False Holiday Compensation Claims
During the summer of 2016 complaints from British tourists for alleged food poisoning in Benidorm grew alarmingly.
The amount of money lost by the hotel sector during two years was calculated at over 50 million euros as the number of claims skyrocketed to 500%
However, in 2018 the first sentences including fines and prison sentences were give out and this seems to have stopped the practice of false claims over the past year.
This is confirmed by the tourism sector who claim that "it is water under the bridge." That is to say, since the British courts began to take away the reason for these claims ie larger amounts of money, claims of this type are hardly registered in tour operators or hotels when only two years ago they were almost the order of the day. " This year we have not had one, the subject has relaxed a lot ," confirm one of the agencies.
And it is that the penalties imposed by the British courts that ranged from about 800 euros of fines and three months in prison issued to four members of a family from Liverpool for filing a false claim against the tour operator Jet2Holidays, with whom they had booked their holidays in Benidorm during the summer of 2015; Liverpool High Court sentenced each one of them to three months in prison and fined them £750 (€842) for “concocting a fake claim for gastric illness to win compensation. In another case 15,000 pounds fine was issued on two more British tourists who had to pay TUI for faking food poisoning during their stay in Benidorm trying to get the chain to compensate them.
In each case they claimed that they had suffered nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting for days and even presented medical reports. But publication on social networks showed in one of the cases photographs of the family enjoying their holiday as if nothing was wrong, this ended with a sentence against them and paying a hefty fine. The judge also also reproached them for not complaining during their stay, since the claims were filed in May 2016, approximately eight months after their vacation ended. That is, they remembered later that they had been sick on their holidays in Benidorm.
But it is not only the courts that have ended the making of false claims. The British Government also took action on the matter of these false complaints, now it would be the executive who would set the maximum amounts that each tourist can claim for a disease contracted during their holidays abroad;
Legal costs for package holiday sickness cases will be fixed under new rules aimed at deterring false claims.
Similar controls are in place for other personal injury claims, but they will now be extended to cases when holidaymakers seek compensation.
The travel industry says claims have mushroomed in recent years despite illness in resorts declining.
The government asked the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, which is responsible for setting rules on legal costs, to consider bringing package holiday claims under the same rules as personal injury claims
If the compensation amount was not so high, they might not want to file false complaints. At that time, British law did not establish any control over these amounts, so they could go to exorbitant amounts. In fact, some of the tourists who denounced a few years ago requested up to 50,000 euros of compensation after allegedly having suffered a poisoning in a hotel in Benidorm, something that was dismissed by the judge. But the tourists were not alone. At that time, companies and law firms specialized in these types of complaints known as “claim farmers” appeared and even traveled to tourist cities making money out of these false claims.
Even the UK Gov warn people against making fraudulent claims -
"There have been reports of an increase in holidaymakers being encouraged to submit a claim for personal injury if they have experienced gastric illness during their stay. 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 Spain".
Here in Span the hotel employer Hosbec placed a year ago the average of claims at 5,000 pounds, a figure that allowed tourists to recover the money invested in the trip. Since the first cases began to jump in 2016, hoteliers began to denounce this practice among tourists and Hosbec led a common front with hoteliers from other areas of the country to force the British Government to react, the promises of this change in legislation came to try to curb these false claims for poisonings.
So it seems that a year after the first convictions, British tourists no longer see these claims as a way to recover the money from their trip.
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. For information on the European Health Insurance Card EHIC