ABTA warns holidaymakers of false sickness claims

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Summer is here again and while the UK experiences the longest heatwave for decades, millions of Brits will be jetting off on their holidays.

It is an exciting time of the year and one that we look forward to during those cold winter months but The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is warning holidaymakers to be wary of individuals or companies encouraging them to make exaggerated or false holiday sickness claims. It is part of the organisation’s ongoing Stop Sickness Scams campaign.

ABTA estimates that around five million people will travel on All Inclusive holidays this summer and it has highlighted these packages as being the prime target of unscrupulous Claims Management Companies (CMCs). Holidaymakers can be contacted either during their stay or when they return home by CMCs claiming they can secure compensation by submitting a sickness claim.

It is an issue that has been plaguing the travel industry for a number of years with ABTA revealing that between 2013 and 2016 there was a 500% rise in holiday sickness claims. However, the government has started to clamp down on the practice with a number of high profile cases resulting in substantial fines and even prison sentences for the claimants.   

ABTA has stressed the harsh penalties that holidaymakers could face if they are found guilty of submitting these claims. It added that its research showed that 70% of people didn’t realise that submitting a claim could result in a prison sentence while just 38% think they could receive a fine in the UK or abroad.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “Anyone making a false sickness claim runs the risk of a criminal record, substantial fine or a custodial sentence.

“Judges are now sending out a very clear message that they will severely punish anyone found guilty of submitting an exaggerated or false claim. If you do legitimately fall ill on holiday, contact your rep or the hotel management who will help you obtain medical assistance.”

While the government has pledged to introduce a ban on cold calling by CMCs about sickness claims, it will not come into force until April 2019 and ABTA is advising holidaymakers to be vigilant if they receive calls out of the blue.

Read more about this here – https://abta.com/about-us/press/abta-warns-summer-holidaymakers-to-beware-of-false-sickness-claims

Read more about ABTA’s Stop Sickness Scams campaign here – https://abta.com/tips-and-latest/abta-campaigns/holiday-sickness