Preston-based claims management company (CMCs) Allsure Ltd has been stripped of its authorisation, after the regulator identified serious issues with the way it was encouraging people to make holiday sickness claims.
The Claims Management Regulator at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said in its press release that Allsure “encouraged holiday-goers to fabricate or embellish symptoms of gastric illness to get compensation”, was “exaggerating expected pay-outs to entice consumers”, and also engaged in “trying to coach consumers in providing the answers needed to meet the criteria for making a claim.”
The MoJ enforcement notice says that Allsure failed to comply with four separate sections of Client Specific Rule 1 of its Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2014:
- Rule 1a – the general requirement to act fairly and reasonably in all dealings with clients
- Rule 1b – the general requirement to ensure that the service provided meets the needs of the client
- Rule 1c – the obligation that all information given to a client is ‘clear, transparent, fair and not misleading’
- Rule 1e – the stipulation that clients should only be advised to pursue a claim when it is in their best interests to do so
Allsure has 28 days to appeal the ruling to the First-Tier Tribunal, should it wish to do so.
Allsure used the trading names Chase Alexander, Refund Claims and Refund PPI Claims – clearly not all of these names relate to the company’s sickness claims activities.
Kevin Rousell, Head of the Claims Management Regulator, said:
“We will take firm action against claims businesses which engage in serious misconduct. Seeking to encourage false claims will not be tolerated.”
In July 2017, the Government announced plans to limit the cash incentives for making holiday sickness claims.
Some Spanish hotels have threatened to stop taking bookings from Britons, noting that UK residents seem much more willing than people from other countries to make sickness claims. If holidays are booked as all-inclusive packages, then the idea behind many claims is that any gastric illness must be the fault of the hotel and/or tour operator, as the holidaymakers would not have eaten anywhere else during their trip.
It has also been noted that people living in certain parts of the UK seem much more willing to make claims of this type.
A leading travel agent, who did not wish to be named, claimed to a journalist from The Times newspaper that 85% of holiday sickness claims were made by residents of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. Despite almost one seventh of the UK population living in London, residents of the capital made just 2% of the nation’s sickness claims, according to the travel company.
Travel agent Thomas Cook has previously signalled its willingness to defend claims made against it in court, and even to prosecute individuals it believes are making fraudulent claims. The company has been purchasing Google advert words to try and ensure that the top result for the search ‘holiday sickness claim’ is a warning that making a false claim is a criminal offence. As of August 27, it appeared that two of the top six search results were indeed warnings about the consequences of bringing unjustified claims.
Deborah Briton and her partner Paul Roberts will stand trial at Liverpool Crown Court next year, after being the first people in the UK to be charged with fraud over a holiday sickness claim.
Julie Lavelle and her partner Michael McIntyre lost a legal case involving Thomas Cook recently, and were ordered to pay legal costs of £3,744. The couple alleged that they had suffered severe sickness and diarrhea after a holiday in Gran Canaria three years earlier, but the court heard that they had made no mention of being ill at the time. Mr McIntyre had gone as far as to say that most aspects of his holiday had been ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ when completing a questionnaire about his trip.
The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.