Greek hotel counter-sues British couple over alleged false sickness claim

A British couple are facing a counter-claim of £170,000 from a five star Greek hotel which alleges that their holiday sickness claim is false.

Sean and Caroline Bondarenko are accused of making a fake £10,000 claim against the Caldera Palace Hotel in Crete after saying the resort’s food and drink made them ill.

They could now face losing their home as a result of the legal action, and are trying to drop their claim against the hotel they booked through Thomson.

Holiday sickness claims by British tourist have risen by 700% in the last 18 months, according to Abta. Claims from other countries have not risen at anything like the same rate.

Court documents issued by the Caldera Palace Hotel allege that the Bondarenkos ‘consumed large quantities of alcohol’ at a time they say they were sick.

Atlantica Hotel Management Ltd claims the couple from Darlington, County Durham, did not report any illness during their one-week stay in October 2013, and didn’t make their bid for compensation until three years later.

The hotel chain says it has a dossier of Facebook posts which demonstrate the Bondarenkos enjoyed their stay.

A Thomson spokesperson said: “UK holidaymakers should understand that if they make a fraudulent claim they could face prosecution at home or overseas.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Bondarenko, 47, said he only mad the claim because of contact from a claims management company.

He said he and his wife had been ill, but only for a day or so, adding: “We asked our solicitor to drop the claim in February because we felt uneasy about it, but they said we would have to pay legal costs.”

Mrs Bondarenko, 42, suggested the couple’s illness had been exaggerated. She said: “I was horrified when I saw the court papers which listed all these negative things we were supposed to have said about the hotel.

“We never said any of those things. I rang the solicitor and she told me not to worry about it. We are terrified for our future and petrified we will lose our home.”

The couple’s solicitors, Opes Law, said: “The allegations are unequivocally denied. Opes takes its duties to its clients seriously. When things occasionally go wrong, clients are advised to use our complaints policy and procedures to resolve any dissatisfaction.”

See more:

Travel Weekly’s Fight Fake Claims campaign

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.