A fraudster from Manchester has been ordered to pay over £6,000 to Jet2holidays after his ex-girlfriend presented a video revealing his gastric illness to be fraudulent.
Liam Royle, 23, of Eccles, made a bid for compensation after claiming that he had suffered for five days with stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting while on a week-long holiday at the Papantonia Hotel Apartments in Cyprus in August 2015.
Mr Royle was found fundamentally dishonest at the Civil Justice Centre in Manchester on Friday. His ex-partner was able to prove his claims were a complete fabrication after revealing a video which showed him dancing to Gangnam Style by the pool.
In the claim, the fraudster stated that he suffered from “personal injury” and “a loss of enjoyment” on his holiday as he was forced to miss meals, excursions and general activities as a result of food poisoning.
The evidence also shows Mr Royle taking a 15-minute taxi drive to Ayia Napa, where he walked around the shops and ate a McDonalds. His ex-girlfriend stated that he did not skip meals and drank beer and cocktails throughout the holiday.
District Judge Iyer said: “Even applying the most rigorous test, I cannot avoid the finding that there has been dishonesty in his claim of sickness.
A statement of truth was signed by Mr Royle knowing that it contained fundamental lies, and he gave incorrect information to his medical expert, and as a result a claim was issued.”
CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, Steve Heapy, said: “We have worked very hard to tackle the problem of false sickness claims and to protect holidaymakers against the risks of getting involved in such dishonest activity, but unfortunately there is a minority who think that they can get away with it.
“This judgment shows that there are very real consequences to making false sickness claims, and Mr Royle must now pay the price.
“We would like to thank Mr Royle’s ex-girlfriend for her honesty, and although this is an unusual case, anyone making a fake sickness claim should be fully aware that we will robustly investigate and defend any claims that are dishonest or illegitimate.”
It is cases like this that have led to Britain being dubbed the “fake sick man of Europe”.
There has been more than a 500% increase in the number of compensation claims for holiday sickness since 2013, according to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
However, sickness levels in resorts have remained stable over the same period.
As the problem is exclusively associated with British holidaymakers, it could see them banished from all-inclusive resorts by fed-up hoteliers in Spain and Turkey.
It could also mean higher holiday prices in general due to the costs encountered by tour operators, hoteliers and travel insurance firms.
The problem has got so severe that last year Jet2 began employing private investigators to hunt down unscrupulous touts and Claim Management Companies. They are telling British tourists that they can claim back the price of their holiday by faking an illness.
ABTA, along with industry CEOs and leaders, have launched a campaign called Stop Sickness Scams, highlighting the risks of making a fraudulent sickness claim. This is a criminal offence in the UK and could result in a criminal record and fine.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA CEO, told MM: “Unsubstantiated holiday sickness claims cost the travel industry in the UK and our overseas partners tens of millions of pounds, as well doing great harm to the reputation of all British holidaymakers.
“Judges take a very dim view of claimants pursuing fake sickness claims and Mr Royle is just the latest to receive a hefty fine, others have even gone to jail.
“The vast majority of holidaymakers are disgusted by this dishonest practice, and cases such as Mr Royle’s send the message loud and clear to anyone tempted to pursue a fake sickness claim, that it simply isn’t worth the risk.”
Picture and video courtesy of Jet2, with thanks.