Every year Spanish hotels lose around 50-million euros between them to claims made by British holiday makers over supposed food poisoning.
Most of them are false claims but the hotels prefer to pay out rather than contest the case in British law courts. It’s a reoccurring scam which until now was carried out with seeming impunity.
One British holiday maker sued the hotel where she stayed (via the tour operator) for 50,000 euros saying that whilst she was there she and her family had suffered food poisoning. It was going to be just another case where the hotel would back down and pay up, but the woman made a mistake.
She posted on social media upon returning saying that they had been “the best holiday ever and the hotel and food were brilliant” – in complete contrast to her legal claim.
The hotel, armed with the evidence, stuck to their guns and the family lost the case, resulting in the mother, father and two adult children being sentenced to three months imprisonment and for each one to pay an 850-euro fine.
Nobody will go to prison, but they won’t be pulling that trick again.
The incident took place in Benidorm in July 2015. All four family members had filed a claim for food poisoning against the travel operator Jet2 Holidays during their stay in the Aqua Magic Rock Gardens Hotel in Benidorm.
But it all ended badly for Michael Jameson, Claire Weir, Janet Weir and Jane Weir before the Liverpool High Court where they were sentenced to pay 750-pound fines each and prison sentences, not to mention having to pay the travel operator’s legal costs.
It wasn’t just their social-media posts in which all of them said they had had a great time, but that their claims of “nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps,” during their whole stay lost all credibility after the hotel provided receipts for endless beers and gin & tonics consumed throughout their stay.
Private investigators had been hired by Spanish hotel groups, sick of this plague of false claims, and had discovered that there was a network of touts sent out from the UK to the hotels, tasked with convincing Brit tourists to make the claims so that holidaymakers not only got free stays, but also a bit of cash on top.
British law firms were guaranteeing clients a 98% success rate for gastric-illness claims and as much as 18,000 euros in compensation. In fact, so rife was the system that the British Government warned that they would be cracking down on this sort of thing….
(News: Benidorm, Valencia)