Fraudulent Food Poisoning Claims Hit UK Travel Industry

The UK government has launched a major crackdown on fake food poisoning claims after a number of shocking fraud cases were exposed
July 19, 2017

The UK government has launched a major crackdown on fake holiday food poisoning claims after a number of shocking fraud cases came to light in recent months.

One family from Liverpool are even facing jail time after allegedly submitting fake claims amounting to A$87,000 for food-related sickness during a family holiday in Majorca, Spain. If found guilty they could face between 18 months and 6 years in jail.

Fake food poisoning claims are an increasing problem for travel insurance companies. UK-based company Thompson has reported a 1400 percent increase in food poisoning related claims since 2013. In the past year alone, tens of thousands of claims have been made for amounts ranging from A$5000 to A$8400. Travel firm Tui has reported a 15-fold increase in the same period.

Travel agents’ association, ABTA, reports that many of these claims are being encouraged by unscrupulous companies who approach holidaymakers at the resorts or shortly after their return home and encourage them to make a claim against the tour operator. 

Law firm BLM reports that as many as five percents of holidaymakers at all-inclusive resorts are approached in this way. All-inclusive resorts are a particularly easy target as it’s easier to successfully claim compensation from a resort where the holidaymaker consumed all of their food during the trip period. ABTA has launched a ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign to try and stop this fraudulent practice.

The problem is so bad that some holiday regions are hiring private detectives to try and solve the issue. Evidence provided so far has shown hundreds of fake reports have been made, including that of a 38-year-old bodybuilder who claimed to have missed 19 out of 21 days of his holiday due to food poisoning - only later to post numerous photos of himself on Facebook eating steak, sushi and ice cream and participating in a number of holiday activities.

The Ministry of Justice in the UK is cracking down on the practice with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson sarcastically commenting that the digestive systems of British people have ‘become the most delicate in the world.’

Justice Secretary David Lidington said, “Our message to those who make false holiday sickness claims is clear - your actions are damaging and will not be tolerated. We are addressing this issue and will continue to explore further steps we can take. This government is absolutely determined to tackle the compensation culture which has penalized the honest majority for too long.”