A couple who made a bogus sickness claim against Red Sea Holidays have been ordered to pay court costs £8,000 higher than their initial fake claim.
Jessica Hegner and Karl Hancock from Crawley demanded £4,000 in compensation from the operator after claiming to have fallen ill during a break to Sharm el Sheikh in 2013.
The figure was later reduced to £3,306 but a judge found their actions to be “fundamentally dishonest” at trial and ordered Hegner and Hancock to pay more than £12,000 in costs.
Despite claiming to have suffered with food poisoning on the second day of their week-long trip and only recovering once back at home, according to Red Sea Holidays, the couple took part in two excursions to a local waterpark and a Bedouin night excursion into the desert involving a coach trip, camel rides and dinner.
Social media posts by the couple also described their holiday as “amazing” and having “holiday blues” upon their return to the UK.
Following the ruling, Peter Kearns, executive director at Red Sea Holidays, said it had “been open season on tour operators for too long”.
“Bogus claims backed by sometimes aggressive legal advice, plus the cost of the legal defence then required, meant many claimants knew it was cheaper to settle than fight. That has to stop and as a company we will now contest any claim we believe without foundation," he said.
“Fraudulent or exaggerated holiday sickness claims will be pushed through to a court hearing where the evidence can be properly examined.”
Kearns added that Red Sea Holidays, which “takes thousands of holidaymakers to Egypt every year”, had sympathy with the “very small number” of travellers who do actually fall ill.
“All our hotels have doctors on 24-hour call and our staff in resort are well trained to help,” he said.