Saturday 13 May 2017

British Holiday Lovers Making Money Over Bogus 'Food Poisoning' Can Now Be Proscecuted

food poisoning

Millions of Brits planning a holiday to Portugal are being warned of legal action if they are rumbled over bogus food poisoning claims.

The popular sunshine destination is also being targeted, along with Spain, by unscrupulous insurance claims cowboys who promise families thousands in compensation.

The Foreign Office has issued a stark warning after The Mirror revealed Brits face a ban from all inclusive breaks in Spain following a 700% surge in dodgy claims for gastroenteritis in the past year.

It has added Portugal to Spain on its online travel advice section which states: “You should only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness.

“If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Portugal.”

More than two million Brits will head to Portugal and 18 million are expected to travel to Spain this year.

Industry travel body ABTA urged holidaymakers to steer clear of “ambulance chasers” who tout for business at popular resorts, bars and beaches and promise Brits up to £5,000 in compo in no-win, no fee deals.

ABTA said: “These bogus claims are costing tour operators and hotels substantial amounts of money and if this practice continues it may well start to have an impact on holiday prices.

"It is already damaging the reputation of UK holidaymakers overseas.”

Spanish hotel bosses have called for a ban next year on Brits taking all-inclusive breaks after bogus sickness claims from the UK rocketed costing the industry £50 million in payouts in a year.

Hoteliers in Benidorm have asked chemists not to sell any sort of tummy upset cures to Brits unless they have a prescription ahead of the summer rush.

As the law stands, holidaymakers just need a receipt for a gastroenteritis product to file a claim once they are back home.

And in a bid to crack down on the holiday compo culture dubbed “the new PPI”, online travel firm Jet2holidays has hired a team of undercover detectives to patrol Spanish hotspots including the Costa del Sol, Majorca and Tenerife to catch the cowboy claims management companies drumming up trade.

Research by insurance specialist BLM found claims management companies promise Brits up to £5,000 in compo but payouts are between £500-£2,000.

And it revealed Brits are also being targeted when they return home with a barrage of phone calls.

ABTA is now calling on the next Government to close loopholes that allow personal injury firms to charge up to £25,000 for overseas claims and cap the fees in line with UK claims.

A spokesperson said: “Data from ABTA members has shown a dramatic rise in the number of gastric illness claims made since 2013, while sickness levels reported in resort have remained stable.

“ABTA has been calling for the Government to take further swift and decisive action to close legal loopholes that are being ruthlessly exploited by claims management companies.”



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