Brits detained in fake compensation raids
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