TRAVEL operators can now sue tourists who make false holiday sickness claims following a landmark case ruling.
Jet2 Holidays won their case following a fake gastric illness claim from a couple who claimed they fell ill during their Jet2 holiday.
Karl and Laura Hughes claimed that they had food poisoning from their holiday to Lanzarote in 2016 due to contaminated food at their hotel.
However, they were then shown images and videos of them snorkelling on holiday when they alleged they were sick.
Following the claims, the Court of Appeals confirmed: “High Court has jurisdiction to commit for contempt of court where false statements verified by a statement of truth are submitted by a potential claimant, even though no formal claim for damages is ever issued.”
This means holiday package providers can sue customers for falsely claiming they fell sick on holiday – even if the complaint doesn’t make it to court.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Jet2holidays continues to lead the way in the fight against fake sickness claims, and this landmark decision shows that the courts take this issue very seriously.
“The decision by the Court of Appeal to allow us to progress with contempt proceedings against Mr and Mrs Hughes, despite no legal proceedings being issued, has wide reaching implications not only for tour operators dealing with false sickness claims, but the insurance industry in general.”
He added: “The ruling send should send a warning to others. If documents are found to contain false information, contempt of court proceedings can and will be brought, even when the claimants have decided not to commit to legal proceedings.
“Jet2holidays has led the way in stamping out fake claims made for gastric illness and we will continue to investigate and defend any claims that are dishonest or illegitimate.”
The court case follows a government crackdown on false claims after it was revealed that one million Brits were targeted by holiday sickness companies.
Last year, The Sun exposed a couple who tried to claim £58,000 for a fake holiday sickness.
Another Brit who claimed he was sick was fined £20,000 after being caught sharing smiling photos of himself on social media.
Law firms began refusing cases in 2017, with at least 6,500 dropped following fears of false claims.
A couple were ordered to pay TUI £15,000 last year after claiming they had a sickness bug from their hotel, only to be caught out by fun holiday photos.