ABTA: Holidaymakers at risk of criminal record through fake sickness claims

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UK holidaymakers could face substantial fines and a criminal record if they are found to have made false or exaggerated holiday sickness claims.

That is the warning from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) which has advised British travellers to be aware of unscrupulous claims firms contacting them after their holiday. The organisation stated that these touts target holidaymakers by cold-calling or through social media promising large compensation pay-outs if they make a holiday sickness claim.

Often companies will suggest that holidaymakers are “entitled” to compensation and that the government has money set aside to deal with claims of this ilk. However, ABTA stresses that no such fund exists and it is illegal to a fraudulent claim.

The group states that if holidaymakers are believed to be conducting this activity they could face a major and be given a criminal record. ABTA’s ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign is designed to combat this problematic trend across the travel industry.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “Holidaymakers need to understand that making a fraudulent claim will have consequences. People tempted to fabricate holiday sickness in order to make a claim, should be aware that this is a crime and that they risk ending up in jail either in the UK or abroad.

“People should be very wary of any company that approaches them and encourages them to make a dishonest or exaggerated claim. Whatever a claims firm might say, fake claims are fraud.”

Holiday sickness claims have become a major issue within recent years as touts exploit a loophole in regulation to gain compensation. In the past year alone, the trend has cost Majorcan hotels £42 million and ABTA warns that if it continues it could result in a significant hike in the cost of holidays for Brits.

ABTA states that if holidaymakers are contacted by these firms and are encouraged to make a fake or exaggerated claim they should report the company to the Claims Management Regulator. The organisation also urges them to warn other holidaymakers against the dangers of these touts.

If they are genuinely sick from food poisoning as a result of eating from their hotel they should contact their hotel and tour operator immediately.

Read more from ABTA here – https://abta.com/about-us/press/abta-warns-returning-holidaymakers-to-beware-fake-sickness-claims