Govt targets cold-calling companies in fake holiday sickness claims crackdown

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The government is tightening its grip on those responsible for facilitating fake holiday sickness claims as part of its crackdown.

Members of the House of Lords backed a cross-party amendment which will place a ban on cold-calling by claims management companies (CMCs). The ruling will apply to the claims industry and cover Whiplash, PPI alongside holiday sickness. Lords believe this ban will help to reduce the likeliness of holidaymakers being persuaded to make fake claims about being ill while abroad.

The amendment was backed by the Lords with a majority of 48, with 253 voting in favour and 205 voting against. The vote was labelled as an “embarrassing defeat” for the Conservative government by tabloid newspapers but welcomed by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) which has been fighting hard to prevent the rise in fake holiday sickness claims.

Following the vote, Liberal Democrat Lords leader Dick Newby was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying: “Liberal Democrats are delighted that the government has had to accept our amendment on this vital issue. Cold-calling is a scourge of modern society and companies flogging financial services often prey on the most vulnerable.

“This move is another step towards ending the menace of cold-calling once and for all.”

The decision was championed by ABTA which saw it is as another commendation of its lobbying work to tackle this heightening issue within the travel industry. Since 2013, ABTA has noted a 500% rise in the amount of holiday sickness claims despite there being little to no change in recorded incidents of gastric illness.

ABTA said in a statement: “ABTA has always held the view that it is wrong for companies to cold-call people and encourage them to make compensation claims that cannot be justified whether for whiplash or holiday sickness.

“We know that people dislike these calls and some are being encouraged to make false claims, often without realising that by doing so they are committing a crime which could have serious consequences. It is very encouraging to see this commitment from the government and we look forward to its speedy implementation.”

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