Brits de­tained in fake com­pen­sa­tion raids

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

By Dave Jamieson IN THE big­gest crack­down so far against fake hol­i­day com­pen­sa­tion claims, seven Britons have been ar­rested fol­low­ing a month-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Mal­lorca.

Guardia Civil of­fi­cers raided six homes and two com­mer­cial premises in Palma and Calvía last week and de­tained a gang sus­pected of mas­ter­mind­ing fraud­u­lent food poi­son­ing claims made by Bri­tish tourists.

The tourism sec­tor on Mal­lorca es­ti­mates that it has lost €50 mil­lion from UK tour op­er­a­tors who deduct any com­pen­sa­tion paid to claimants from the amount they pay to the ho­tel in which they stayed.

The gang is un­der­stood to have op­er­ated on other hol­i­day is­lands as well.

The sus­pects are also said to have em­ployed agents to sign up hol­i­day­mak­ers in re­sorts, ex­plain­ing how to make a claim for food poi­son­ing when they re­turned home.

The Span­ish tourism in­dus­try has called for the UK to tighten the pro­ce­dure which, at present, ac­cepts a re­ceipt from a phar­macy as ev­i­dence of ill­ness, and which ac­cepts claims up to three years af­ter an al­leged in­ci­dent.

Last Thurs­day, Madrid’s del­e­gate to the Balearic Is­lands said the num­ber of such claims made in 2015 to­talled 160, re­sult­ing in €3.3 mil­lion de­ducted from hote­liers' fees. By 2016, there were al­most 400 claims made with €8.7 mil­lion with­held by tour op­er­a­tors.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment launched an aware­ness cam­paign in July in an ef­fort to de­ter hol­i­day­mak­ers from mak- ing false com­pen­sa­tion claims and warn­ing that they could face pros­e­cu­tion both at home and abroad if they were to be found out.

In Au­gust, the UK gov­ern­ment’s Claims Man­age­ment Reg­u­la­tor with­drew the oper­at­ing li­cence from Lan­cashire­based All­sure Ltd af­ter it was shown to have, “en­cour­aged hol­i­day-go­ers to fab­ri­cate or em­bel­lish symp­toms of gas­tric ill­ness to get com­pen­sa­tion.”

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish Travel Agents (ABTA) is ad­vis­ing the pub­lic to re­port any cold­call­ing com­pany which en­cour­ages them to sub­mit a false claim to the Claims Man­age­ment Reg­u­la­tor. It is also ask­ing hol­i­day­mak­ers to re­port touts in their re­sort to the ho­tel man­ager or their tour op­er­a­tor’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive and to warn other tourists about them.

Girls, dressed as tourists, tout­ing for fake com­pen­sa­tion claim clients at a Span­ish ho­tel

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