Abta says ban on cold calling could help reduce fake holiday sickness claims

Abta says the decision in the House of Lords to ban cold calling by claims management companies will help reduce the likelihood of holidaymakers being duped into making fake claims for being ill while abroad.

Lords backed a cross-party amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which includes a ban on nuisance cold calling from claims management companies.

The ban would be across the claims industry including Whiplash, PPI and holiday sickness.

The latter has been a recent scourge of the travel industry, with holiday sickness claims rising by 500% since 2013, according to Abta, while recorded incidents of gastric illness have seen little or no change.

In a statement issued after the decision in the House of Lords on Tuesday night, an Abta spokesman said: “Abta strongly welcomes the government announcement in the House of Lords that it intends to ban cold-calling by claims management companies (CMCs).

“As part of our lobbying work around fake holiday sickness claims, we have been calling on the government to introduce a ban, so this announcement is a significant and very welcome advance in the industry’s fight against fraudulent claims.

“Abta has always held the view that it is wrong for companies to cold-call people and encourage them to make compensation claims that cannot be justified whether for whiplash or holiday sickness. We know that people dislike these calls and some are being encouraged to make false claims, often without realising that by doing so they are committing a crime which could have serious consequences.

“It is very encouraging to see this commitment from the government and we look forward to its speedy implementation.”

Abta launched its Stop Sickness Scams campaign in June, which followed Travel Weekly’s Fight Fake Claims campaign. Both are seeking to help reduce the number of fraudulent holiday sickness claims by British holidaymakers, which many industry experts have put blamed on unscrupulous claims management companies.

The cross-party amendment was backed by the Lords by a majority of 48, with 253 votes in favour against 205 against.

Lib Dem Lords leader Dick Newby said: “Cold-calling is a scourge of modern society and companies flogging financial services often prey on the most vulnerable.

“This move is another step towards ending the menace of cold-calling once and for all.”

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