Bogus holiday claims make everyone sick.
Byline: DENIS KILCOMMONS Wry look at life from our man on Honley ... email him at email@example.com
PANISH hoteliers are getting sick of British tourists who make bogus claims of food poisoning.
SThe figures have gone up by a staggering 700% and is said to have been boosted by no-win, no-fee lawyers encouraging holidaymakers to make allegations that may not be true.
Dozens of legal firms are waiting online to help with claims.
One asks: "Issues with your package holiday...suffered from food poisoning or illness? Was it within the last two-and-a-half years? Average claim amount is PS2,500."
By heck. You can sit back with you lap-top, describe your gippy tummy and wait for the cheque to drop through the letter box whilst perusing Thomas Cook brochures to decide where to go next.
How about the Dominican Republic? They have a reputation for salmonella.
And if you think I'm picking on Dominica unfairly, another firm says of the Republic: "The most common form of holiday illness reported are bacterial and parasitic bugs such as Salmonella, E.Coli and Cryptosporidiosis.
It adds: "We will be happy to help you through the process of claiming back the cost of your holiday, plus any additional compensation you may be owed."
Bogus holiday claims have been around for years.
I had a friend who looked forward to going abroad. "Last year I got a new camera. Dropped my old one over the side of the cross-Channel ferry. Might try a lost suitcase next time."
Back in the late 1960s, a couple with two children confided their holiday strategy to me.
"Last year we complained and got moved to a five star," the mum said.
"This year, normal complaints didn't work, so I told the rep I couldn't sleep because of the noise of deathwatch beetles in the wooden bedframe. They moved us to a four star." My wife and I have only ever been on two package holidays, in the era well before this no win, no fee encouragement, when the rep on the coach from the airport to the hotel warned everyone, as a matter of routine, to beware of Montezuma's Revenge.
And we all realised there was a good chance we'd get the upset stomach from which locals had built up immunity.
Our last experience was in Benidorm, 1969, when a rain storm caused a hillside sewer to overflow.
The staff of our distinctly low-par hotel abandoned ship.
The Brits, being Brits, organised a bucket brigade and bailed out the bar upon which the owner sat and watched without offering either encouragement or drinks.
Subsequently, at least a dozen guests got stomach problems that required them to be within 10 yards of a loo at all times for the next three days.
No-one hinted at compensation. No-one went looking for a lawyer. We all had a laugh and a story to tell when we got home.
The compensation culture had yet to become a default setting in tourism, let alone general life. How times have changed.