Since Spring 2016 the travel firm TUI has reportedly recorded around 15 times more illnesses allegedly suffered by travellers whilst on holiday at all-inclusive resorts abroad. Although TUI are willing to criticise these claims and allude to them being, in the main, a money making scam. Here at Amanda Cunliffe Solicitors we ask what efforts do TUI actually make to ensure the hotel is of a suitable standard of health, safety and hygiene, or are they simply happy to profit from having the hotel in their brochure until things start to go wrong?
The media have wasted no time in reporting on the alleged influx of fraudulent claims (information no doubt freely provided by the travel company insurers) highlighting some shocking attempts by some holidaymakers to lie and cheat the system for their own financial gain. Quite rightly, these people are being dealt with firmly with an increasing number of cheats looking at a criminal history for their trouble.
But what about the holiday makers who have saved their hard earned money for the annual time-out/special occasion/wedding only to find the whole holiday ruined due to contracting food poisoning after eating and drinking at the resort?
Booking and paying for a holiday is a legal contract. There is an implied term under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 Section 4 (2) that the supply of goods (including food) at the hotel should be of a satisfactory quality. If the Claimant can prove that the food was contaminated (on the balance of probability) and the visitors were subsequently struck down with illness, this would not be satisfactory and it should follow that the injured party should be fairly compensated.
It is worth noting that this law applies to all food supplied as a service in restaurants and hotels in the UK and not just abroad, however, arguably the hygiene/health and safety standards here in the UK are higher and so British cases are quite rare. Offset this with mass produced food served in large quantities over a 24 hour period in and we can see where problems may arise.
IN REALITY COULD IT BE THAT MORE CLAIMS HAVE ARISEN BECAUSE CONSUMERS HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE OF THEIR RIGHTS?
Here at Amanda Cunliffe Solicitors we have a specialist Holiday Illness Team who will assess each enquiry and claim on its merit. We look to establish the standards of health and hygiene at each resort and it is fair to say that experience dictates that often those standards are not at the level that the reasonable consumer would expect. Often the kitchen and food standards abroad are assessed (if at all) at a ‘local‘ level whereby this may then result in lower hygiene standards and inevitable outbreaks of food poisoning. Here in the UK we enjoy high standards of health and safety, unfortunately we cannot always say this about international holiday resorts and perhaps, it’s time for the travel companies to step up and get their own house (hotel) in order!