A British holidaymaker could face criminal proceedings after being found to have made false sickness claims while abroad.
Tom Oakey claimed to have been bed-ridden after being struck down with food poisoning during a stay at a 5-star hotel in Bulgaria in July 2015. However, investigators discovered a series of pictures on social media of Mr Oakey and his partner Claire Fursey eating and drinking at the hotel at the time he claimed to have been ill.
He also boasted on both his and his partner’s social media accounts of an “amazing” holiday during the time away and upon his return. Despite this he lodged a complaint with tour operator TUI that the Hotel Helena Park in Sunny Beach had poor food and hygiene which had caused diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.
Mr Oakey’s £2,500 claim was dismissed by a judge at Northamptonshire County Court and he was ordered to pay TUI £9,000 costs. In his ruling, deputy district judge John Josephs asked police to look into whether the claim warranted a criminal investigation, according to reports by MailOnline.
Andrew Flintham, TUI UK managing director, said: “Not only has Mr Oakey been found to be fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay our costs but, in a new move, the court has also referred the matter to police for them to make any inquiries about any criminal offences which may have been committed.
“We hope that this sends out a clear message to anyone else considering making fraudulent sickness claims.”
This case further highlights the travel industry’s crackdown on holiday sickness claims. The Travel Association (ABTA) highlighted in the past three years that the number of these claims has jumped by 500% and continues to harm both holidaymakers and the travel industry.
The organisation’s Stop Sickness Scams campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue and warn British holidaymakers of the dangers they risk when lodging a complaint of this ilk.
Find out more about ABTA’s Stop Sickness Scams campaign here – https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/staying-safe-on-holiday/stop-sickness-scams-and-what-do-when-you-have-genuine-claim