Mac Hotels establishments in Alcudia.

07-04-2005E. BALLESTERO

Majorcan hotel Mac Hotels has taken legal action against clients who have stayed at their hotels and then subsequently made a false compensation claim.

Facing suspect or false compensation claims totalling seven million euros, the hotel chain hired the services of lawyer Carolina Ruiz who denounced the false claims to the National Police and the Guardia Civil.
Yesterday, Carolina Ruiz said that by taking this matter to court, this is the first time the false compensation issue has been placed before a judge, is an extremely important step forward towards cracking down this illegal behaviour which quite simply fraud.”

The three main hotels targeted by hundreds of British tourists, whose names the police and lawyer have are the Jupiter, Marte and Saturno in Alcudia and they are all all inclusive hotels, just what the false compensation claim farmers like.

The police have handed over visual evidence to the court and British claim farmers have been spotted and found in the vicinity of the hotel complex preying on British holiday makers.

These claim farmers would apparently offer their services and advice, such as merely buying Imodium and Calpol for gastric illnesses and bugs was sufficient and that the claim must be lodged when the holiday maker returned home to the UK. The investigators also have proof of telephone calls between the claim farmers and their clients, private emails, Facebook messages.

This is the first legal challenge to the false claims market in Europe and the investigation has been carried out in cooperation with the British police and judiciary.

The British government is prepared to change the law to block the loop hole the claim farmers are slipping through, but that will not be in place until next summer, hence why Mac Hotels seized the initiative and took action on its own behalf.

Earlier this week, foreign secretary Boris Johnson spoke out against false compensation claims and gave his full backing to a campaign which has been launched by Abta, the Association of British Travel agents, with the support of the UK’s leading tour operators, but the scams are continuing and Majorca and Spanish hoteliers have had enough.

Such action in Spain is considered serious fraud and could result in a jail sentence. The worst case scenario could be that Britons face being denied access to certain resorts or hotels in countries such as Spain and Portugal in the wake of a surge of fraudulent compensation pursuits for holiday illnesses such as food poisoning.
Abta says British holidaymakers are responsible for a 500 per cent rise over four years in the number of claims for compensation of up to £2,000. Abta says that it has witnessed a 300 per cent surge in the number of claims in the last year, with 90 per cent of all personal injury claims now relating to alleged sickness. It says the spikes are a result of claims management companies targeting holiday makers in the same way it used to focus on road traffic accidents.