For several weeks, the Organisation has been monitoring 'chatter' within the travel industry, which is expressing concerns over the rise of apparent unethical practices within the travel claims industry.
The Majorca Hoteliers Federation has expressed its concern about a collection of companies in England, who are apparently engaged in the practice of encouraging holidaymakers to make claims, both on their island and reportedly on Tenerife.
At the same time, one of the industry's leading lights has expressed his concern about how holiday claims have perhaps created a successor to the PPI industry.
The Daily Mail, in its expose on this issue yesterday, highlights the activities of 2 companies operating in Tenerife, which has apparently attracted condemnation from the Travel Insurance Industry (claiming that fraudulent claims add to the cost of Travel Insurance) along with a call for the government to crush this latest 'venture' of 'compensation culture'.
HolidayTravelWatch condemns any activity within any holiday resort which either openly touts for holiday claims, or, if the allegations are true, attempts by any company or individual to 'coach' holidaymakers to create a back-history to support any such legal claim - to be clear for Consumers, if this is correct, such activity is tantamount to fraud and is therefore a criminal offence!
This Organisation has helped Consumers for over 21 years to either self-resolve their travel complaints, or, provide assistance to less than 2% of those who contact us, to access initial free specialist legal assistance. We are fully regulated to engage in that latter activity and we do so ethically, openly and transparently.
HolidayTravelWatch would not support any holidaymaker who was intent on fabricating a legal claim and would take steps, if such a holidaymaker presented themselves to the Organisation, to report them to the Police for such activity.
The Organisation does not believe that a so-called 'compensation culture' exists in the UK but accepts in the heat of this dialogue, that others could conclude that such a culture is alive and active!
Our philosophy is simple:
- We believe that Consumers have a right to receive a good and safe product, where they do not,
- They are entitled to present their complaint and seek resolution and where appropriate, obtain specialist legal advices to help them resolve their claims, and
- That all claims should be properly presented and verifiable with genuine evidence!
We have noted the sharp rise of 'specialist' advice in the last 2 years and would comment that many are simply unknown to us and we are therefore uncertain as to the extent of their expertise; this is something that all Consumers should challenge if they are intent on seeking legal assistance.
Whilst the reports claim, through the use of the words 'fraud' and 'fraudulent', that the cost of insurance premiums will increase because of this reported activity, we have not seen any evidence to prove that point.
In any event, if travel or insurance companies really believe that a criminal act has been committed, then they should follow our lead and cause that information to be placed with the police as part of a criminal complaint and not simply repeat the mantra 'fraudulent' for tea-time consumption!
Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch states:
"Allegations of fraud in claims has been offered for a very long time, not just in travel but in every aspect of our daily lives. Companies or Firms allegedly engaged in overt claims coaching or indeed pursuing holidaymakers in resort are not supported by me or this Organisation"
"As Consumers enjoy the right to make a claim, we must not forget the principles in this country, that a Consumer has to prove their case on the balance of probabilities and that they must come to the court with clean hands. Equally, a defendant has the right to dispute any such allegations, but they must do so by presenting a convincing case as to why the Claimant is wrong; each party must respect the process and indeed each other! Whilst the government is engaged in creating a bonfire at the heart of the legal industry, they must accept a good proportion of responsibility for creating an atmosphere whereby law firms and pure claims companies, may be tempted to engage in non-traditional marketing practices. Consumers should avoid any such direct approaches and not be tempted to commit an act which could cost them dear!"