High proportion of UK consumers willing to commit travel claims fraud, survey finds

Travel claims fraud

Almost half of UK consumers are happy to make fraudulent illness claims against tour operators, according to a new survey by law firm BLM.

The law firm’s partner and head of fraud Sarah Hill described the travel claims fraud situation as an “epidemic”.

In a YouGov survey of 2,000 UK consumers on attitudes to sickness claims on all-inclusive holidays, commissioned by the law firm, 46% of respondents said it was acceptable to make a claim for food poisoning, even if they weren’t sure their illness was the fault of the hotel.

BLM said this belief “has helped create a thriving fraud culture”.

BLM commissioned the survey after seeing travel claims soar over the past 12 months. It said the travel industry has been hit by a “dramatic rise” in gastric illness compensation claims. The law firm blamed “rogue” claims management companies urging holidaymakers to put in speculative claims.

Hill said: “It is not exaggerating to call this situation an epidemic. CMCs have identified this as fertile ground and there is a deep pool of potential claimants up for grabs. There needs to be some level of consumer education, as almost half of those surveyed think this practice is acceptable. In reality, it is against the law and is pushing up holiday prices.”

Hill added that payouts range between £500 and £2,000, so many people are seeing the claims as a quick way of making money.

She said: “The industry needs to come together with government to develop a solution to this issue. It needs addressing in the same way whiplash claims were, with regulation that drives rogue CMCs out of the market. If left unchecked, this could threaten the future of the travel industry.