Atol rules delay ‘is very unfair on the industry’

Ian Taylor

The CAA’s delay in issuing amended Atol regulations is “unfair to the industry” and making it “difficult for businesses”, says Abta.

The industry was still awaiting

the regulations as Travel Weekly went to press on Tuesday despite repeated assurances that publication of the Atol rules and Department for Business (BEIS) guidance on the new Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) is imminent.

The new PTRs come into force

on July 1, yet businesses still lack the standard terms they are required to pass on to consumers. The CAA confirmed the Atol

Regulations and BEIS guidance would be issued together, with publication now expected “at the back end of this week”. There has been no explanation

for the continuing hold-up. The change in the law will

make agents selling flight-plus arrangements “organisers” of package holidays with the same liabilities as tour operators. Abta legal affairs director Simon

Abta’s Simon Bunce: ‘It’s difficult for businesses to plan’


Bunce described the delay as “bizarre”. He said: “I don’t think there will be any surprises in the BEIS guidance. The problem is the Atol regulations. We don’t know what is in the standard terms and we’ve been trying to get model booking conditions out for members this week. “Businesses should know by

now they need an Atol if they are doing flight packages. Where it gets difficult is in the detail – the

statements people need to make in marketing and in booking conditions. It’s difficult for businesses to plan and to build wording into systems. “It is very unfair on the industry

to leave it this late. “We’re trying to tell members

what they need to do to run their businesses and we can’t if we don’t

have timely information.” › Delay due to ‘government logjam’, back page

5 Police probe ‘fraudulent’ claims firms

Ben Ireland

Police and lawyers are turning the tide against firms driving fake holiday sickness claims with a flurry of investigations and private prosecutions.

Merseyside Police has opened

investigations into two claims management companies (CMCs). It is monitoring three cases lodged against tour operators by each of the firms suspected of encouraging bogus claims from holidaymakers,

with a view to prosecuting them for fraud. It comes as Manchester-based

law firm Horwich Farrelly launched private prosecutions against “a number of CMCs” after successfully defending more than 2,000 claims on behalf of tour operators. Horwich Farrelly

partner Mark Hudson said: “We are looking to make an example of these firms and are going to throw the kitchen sink at them.”

6 7 June 2018 The Ministry of Justice,

meanwhile, continues to investigate 12 CMCs over encouraging fake claims, while the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is now investigating the conduct of 27 law firms it suspects have contributed to the soaring number of bogus claims. A Merseyside Police

spokesman confirmed “two main strands” to its

investigation and that no arrests had yet been made. An MoJ spokeswoman said:

“We will continue to investigate any intelligence received about companies encouraging this fraudulent practice.” An SRA spokesman said

“everyone knows what the problem is” and urged law firms to vet CMCs before accepting cases. Abta figures show the number

of holiday sickness claims rose by 500% between 2013 and last summer. The rise led to the launch of Travel Weekly’s Fight Fake Claims campaign a year ago, and Abta’s

Stop Sickness Scams campaign. › Special Report, page 12


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