Two people have been ordered to pay almost £30,000 ($38,000) after making a false holiday sickness claim.
Martin and Lindsey Brown, aged 38 and 35 respectively, both from Chorley in Lancashire in the United Kingdom, were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and told to pay Jet2holidays monetary damages.
A hearing at the Civil Justice Centre in Manchester found they fabricated a false sickness claim to try to be awarded up to £20,000 ($25,300) in compensation.
The false claim against Jet2holidays involved gastric illness after the two stayed at the Emre Hotel in Marmaris, Turkey, in 2016. They made the claim after saying they had suffered with stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea as a result of food poisoning contracted whilst on an All-Inclusive 10-night holiday. Brown claimed he had diarrhea while in bed. He also said his children had soiled themselves while they were at the pool due to their sickness.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said the pair travelled to Turkey having worked out how to make a fraudulent sickness claim, but its investigation uncovered the truth.
“Jet2holidays has led the way to tackle the issue of false sickness claims so that holidaymakers do not expose themselves to the risks that come with getting involved in such dishonest activity, and we hope this ruling sends out a serious message to others,” he said.
“That message is clear, we will investigate and defend any claims that we believe are dishonest, and the courts do not just take a dim view of such deceit, they are prepared to punish it accordingly.”
An investigation by Jet2holidays, the Emre Hotel, and law firm Horwich Farrelly revealed evidence showing the claims were pre-meditated and fabricated.
A witness statement from another holidaymaker stated that Martin Brown had bragged about how he planned to fabricate a false sickness claim to win compensation, and how he had done it before.
Video evidence showed Martin Brown dancing by and diving into the pool, despite being allegedly bedridden with nausea, diarrhea and vomiting and captured the couple walking out of the hotel with their two children on the days they claimed to be bedridden.
Facebook posts showed the Browns on an evening out despite their alleged illness, including posing for pictures with a parrot.
During the hearing at the Civil Justice Centre, staff and the Emre Hotel doctor testified that the couple had not been ill.
The Association of British Travel Agents reported an increase from 5,000 claims in 2013 to around 35,000 in 2016. In October this year, four people were sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years, after admitting to filing a fake claim against Jet2holidays.
The UK government fixed the legal costs that can be claimed in package holiday sickness claims earlier this year to address the problem so defense costs are predictable, which deters bogus claims.
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