Holiday Sickness Claim - CAMPS SOLICITORS

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Hello

In February 2016, myself and my partner were supposed to be going to Egypt for my 30th Birthday. Due to the flights being cancelled to Egypt, our holiday was cancelled at the end of December 2015 so had to book something else at the last minute - and ended up in Lanzarote. The hotel we stayed at was nice, but both of us got food poisoning on the 3rd day (the day of my 30th), which effectively ended the holiday - we just lay on a sun lounger or in the room waiting to go home.

When we got back we kept hearing about the holidays sickness claims - no win, no fee etc. and how all we have to do is fill in one form and the solicitor will do the rest. Turns out that is all nonsense, and now every single claim for holiday sickness is being fought by the holiday provider and going to court. This isn't what we expected, and as we don't really want to go to court over a £400 holiday we've asked the solicitor (who, so far, appears to have done absolutely nothing despite it being nearly 2 years later) to cancel our claim. They are now trying to hit us with a bill, firstly for £1,500 each(!!) and now, after a bit of discussion they have lowered it to £260 each! I do think they'll accept a TOTAL of £260 as settlement though - considering they have done no work at all.

However, since starting this claim, we have moved house and have not told them our new address - so, I'm wondering whether to bother getting the £260 together to give them at all, or just ignore them and hope they go away! I can't imagine they will get bailiffs for the sake of £260 - and even if they do, they don't have our new address.

I have spoken to a friend who is a solicitor (albeit for Criminal law) and she said that after a few warning letters, if fees aren't paid the vast majority just get swept under the carpet - however, she can't be sure for Personal Injury Solicitors.

I know £260 isn't a huge amount of money, but we have just moved house and don't have any spare cash at all, so it'll be a case of selling laptops/tablets etc to raise the funds, or getting a loan to pay them off.

Can anybody advise what to do? I feel like we've been scammed, as it feels like they purposely have done no work at all, hoping that we'd pull the plug and they can hit us with a bill without actually doing anything to earn it.
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  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,661 Forumite
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    edited 6 December 2017 at 5:26PM
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    Turns out that is all nonsense, and now every single claim for holiday sickness is being fought by the holiday provider and going to court.

    Holiday sickness claims is a major scam area and the tour providers have had enough. The tour companies are starting to fight the bogus claims. Not only that, the tour companies are are involving the police and prosecutions for fraud against the complainants are now happening and being successful and the sentences have been imprisonment.

    It was reported just over a month ago, that the number of complaints has dropped by over 6500 and some legal firms have pulled out.
    The hotel we stayed at was nice, but both of us got food poisoning on the 3rd day (the day of my 30th), which effectively ended the holiday - we just lay on a sun lounger or in the room waiting to go home.

    Well, lets look at your case.....
    1 - Did you let the hotel know about the food poisoning?
    2 - Is the hotel likely to have CCTV of you using their facilities during the period you said you were ill? (if the hotel can show you were, for example, lounging by the pool or using other facilities quite normally then you could end up facing a counter prosecution).
    3 - did you seek any medical assistance or visit a chemist to buy medication?
    4 - did you complete any holiday company/hotel service questionnaires that said the service etc was good but didnt mention anything about the illness?
    and now, after a bit of discussion they have lowered it to £260 each! I do think they'll accept a TOTAL of £260 as settlement though - considering they have done no work at all.

    They have done work. Just because you dont see it, does not mean work did not happen. There would have been a template letter and postage costs. Possibly a couple of template follow-ups. At solicitor rates, £260 seems fair.
    I have spoken to a friend who is a solicitor (albeit for Criminal law) and she said that after a few warning letters, if fees aren't paid the vast majority just get swept under the carpet - however, she can't be sure for Personal Injury Solicitors.
    Claims companies and personal injury solicitors are parasites. They routinely take people to court for non-payment. Sure, you can delay it and hope it goes away. Indeed, you can pay it right up to the day it goes to court as long as its before judgement.
    I feel like we've been scammed,

    That is how the hotels and tour companies feel.
    it feels like they purposely have done no work at all, hoping that we'd pull the plug and they can hit us with a bill without actually doing anything to earn it.

    Not at all. They hoped the tour companies and hotels would continue to roll over as its cheaper to settle than to argue. However, they didnt predict the holiday industry fighting back.

    You employed this company to do the claim and it is you that is pulling out of the contract. £260 for getting out of the contract seems good value. However, if your complaint is valid and fair and you were not trying to scam the holiday company then perhaps you should see it through.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • MarcMCFC1986
    MarcMCFC1986 Posts: 77 Forumite
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    edited 6 December 2017 at 6:45PM
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    Thanks for your reply. I don't know how to do all the quote things, so I'll just reply one paragraph at a time.

    I'm aware that a lot of claims are bogus, which is why it's so much more frustrating that it isn't going to be a straightforward case for us who were genuine victims of food poisoning.

    I did let the hotel know about the food poisoning, and the rep in the resort, and the 24/7 Thomson Holidays Helpline. They will have CCTV of us lying next to the pool, and eating the food after we became sick - but they'll also see we were eating plain food (pasta, bread etc.) and most likely have footage of us racing out of the restaurant every 5 minutes to be sick on the day we fell ill. We did buy medicine from the chemist, but didn't keep the receipt or packaging as we didn't know we'd need it to make a claim - we didn't even know we could make a claim until we saw all the adverts when we returned. We also weren't offered a questionnaire to complete on departure.

    They might have done a bit of work, like posting out a questionnaire for us to complete (which we did 3 times as they lost the first two) - but one of the items listed on the bill says 'Requesting medical records'. I'll be checking this actually happened with my GP. However, I don't think £260 warrants the postage of 3 questionnaires.

    This is the real question - Will they chase me up, even to the point of trying to find my new address for the sake of £260? Based on their quoted hourly rate when posting me a questionnaire it wouldn't be worth their time.

    I'm sure the holiday companies do feel scammed - however, I'm not one of them!

    I don't really feel like I even employed them - I just filled in an online form with my name, phone number and email address, they contacted me and told me to complete and sign all the forms. We might not have been 'scammed' by them - but we've certainly been duped!

    Also, the reason we can't 'see it through' is because my girlfriend suffers from anxiety, and there is no way she will stand up in court and be interrogated by a lawyer acting on behalf of the holiday company. That is why, as soon as we found out that it is going to court, we asked the pull out.
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,600 Forumite
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    They don't have to find your new address to take you to court, they only have to send a letter to your last known address, then ask for a judgement against you in court. You won't know about it because you won't receive the letter and the only way you'll know about a CCJ is when your credit goes down the toilet.
    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
  • MarcMCFC1986
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    -taff wrote: »
    They don't have to find your new address to take you to court, they only have to send a letter to your last known address, then ask for a judgement against you in court. You won't know about it because you won't receive the letter and the only way you'll know about a CCJ is when your credit goes down the toilet.

    Would they do that for the sake of £260 though?

    I forgot to add, my girlfriend filled in a form saying that I am acting on her behalf and that all questions etc about her claim can be directed to me - yet they still continued to hound her with calls and emails. Surely I can counter them with this?
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,600 Forumite
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    Would YOU chase someone for 260? I would.


    So you're proposing to say to them, you upset my girlfriend so ner ner ner ner ner, I'm not paying you 260 quid?
    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
  • IAmWales
    IAmWales Posts: 2,024 Forumite
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    Would they do that for the sake of £260 though?

    I forgot to add, my girlfriend filled in a form saying that I am acting on her behalf and that all questions etc about her claim can be directed to me - yet they still continued to hound her with calls and emails. Surely I can counter them with this?

    If you were willing to sue over a £400 holiday, why do you think they wouldn't/ shouldn't pursue you for £260?
  • MarcMCFC1986
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    IAmWales wrote: »
    If you were willing to sue over a £400 holiday, why do you think they wouldn't/ shouldn't pursue you for £260?

    Because they claim to be a company worth £30 million, and I'm a man without a pot to !!!! in...I need money, whereas £260 is probably a drop in the ocean to them.
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,339 Ambassador
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    edited 7 December 2017 at 11:46AM
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    Remember as well that suing is what they do- it's hardly going to be any effort for them to add you to the list of cases. It's not like they are going to have to pay someone to do it for them, it will probably all be in house.

    As for costs, I think you seriously underestimate how much legal people charge per hour, just to shuffle paper and get forms sent. You could easily be looking at £200 per hour , so £250 each doesn't look out of the question for a few forms, a couple of contact letters and the original enquiry.

    I would also take exception to the idea that how much someone is worth makes a difference to their ability to sue or to be sued. The law is there for us all, whether we are paupers or rich companies- Justice should not be means tested (although with current changes to the law that is an entirely different debate!)
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • [Deleted User]
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    As I said, £260 for a company worth £30 million is nothing - whereas to me it is a lot of money!

    They won't have become worth £30 million by failing to chase up debts.
  • Chunty
    Chunty Posts: 2 Newbie
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    Hi
    I was just wondering what happened with your claim. Did you end up paying the £260 per person to the solicitor? Thanks
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