to the practise, which is thought to cost the Spanish hotel industry £50million a year.

Thomson, First Choice and Jet2 Holidays have said they will blacklist customers who file bogus sickness claims. The Spanish authorities have said they have a zero-tolerance policy for fake sickness claims, and people caught scamming could face a 3-year prison sentence.

Nick Longman – the managing director of TUI (parent company of Thomson and First Choice) – said that the number of bogus claims from UK holidaymakers had become “an embarrassment”. He said, “A hotel will have customers from four or five markets of Tui and it will only be the British Tui customers who are complaining.”

Part of the reason for the high number of claims is unscrupulous compensation ‘touts’ who are signing up holidaymakers at popular Spanish resorts. Spanish authorities have asked holidaymakers to shop these touts. ABTA, along with big travel firms, have asked the UK government to impose regulations to cap the fees on these compensation claims, to deter the companies from headhunting potential clients.

Chris Motterhead, the head of Thomas Cook, said that the fake claim culture could bring an end to all-inclusive holidays for UK citizens. “It has the potential of putting hoteliers out of business. They will stop British customers coming into their hotels.”

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