A couple who went on holiday to Benidorm decided to try and make some quick money by making a false holiday sickness claim. However, their idea of making some fast cash has caused them to go into debt after a Liverpool court ruled the couple must pay TUI £15,000.
Chelsea Devine, 21, and Jamie Melling, 22 from Liverpool thought it would be a great idea to pretend they became ill in Benidorm while on holiday and decided to put in a fraudulent holiday sickness claim against TUI.
Jameie Melling and Chelsea claimed they suffered from food poisoning during their holiday which resulted in them having their holiday ruined. They also claimed they suffered for weeks after their all-inclusive holiday but this was later found not to be true.
The couples lies were found through their Facebook page where they posted lots of pictures next to the pool and enjoying their holiday.
Although there are genuine sickness claims against travel companies, the number of false claims are on the increase.
Judge Sally Hatfield QC said: “I find that they have not proved that they were ill. I cannot accept that they would upload photographs of themselves as a happy couple if the holiday was as they claim.
“The statements are identical. They say that they did not collude, but it is clear the statements were not written by them. There are inaccuracies in them.
“They did not complain [at the time] despite it being easy to do so. They did not complain when they came home. Have the claimants proved that they were ill?
“I do not accept that they did not raise the fact of their alleged illness with the hotel because they were young and inexperienced. They were young, but they were in contact with their parents, who apparently gave them no advice.
“I find that there is no reason why they did not complain. I do not attribute any illness to the unsatisfactory food. There is no evidence of contamination. I accept the evidence of the hotel, and there is no evidence of any outbreak.”
TUI who has previously said they intend to stamp out on false sickness claims and have started to leave cards in hotel room warning about making false claims released a statement.
“It’s disappointing we have had to go this far to defend our industry and hotel partners, as well as protect honest holidaymakers.
“The court has found they brought claims that are fundamentally dishonest and have been ordered to pay our costs.
“This goes to highlight the penalty you can face if you bring an exaggerated or fraudulent holiday sickness claim.”
Although there has been an increase in false sickness claims, some solicitors are concerned that those who have a genuine case will no longer report it, which means holiday companies can ignore the problems that some hotels have.
By Mark Ward