WE all love a cheap holiday, and in Ireland there is one company who are making strenuous efforts to help Irish tourists get away on wonderful holidays. But there are some people who are doing their best to scam holiday companies and making false claims for sickness whilst on holiday.

These “low lifers” are making a mockery of the claim system and harming the holiday industry.

I’m delighted to say that the holiday companies are fighting back and recently I read on Travel mole, a Travel journalists resource, that Jet2holidays are now hiring private detectives in resorts to stop touts coaxing holidaymakers into making false sickness claims.

The move comes after a dramatic rise in the number of fraudulent claims being made by British holidaymakers abroad.

The trend has led to Spanish hoteliers threatening to scrap all-inclusive packages or to ban British holidaymakers altogether.

Spanish hoteliers told Travel Mole that fraudulent sickness claims from mainly British holidaymakers was costing them more than €60 million a year.

Jet2holidays said their private detectives will act on customer tip-offs and will report any activity to the tour operator and to local police.

According to hoteliers, touts and claims companies have been brazenly handing out leaflets in resort telling British holidaymakers they can cover the cost of their trip by just filling out a form and buying a packet of diarrhoea tablets while away.

The Foreign Office has already updated its travel advice to Spain to highlight the issue.

It warns holidaymakers that making a false or fraudulent claim could lead to legal proceedings in the UK or Spain.

“The net really is tightening on this dishonest and deceitful practice, and we will not relent until these touts stop trying to take advantage of British holidaymakers,” said Jet2holidays.

Even ABTA is calling on agents and operators to back their fight to stop a sharp rise in sickness claims by holidaymakers.

It wants members to share their own experiences and provide evidence of the problem, which they say has escalated in recent years.

ABTA believes the rise in claims coincided with changes in the law in 2012 which limits legal costs in other sectors, such as motor insurance, which has made cases like whiplash claims less profitable for claims companies.

Instead, these companies have turned their efforts to holiday sickness claims as a way of making money.

ABTA has raised its concerns with the Ministry of Justice and is speaking to authorities in Spain, where hoteliers have also identified a rise in claims and believe many of them are false, particularly where customers involved have not reported any illness or sought medical attention whilst in resort.

“We are now asking the Government to change the law that allows these firms to profit disproportionately from such claims,” said ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer.

“We have called on the Government to increase the Small Claims Track limit from £1,000 to £5,000. Later this month, we will also submit evidence to Lord Justice Jackson to call for overseas accidents to be processed under the same fixed costs regime that already applies to other personal injury claims with a value up to £25,000.”

ABTA is also developing an ADR scheme for personal injury to allow customers to process their complaints through the association. (Alternative Dispute Resoloution)

Tanzer said this is more cost effective for both the customer and the ABTA Member.

“The meetings we have had so far with the Ministry of Justice have been positive and they recognise this as an issue for the industry and the public. We will continue to work proactively with the policymakers and regulators, sharing intelligence and data to support the industry’s case for change.”


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