04 Jun

ABTA warns families returning home this half term to be wary making bogus holiday sickness claims

Calls on all political parties to tackle shady claims companies

With many families returning home from holiday this half term ABTA is urging them to heed warnings from the Foreign Office to be wary of holiday sickness claims companies cold-calling them for business.

Families should be wise to the actions of someunscrupulous Claims Management Companies (CMCs). These companies target holidaymakers who have been onpackage holidays overseas and encourage them to make bogus sickness claims. Some of these companies employ touts in resort to approach holidaymakers but the most common tactic they use is cold-call holidaymakers on their return to tell them they are “entitled” to thousands of pounds of compensation. They then coach people as to what to say in order to make a claim. CMCs do not mention that holidaymakers would be risking a criminal record, fine or time in jail if they submit an exaggerated or false holiday sickness claim. Holidaymakers may also face prosecution in the country where the holiday took place. 

Hotels and tour operators are aware of the tactics these companies are employing and are set to challenge any claims that show signs of being fraudulent or exaggerated. It was recently reported in the Spanish press that Spanish hotels will take legal action against any holidaymakers who make fraudulent claims for holiday sickness and a Greek hotel has launched a claim for £170,000 against a British couple who they believe are pursuing a false holiday sickness claim. 

ABTA is calling on all political parties to follow the lead of the Conservative party in calling for a ban on claims companies cold-calling for personal injury claims. The party has pledged in its manifesto to consider outlawingCMCs from cold-calling members of the public and encouraging them to make false claims. Along with social media, cold calling is one of the claims companies’ main strategies for encouraging bogus claims once people have returned to the UK.   

Cracking down on the unscrupulous practices of claims firms is one of ABTA’s critical asks for the new Government and an issue ABTA has highlighted to all the General Election candidates via the #ValueTourism campaign. The travel and tourism industry performs a vital role in the UK economy contributing £127 billion to the UK economy a year and employing 3 million people across the country. The practices of some claims companies are already costing the industry significant sums of money,raising the prospect of higher holiday prices and putting revenue and jobs at risk. 

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “Members of the public who are duped into presenting bogus claims, are unwittingly risking a criminal record or worse, both in the UK and overseas. Unscrupulous claims management companies need to be stopped in their tracks and whoever forms the next Government must make this a priority. A ban on cold calling would be one positive step and we also need the Ministry of Justice to close loopholes in the law to make it harder for these companies to profit from fraudulent claims.”

How to report a CMC 

If you think you have received an unsolicited call from a CMC persuading you to make a fraudulent holiday sickness claim, you can report them to the Claims Management Regulator. Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-claims-company

If you are on holiday and are approached by a CMC tout letyour tour operator and the hotel staff know so they can take appropriate action. 

4 June 2017