With more and more UK holidaymakers coming forward and reporting issues of holiday sickness, accidents and negligence whilst on holiday throughout 2016,the UK holiday industry has come under the spotlight recently, amid fears of neglect from many of the major tour operators. With record numbers of claims being brought forward from travellers coming back off their holidays, the question of: “who’s responsible?” keeps cropping up. Amid growing ‘concerns’ of claims management companies ‘encouraging’ clients to claim, and Tour Operators stating a lot of these claims are fraudulent, is it really because UK consumers are now more aware of their rights to make a claim which were not previously known? And claims management companies merely advertise and make people aware of their rights to claim!. It also bears the question of “who is best to suited to handle your case?” and should there be a claim of neglect aimed at the tour operator, or penalties by the industry regulator and tell tour operators to sort their act out.
NHS Scotland Warning
This summer has seen one of the biggest outbreaks of holiday related food poisoning amongst brits abroad. Over 200 British holiday makers have fallen sick whilst holidaying in the Riviera Maya area of Cancun, Mexico. This has prompted NHS Scotland to highlight holiday sickness as a major concern and warn holidaymakers travelling throughout affected areas to take extra care.
This is just one of many package holiday resorts which has suffered from an outbreak of holiday related food poisoning. Back in 2014 travel giant First Choice holidays were ordered to pay out over £1.7 million to 595 holidaymakers who had been struck down with holiday related illness at the Sarigerme holiday village resort in turkey.
No country or resort seems to be excluded. Food borne illness is a major concern as hotels across Europe are not closely regulated and monitored the same way as they are in the UK, leaving health and hygiene as a second behind money and profit.
Tour Operators: The Truth
Despite warnings from NHS Scotland, many of the leading tour operators would have you believe that these cases have nothing to do with them. Take the case of Debbie Middleton from Aberdeen for example. She contacted her tour operator First Choice Holidays, to complain about the illness her daughter contracted whilst staying at the Holiday Village Resort, Algarve. This case was bluntly rejected by the tour operator themselves, which then prompted Debbie to get in touch with a specialist holiday illness solicitors. When the case was heard in court it was deemed that First Choice were responsible for illness, which then resulted in Debbie and her family being awarded £6,900 in compensation.
The same story right across the UK, with an estimated 40,000 holiday sickness claims being processed in 2016, with a larger proportion of these being for cases of holiday sickness through late 2014 and 2015 as the claimant has 3 years to make a claim before being time barred.
Claims Management Companies: The Truth
Many tour operators including Jet 2 Holidays have highlighted the growing emergence of holiday related claims management companies as an issue threatening the UK holiday industry. It was only a number of weeks ago that claims firm‘Holiday Sickness Specialists’ and ‘Claim 4 Holiday Illness’ were exposed as encouraging potential clients to exaggerate the truth when submitting a claim for holiday sickness compensation. This exposure is in addition to the ambulance like van which is being driven around many popular European destinations, complete with details on how to make an illness claim. These under hand tactics are blatant attempts at encouraging clients to make claims for very minor symptoms, and this type of behaviour will happen until the regulators catch up with them as they have done rather quickly in these circumstances.
A popular choice for UK consumers to turn to is Holiday Sickness Claims, a trading style of Claims Legal, who operate in several legal areas including holiday sickness claims. Alan Hoey, Managing Director said that consumers and the whole industry have a part to play in reporting dodgy claims practices and those who do so should be dealt with severely. Holiday sickness is a real issue and a holiday is something many families save up hard and long for and pay out thousands of pounds for, and if it is ruined by sickness caused by the hotel, not only has the holiday been ruined, it is usually a very stressful time, and often illness can be serious, and affect more than one of a group directly, and affect the whole holiday group indirectly. It is a real big issue. Families who go abroad and almost all the group get ill, can you imagine the nightmare feeling of being abroad – it must be absolutely scary!
When claimants come home and tell us their story a lot of the time we are amazed at what we hear and see. A lot of claimants do make notes and take photographs, and visit a pharmacy and doctors while abroad or immediately on return to the UK. Many tell us they tried to report the sickness but hotels and tour reps on site just aren’t interested, there’s no formal procedures in place to record and support those affected, and holiday makers are left to their own devices to seek medical assistance – and pay for it!
So who can I trust to provide a trustworthy and ethical service?
Unfortunately when approaching your tour operator directly, they have been known to “fob people off” and claim no negligence. If Debbie Middleton would have taken First Choice Holidays word for it, she would never of had justice for her family and certainly wouldn’t have received the £6,900 compensation pay-out which was awarded to her.
Many consumers think they are dealing with a Claims Management Company when they may be dealing with a call centre who by all accounts, may not be regulated and licensed by the claims management regulator, who impose strict rules within the industry. Consumers are always advised to ask the full name and address of the company and ask if they are regulated?
Claims management companies generally do a lot of marketing and have simpler brands that consumers can associate with and feels an easier route that going directly to a solicitor. Claims Legal have a large panel of specialist solicitors who operate No Win No Fee, and different solicitor firms have different claim criteria, so a claimants profile for claiming can be matched to a specialist solicitor without the need to search around.
So who can I turn to then?
As these type of cases can be very lengthy and require expert legal advice, using a long established trustworthy solicitor that specialises in the holiday sickness sector can provide you with the required level of assistance.
Using a claims management firm like Holiday Sickness Claims can also offer simple and straight forward advice and give you information about the process and eligibility to claim, and in turn peace of mind. Offering a free and fast service to review and recommend a specialist solicitor and provide you their details whilst making sure you have all the information to hand, it’s a great way of understanding the whole process in simple terms. Claims management companies must conduct due diligence on solicitor firms and listen to client feedback, so when they recommend a firm, you should be in good hands. And more over, you have no obligation to proceed even after you’ve spoken to a solicitor firm. You need to sign a written instruction before they start working for you, and will send you their No Win No Fee agreement to read and sign before they start.
Holiday Sickness Claims is a trading style of Claims Legal Ltd. UK Company 07377456
Registered Office: 93A Windsor Road Prestwich Manchester M25 0DB. Telephone: 0800-8-654321
Claims Legal Ltd is regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities. CRM25925