Holiday firms to blacklist Brits who fake food poisoning for compensation claims

Brits who cash in on bogus food poisoning claims abroad will be banned from travelling with package holiday giants Thompson and First Choice.

The dramatic move to blacklist families comes after the sister firms saw a dramatic 1,400% surge in the number of sickness claims since 2013.

Parent company Tui revealed it has already compiled a dossier of names and will pass them onto other tour firms as well as hotel bosses in high risk claims destinations.

Its crackdown on travellers trying to fleece holiday firms to cover the cost of their summer breaks with a raft of false tummy bug claims comes amid fears this summer will see a dodgy compo bids go through the roof.

Nick Longman, UK managing director for Tui, told trade publication Travel Weekly: “This is clearly a massive issue for us – it’s a massive issue for the industry.

Brits make bogus gastroenteritis claims after returning from popular all-inclusive breaks to hotspots such as Albufeira, Portugal

“It’s not something we could have anticipated. It’s been an absolute explosion.”

And a spokesperson told the Mirror: “Thomson and First Choice are working closely with the industry, our hotel partners and overseas authorities to fight back on these claims.

“Where we have identified fraud we will consider prosecution and we will also blacklist customers from travelling on any further holidays with us.

“We are aware of some hoteliers taking direct action against claimants and we have already seen a number of cases where the hotelier has issued court proceedings against the customer alleging fraud.”

While industry body ABTA has logged a 500% rise in holiday sickness scams in the last four years, Tui said its figure is three times higher.

A spokesperson said: “Like all travel companies we are concerned by the unprecedented increase in illness claims that we’ve seen over the past few years.

“Claims have increased by over 1,400% since 2013 and it is clear that a large number of these are dishonest. We have many cases with evidence that there was no illness, or where the symptoms or duration have been exaggerated.”

The Costa Del Sol in Spain is another claims hotspot

In addition to its unprecedented block on Brits found to have made-up food poisoning claims for cash, Britain’s biggest holiday firm is also sending out warning letters to claimants urging them not to make fake compo demands as they will face legal action.

Claims cowboys promise Brits up to £5,000 in compo but payouts are between £500-£2,000, figures from insurance specialist BLM reveal.

A Thompson and First Choice spokesperson said: “We know that unscrupulous claims management companies are encouraging fabricated claims but we doubt that they are taking any time to explain the risks.

“UK holidaymakers should understand that if they make a fraudulent claim they could face prosecution at home or overseas and have their future holiday options severely limited.”

Rival firms Thomas Cook and Jet2 are expected to follow Tui’s ban on Brits making bogus gastroenteritis claims after returning from popular all-inclusive breaks to hotspots like Spain, Turkey, Greece and Portugal.

Holidaymakers often claim they contracted food poisoning after eating from a hotel buffet

Majorca based travel website Hosteltur revealed Joan Molas, president of The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (Cehat) has fired off strongly worded letters to the bosses of Tui, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and Monarch calling for tough action against Brits who play the compo system.

Slating the “ambulance chasers” from British claims management companies as no worse than an “organised criminal network”, he threatened to cut off ties with the UK all-inclusive industry if nothing was done to clamp down on them.

The latest twist comes as one Brit was arrested at the weekend and another quizzed by Spanish police over allegations they encouraged British tourists to submit fake sickness claims by touting for business at hotels in Alcudia, Majorca.

Spain has been the biggest target for out of control compo chasers who have given Britain the “fake sick man of Europe” tag.

The Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, Costa Dorada and Benidorm have seen the highest number of scams as unscrupulous “no win – no fee” firms cash in on the lucrative sickness claims industry.

Benidorm has seen a high number of scams

Spanish hoteliers are calling for a blanket ban on millions of Brits taking all-inclusive breaks next year after bogus food poisoning claims rocketed 700% in 12 months.

According to the Hospitality Business Association of Benidorm and the Hotel Business Federation of Mallorca, Brits are fleecing the hotel industry of more than £50 million a year with dodgy gastroenteritis claims.

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

In Benidorm hotel owners have asked chemists not to sell stomach upset cures to Brits unless they have a prescription amid fears receipts will be used for over-inflated illness claims.

ABTA said holiday sickness scams were on the rise and branded them the “new PPI” and is calling on the Government to crack down on claims sharks to stop them from exploiting loopholes.

On its website the Foreign Office warns British holidaymakers of legal action if they are found to have made false claims.

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