31 Aug

ABTA continues fight to stop sickness scams

As millions of holidaymakers return to the UK with the school holidays drawing to a close, some unscrupulous Claims Management Companies (CMCs) will be ramping up their activities on social media and cold-calling members of the public, encouraging them to submit false or exaggerated holiday sickness claims. This week, we issued a press release which achieved widespread coverage in the national media, warning holidaymakers about the very real possibility of prosecution, either in the UK or overseas, if they were to pursue such a claim.

ABTA believes that it is wrong for companies to cold-call people and encourage them to make compensation claims that cannot be justified. We know that people dislike these calls and are being lured into making false claims by persistent and aggressive callers, and we think that action against this practice needs to be taken urgently. We have an opportunity to change the law as the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, which deals with the regulation of CMCs, is currently before Parliament and is being debated in the House of Lords in September. ABTA thinks a cold-calling ban will help both the travel industry and customers, who are often unaware that making a fake claim is fraud. Importantly, legitimate sickness claims - and we know they exist - will still have a right of redress, but targeting holidaymakers with aggressive tactics should not be allowed. Over the coming months, ABTA will be lobbying MPs, Peers and Government Ministers to try and bring about this change, and others necessary for a long-term solution. We will also continue to work with regulators, and I was delighted to see the Claims Management Regulator announce this week that a CMC called Allsure Ltd had been stripped of its licence for encouraging holidaymakers to make false claims. We hope the Regulator’s investigations will result in similar action against other firms who are doing the same.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive