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Couple seeking cash for holiday sickness binged on 109 drinks in nine days, hotel bill reveals

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 6 days ago By Hugh Morris

<p style="margin-bottom:1em;padding:0px 0.2em;font-size:13px;" xmlns="http://iptc.org/std/nar/2006-10-01/">The night of the alleged onset of the illness, at least six shots of spirits and mixers were consumed.</p><div></div> © Provided by The Telegraph

The night of the alleged onset of the illness, at least six shots of spirits and mixers were consumed.

Two British tourists who claimed to have been “bed-ridden” by an “acute illness” in an attempt to claim compensation from a holiday company actually spent the week consuming large quantities of alcohol. 

The behaviour of the unnamed couple from Liverpool in Gran Canaria in 2015 was exposed by investigators instructed by Jet2holidays and the all-inclusive hotel Gloria Palace after the pair attempted to sue for damages.

Both Jet2holidays and the four-star hotel said they heard no complaint from the pair during the stay or in the immediate wake of the holiday, but more than a year later received a letter from a claims management law firm demanding compensation for food poisoning, stating that an illness begun on the second day of a 12-day holiday had left the couple suffering “stomach cramps and severe diarrhoea” and “bed-ridden during an acute period of illness…[that] spoiled the rest of the holiday”.

"The night of the alleged onset of the illness, at least six shots of spirits and mixers were consumed."

But Jet2holidays found evidence of a different version of events.

“In the course of investigating the claim with the hotelier, it has come to light that their records show that the customers continued to enjoy a range of alcoholic drinks throughout the time of their illness,” said the operator.

“The night after the onset of the illness, cocktails and spirits were consumed. Two days after the onset of the illness, a very significant quantity of beers were consumed during the afternoon and spirits in the evening.” A total of 109 drinks were consumed over a nine-day period, Jet2holidays said. 

The Government and the police are increasingly concerned about a surge in the number of false holiday sickness claims. Travel association Abta says there has been a four-fold increase made by British tourists since 2013, in part driven by ambulance-chasing claims companies.

Jet2holidays CEO Steve Heapy is now calling on the Government to crack down on “food bug fraudsters”.

Majorca has also been cited as a hotbed of false claims CREDIT: BBSFERRARI - FOTOLIA/SERGEY DZYUBA © Provided by The Telegraph Majorca has also been cited as a hotbed of false claims CREDIT: BBSFERRARI - FOTOLIA/SERGEY DZYUBA “We want our customers to have a great holiday and to continue to enjoy the benefits of all-inclusive. But the danger is that these fake holiday poisoning claims put the all-inclusive holiday at risk,” he said.

“The sharp rise in the number of sickness claims is costing hoteliers and travel companies dearly, and it’s frustrating when so many are made a year or more after the holiday has ended. We risk the actions of the dishonest few spoiling the plans of many British holidaymakers.

“My message is simple. No one cares more about you on holiday than us. If you have a problem on holiday, we are there for you and we take genuine claims very seriously.

“But the food bug fraudsters are fooling customers into thinking they can make a claim even when they weren’t ill without any consequences, which is not true. These are the same guys that made so much money out of whiplash cases. I’m calling on the Government to crack down on the food bug fraudsters.”

Earlier this month, detectives at the City of London police confirmed they were assessing material handed to them regarding false sickness claims to see whether criminal prosecutions could be sought.

Such claims have the potential to raise insurance premiums and are costing holiday resorts and hotels millions of pounds each year. In Spain alone it is estimated to cost resorts more than £50 million annually, while tour operators in Mallorca have estimated that claims involving stomach illnesses increased by 700 per cent in the past year. Holiday prices could be hiked to combat the extra cost, while some tour operators have even suggested they might stop offering all-inclusive packages to Britons.

The typical payout for a sickness claim is somewhere between £1,000 and £2,000, which is above the threshold for it to be considered a small claim (that threshold is £1,000).

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