False Sickness Claims - Beware of the Touts
The number of false holiday sickness claims against travel companies in recent years has gone through the roof. ABTA has reported that in 2016 there were more than 35,000 claims. One reason for the massive increase is that some claims handling companies have been seen to be touting at the top travel resorts.
Touts approach holidaymakers to let them know that they can be quids in if they fake a sicky and make a claim to the tour operator. The claims handling company, of course, get a commission for processing the claim and following it up till payout is complete. So you can see where this leading to, you guessed it, big business. Claims handling companies make millions of pounds a year processing these claims, but some have resorted to these more fraudulent tactics.
The thing is, it's not the claims handling company that is found at fault if the case turns out to be fraudulent, it's the claimant.
In 2017, travel companies and tour operators put measures in place to uncover the touts and the companies they represent to bring control to a situation very much out of control. At the same time, ABTA has been lobbying the UK government for changes to the law and to close the loopholes that encourage these fake claims.
In previous years, tour operators would have caved and paid out some compensation rather than take the case to court, the reason for this is there were no limits on the amount that could be awarded to the claimants. However, recent changes in the law have made it more economical for tour operators to take these claims to court. New limits have been put in place that governs the amount of that can be claimed.
In 2017 Thomas Cook challenged a couple from Liverpool on this very subject who were claiming damages of £20,000, because sickness had ruined their holiday.
In a landslide result, Thomas Cook won the case against Mr and Mrs Roberts and the QC found them guilty of fraud of which Mr Roberts was sentenced to 15 months in Jail. Investigators had uncovered evidence that the couple had been seen to have had the holiday of a lifetime a very different view from the one being told in court.
This article should serve as a warning to anyone who is or has been considering making such a false claim with the assistance from claims handling companies.
If you have been contacted by an individual or a company to make such a claim, report it immediately to Action Fraud 0330-123-2040