No one likes falling ill, and when this happens on holiday it can feel a lot worse. But as you may have read in the news, the number of false sickness claims amongst British travellers has increased by 500% in the last few years (Source: ABTA).
If this increase continues, there is a risk that the cost of all inclusive holidays in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria and Turkey will increase or will no longer be available to British travellers.
This potential crackdown follows the Spanish hotel industry reporting the scams are costing hotels more than £50 million a year.
So what do you need to know about false sickness claims, what can you do to support the campaign and what should you do if you are ill on holiday?
Why has there been a rise in false sickness claims?
ABTA reports that the rise in claims is a result of promotional activity driven by claims management companies who are targeting British travellers on holiday. These companies were previously focused on other types of personal injury cases such as whiplash claims, but following a change in law in 2012/13 that reduced the number of incentives to pursue these claims by fixing legal costs, attention has shifted to holiday sickness claims.
As a result of the increase in sickness claims, the Foreign Office (FCO) has advised against travellers making false sickness claims. The warning states that holidaymakers who pursue fraudulent claims may face legal proceedings either in the UK or overseas.
What can I do to support the campaign?
If you are approached by a claims management company on holiday, the FCO advises to report the touts to your hotel manager, who will then proceed to take further action.
Also make sure your fellow holidaymakers are aware of the risks if they pursue fraudulent claims.
In the UK
To prevent the cost of all inclusive holidays rising or not being available, we need to stop the number of false sickness claims rising.
ABTA’s ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign is urging MPs to take action against the increasing number of sickness claims. The hope is to introduce new legislation that will put a cap on fees charged by law firms, similar to how false whiplash claims were stopped in 2012/13.
To support the campaign to save the holiday you love, we ask that you e-mail your MP and to pledge your support to ABTA’s ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign. Please visit www.stopsicknessscams.com for further information.
What should I do if I fall ill on holiday?
We understand people can fall ill on holiday and when this happens, it is important you let the hotel staff know, so they can provide advice and assistance.
Also, do let us know. Our in-resort team can be reached on 0208 974 7200 (option 2) and they can provide guidance on what to do and where to go. And if you wish to make a complaint, we will investigate your case and assist to reach a suitable outcome, as deemed by ABTA.