In June last year, a couple were jailed for a total of 2 years for claiming £20,000 for a fake gastric illness on holiday. Unfortunately, social media caught them out, as they posted how they had had “two weeks of sun, laughter, fun” with no mention of any illness. On admitting the fraud, they said that it was an idea someone had given to them in a pub!
The message was loud and clear to anyone thinking of making up a holiday sickness claim – you will go immediately to prison!
The Claims Management Regulator has been cracking down on unauthorised businesses operating in the holiday sickness market and it reports that in the last quarter of 2017, it identified 30 unauthorised businesses, 14 of which subsequently ceased trading, 13 removed their websites and social media platforms and 3 are still being investigated. The Regulator reported that it was stepping up its focus on businesses operating without authorisation, after receiving more than 200 complaints in just 3 months.
Despite the Government announcing its plan to introduce fixed recoverable costs for holiday sickness claims and that these will be introduced in April this year, so that they are in place ready for the main 2018 holiday period, ABTA say that a recent survey found that 19% of holidaymakers were being cold-called about making a holiday sickness compensation claim.
This runs alongside the debate by MPs on a ban on cold-calling, which is fully supported by APIL who describe the Bill as “the best opportunity finally to stop CMCs from harassing all of us and encouraging false claims”. Figures from the ICC show that it received from than 25,000 complaints about Personal Injury cold-calling last year, compared to 5,883 cold-calls about PPI claims and just 521 cold-calls about pensions.
I am all in favour of a ban on cold-calling for Personal Injury claims, as I believe that if someone has a genuine Personal Injury claim, they will research the best solicitor for them.
Let’s hope the Government do something positive to help the Personal Injury market and ban cold-calling.
If you require any assistance with a personal injury or clinical negligence claim, please do contact me.