If you have switched on the national news recently, you may well have seen first-hand evidence of an unscrupulous tout coaching holidaymakers how to make a false sickness claim.
One of our private investigators obtained this footage in Benidorm last year and it is both damning and disturbing. Despite very clearly stating that they have not been ill, the holidaymakers are told that they can claim up to £3,000. They are told they can do this by engaging in fraud.
What they are not told, of course, is that this practice is illegal and could lead to serious legal consequences.
Like other tour operators across the UK, we have seen a sharp rise in claims made for gastric illness, with no corresponding increase in the levels of reported illness amongst holiday makers.
This has coincided with an increase in the activities of touts and claims management companies (CMCs), both in resort and in the UK, who are advising customers that merely by taking a holiday on an all-inclusive basis, they can claim illness and receive compensation. The activity seen in the footage is not isolated.
This is why we are campaigning to raise awareness of the issue amongst our customers so that they are not fooled by these fraudsters. As the stark warning at the end of the news report says, those who get lured into this sickness scam could find the destination that their holiday leads to is prison. We are investing heavily in measures to protect customers and stop CMCs coercing holidaymakers into making fraudulent claims. This includes:
- Investing in more staff in resorts to watch out for touts and to encourage customers to report suspicious behaviour.
- Working with private investigators, who are travelling to our main holiday destinations during the summer, looking out for touts and Claims Management Companies (CMC’s) attempting to lure holidaymakers into making false claims. They will be acting on customer tip-offs too. These private detectives have been tasked to report such activity to the local police, who we are also taking this issue very seriously
- Working in close co-operation with various authorities to help stamp this activity out
- Setting up meetings between officials and authorities from overseas and the UK to better share intelligence on individuals engaged in touting and creating false sickness claims, making it easier to take criminal action against touts and to enforce severe sanctions against companies involved in such activity.
- Investigating all claims thoroughly, including examining activities undertaken by claimants during their holidays
We are delighted to see the media highlighting this issue and educating holidaymakers about the possible consequences of being lured into committing this fraud. There is real momentum behind the campaign to stamp this activity out, and Jet2holidays is proud to be at the forefront of it.