Economy

Compensation claims for holiday sickness skyrocket

Compensation claims for holiday sickness skyrocket

They will stop British customers coming'.

The problem particularly affects all-inclusive resorts because the claimants can insist that they did not eat anywhere else.

Yesterday Nick Longman, managing director of Tui - the parent company of Thomson and First Choice - said the flood of dodgy compensation claims from the United Kingdom had become "totally embarrassing".

Industry body Abta said claims - typically worth £3,000 to £5,000 - have increased more than 500 per cent since 2013, while a report estimated that £42million had been "fleeced" by Britons in 18 months.

One well-publicised case involves a British couple said to be at risk of losing their home after a Greek resort hotel brought a £170,000 counter claim against them after making a food poisoning allegation that was later withdrawn.

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Travellers who are scamming the system could be putting the future of all-inclusive tours at risk, with some tour operators saying they will stop doing these types of tours all together if the drama continues.

Travel agency Tui's United Kingdom managing director Nick Longman told the Press Association the situation was totally embarrassing.

He said: "It's a very serious situation because it has the effect of stopping all-inclusive holidays for the United Kingdom market".

Thomas Cook boss Chris Mottershead said of the apparent scamming that: "It's a very serious situation because it has the effect of stopping all-inclusive holidays for the United Kingdom market".

"A hotel will have customers from four or five markets of Tui and it will only be the British Tui customers who are complaining".

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He added that tourists chasing false or exaggerated claims "risk ending up in jail either in the United Kingdom or abroad".

It says legislation created to halt the surge in fraudulent whiplash claims by motorists by imposing a cap on the legal fees that can be charged by law firms pursuing personal injury cases has fuelled the rise in travel sickness reports as it does not apply to incidents overseas.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: "Holidaymakers need to know that whatever a claims firm might say, fake claims are fraud". This adds a substantial cost to tour operators, insurance companies and overseas hotels, says ABTA.

"The legal loophole that is allowing firms to unduly profit from these claims must be closed".

A 2016 survey of holidaymakers by YouGov for law firm BLM found that 46% of people thought it was acceptable to make an insurance claim for food poisoning, even if they were unsure about the cause of their illness.

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Professor Jaime Campaner Muñoz, a solicitor representing a hotel association in Majorca, which has been singled out as a hotbed of false claims, said hoteliers will seek convictions against anyone involved in fraudulent claims.


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