ITV’S documentary Britain’s Claim Culture – Revealed has delved into the true scale of bogus holiday sickness claims
SPANISH hotels are BANNING Brit holidaymakers because of our shocking claim culture – an ITV investigation has found.
The Tonight programme has delved into the scale of bogus sickness claims on a one-off show called Britain's Claim Culture – Revealed.
On the show, Tonight spoke to Brits who genuinely fell ill on holiday – as well as travel and fraud experts.
And they discovered that some Spanish hotel owners have been forced to ban British tourists because they claim so often.
President of the Mallorcan Hotel Federation Inma De Benito revealed that some owners have given up completely on ‘the British market’.
She told the cameras: “They continue working with the same tour operator but with other markets, because they don’t want to get this problem.
"It’s very difficult to stop. It’s a very big market for us. Not only for Majorca, for Spain."
Tour operators have reported a 500 per cent increase in claims over the last three years, especially in those concerning all-inclusive holidays.
These claims total millions of pounds, and one company has seen claims rise by a staggering 1,000 per cent.
ITV's cameras even exposed touts who were approaching tourists in Spain – claiming all they needed to do to get compensation was buy diarrhoea relief medication.
Inma added: "What the do is to send this client data to the lawyers. They then send a letter to the tour operators with the claim, and then get the money from the hotelier."
The programme also explored the case of Michael McIntyre and Julie Lavelle, who demanded £10,000 in compensation after "falling ill" in Gran Canaria.
Thomas Cook challenged the couple, after discovering that Michael had filled in a survey on the way home – rating most parts of his trip either 'excellent' or 'good'.
The couple also went back to work the day after arriving back in England.
In July, a judge in Liverpool found their claim to be ‘fundamentally dishonest’ and made them pay £3,700 in court costs.
Chris Mottershead, managing director of Thomas Cook, said: "We weren’t prosecuting these people, we were defending ourselves, we had strong evidence.
"These were unconfirmed illnesses – they were not ill in the first place and we had evidence to prove that and I’m happy to say that we won that case.
"If you are ill contact us. We have 2,000 people in resort who are there to make sure our customers have the very best experience"
Of the temptation to make false claims, he added: "Our message is don't do it. If you're ill, contact us. But really, don't do it.
"This is fraudulent, it's illegal and unfortunately, you could end up with either a very large cost or even a potential jail sentence."
But Richard Conroy, who set up sickholiday.com, insists the increase in claims is genuine – and comes because people now know they can claim for food poisoning.
His website aims to help people who have genuinely become ill on holiday.
Richard said: "We’ve seen 1,800 cases from Majorca. Nearly half the cases have come from just three or four hotels.
"When you interview the people, they talk about lukewarm food."
ITV understands that the government is set to ask tour operators and lawyers to lay out their evidence of bogus holiday sickness complaints.
Britain's Claim Culture was on ITV1 at 7.30pm today. You can catch it on the ITV Hub.