Agents have praised Jet2holidays’ decision to enlist private detectives in the fight against bogus holiday sickness claims, as Abta stressed the need for the new government to prioritise the issue post-election.
Jet2holidays’ private detectives will be out in resorts seeking touts and claims management companies (CMCs) “attempting to lure holidaymakers into making false claims”.
They will be acting on customer tip-offs as well, and will report such activity to the operator and the local police.
It follows a Mail on Sunday investigation – the results of which were published on Sunday – that exposed the boss of a compensation firm as allegedly promoting that it could secure pay-outs “with or without medical evidence”.
The newspaper claimed that firms including Jet2holidays had started blacklisting customers whom they suspect have made bogus claims, while Tui is reportedly considering a similar move.
In a statement on its website last week, Jet2holidays said: “These touts and companies are peddling fraud and are brazenly handing out leaflets telling British holidaymakers that they can cover the cost of their trip by just filling out a form, irrespective of whether they have been ill or not.
“What holidaymakers might not realise is that this is fraud and if caught they personally could bear the brunt of the law – not the claims firms.”
Asked about Jet2holidays’ private detective move, Martyn Dean, director of JLM Travel, told TTG: “This is a good idea as the issue really needs investigating – these sharks are out there without any thought about the damage they will do.
“I’d like to see other operators do it too; fighting fake claims helps to protect their brand, customers and the reputation of the UK travel industry in the long term.”
Other agents also welcomed the news when TTG posted it on the Travel Gossip Facebook page.
And an Abta spokesperson said the “stories in the national press” over the weekend had exposed the “gutter tactics” of some claims firms.
“We are continuing to take evidence to the Claims Management Regulator, Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority and Ministry of Justice to highlight the need for legal and regulatory changes, as well as working with members and hoteliers on how to minimise the potential for dishonest claims,” said the spokesperson.
“It’s essential that after the election the new government treats fraudulent holiday sickness claims as a priority matter.”