21 Jun

ABTA calls on trade to back its campaign to stamp out false holiday sickness claims

Launches “Stop Sickness Scams” with support of Members

Today ABTA launches its political and consumer-facing campaign, “Stop Sickness Scams”, with the support of its Members and partners from across the travel industry. Stop Sickness Scams calls on the new Government to crack down on fake holiday sickness claims and warns holidaymakers about the consequences of making a false claim.

ABTA and its Members have been working with Ministry of Justice officials for several months, sharing claims data and asking for regulatory change to address the loophole that has left travel companies vulnerable to spurious sickness claims. With a new Justice Secretary now in post and with Claims Management Companies increasing marketing ahead of the main summer season, ABTA is stepping up its lobbying and consumer-facing activity.

A letter signed by ABTA Members presented to the new Justice Secretary, David Lidington, kick-starts the campaign. The letter requests a meeting with the new Justice Secretary and reiterates the industry’s call for the loophole in the law to be addressed, which would bring holiday sickness claims within a fixed recoverable costs regime. Next week ABTA will also be asking travel industry businesses and members of the public to email their MPs about this issue. ABTA is developing a shareable online tool to enable people to easily and quickly raise this issue with their local MP.

Alongside the lobbying arm of the campaign there will be multi-channel consumer activity, including a dedicated hub on abta.com/stopsicknessscams and a digital advertising campaign directly targeting people considering making a claim. 

ABTA is encouraging its Members to support the campaign on social media by sharing materials and using #StopSicknessScams to counteract the highly misleading advertising of unscrupulous Claims Management Companies, which are spending heavily on social and mainstream media ahead of the main summer season.

Campaign supporters include destination partners and ABTA Members, including Balkan Holidays, Thomas Cook, TUI, Jet2holidays and Monarch.   

The campaign is leading with a number of calls to action aimed at the travelling public. These are to:

  • Report touts in resorts to your hotel manager and/or tour operator.
  • Warn other holidaymakers if you see touts about and let your friends and family know about the problem.
  • If you are cold-called and encouraged to make a fake holiday sickness claim, report the company to the Claims Management Regulator. Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-claims-company
  • If you are aware of a fake holiday sickness claim, report it to Action Fraud
  • If you believe you have experienced food poisoning as a result of eating in your hotel, contact your hotel or tour operator immediately in resort.  Claims companies will take a hefty slice of any compensation awarded.
  • If you aren’t satisfied with the response you get from your travel company, you can pursue your case through ABTA’s independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme or through the small claims court.

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “I strongly urge everyone in the industry to get behind our “Stop Sickness Scams” campaign. The public need to know the truth behind the highly misleading marketing tactics used by unscrupulous Claims Management companies whose activities are causing so much damage. Share our social media messaging, our videos and the information on abta.com/stopsicknessscams.”