It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare, sun, sea, sand and ...food poisoning? It certainly isn't something a holiday company would advertise, but the sad fact is, many US and UK holiday goers will experience food poisoning during their long-awaited summer holidays and what's worse is, some of these holiday companies want to shame people out of reclaiming their money.
Does someone owe you money if you experience food poisoning on vacation?
Most people wouldn't think twice about returning a brand new flat screen TV that doesn't work, or a prematurely broken smartphone - but despite the fact that the UK family spends an average of £4k on a two week summer break, many are unwilling to claim back their cash if their holiday provider fails them and they fall victim to food poisoning.
This is likely due to high profile cases of fraud that have been in the news recently. For example, a couple from Liverpool, UK were jailed for attempting to falsely claim thousands of pounds from tour operators - and rightly so. These widely publicized cases though are giving genuine claimants pause, as no one wants to be accused of fraud!
So what should you do if you have the misfortune of coming down with food poisoning during your holiday?
Well, you should document any evidence of unhygienic practices at your hotel, whether you fall ill or not. Inspect cutlery, glasses and dinnerware to ensure they are spotless. Don't be afraid to take pictures and ask for clean eating utensils. Other signs of potential neglect at the hotel are clearly unchanged sheets or towels, a cloudy (see: dirty) pool or obvious unhygienic practices; such as uncovered food at the buffet, or food being kept at the incorrect temperature. Keeping a photo or video log of any of these instances can help you if you do happen to fall ill.
Visit a local doctor
You should be treated, visit a local doctor or pharmacy for relief tablets. a local doctor may also be able to test you to see if you do have food poisoning or not. Sometimes dehydration or even a severe hangover can be mistaken for food poisoning. Keep receipts for any treatments or costs incurred when you are treated for future evidence.
Get the complaint in writing
You should also complain to the hotel, and make sure the complaint is documented in writing. You should ask for a copy of the complaint. Many hotels will now offer to pay for a test for food poisoning if a person complains of illness. If you genuinely believe it is food poisoning, there's nothing wrong with taking them up on this offer - but if you prefer, it shouldn't count against you to get your own test done.
Focus on taking care of yourself
Ultimately though, you should concentrate on taking care of yourself. Re-hydrate and replace nutrients with probiotics and rehydration drinks. Try to eat plain toast or bananas to get your strength back. Rest and recuperate. Some bouts of sickness last less than 72 hours and depending on the length of your stay, needn't spoil the whole trip.
If you do feel like the trip was ruined due to your sickness, you can engage a solicitor to help upon your return. If you have been diligent in collecting evidence, it should be no problem to receive some compensation for your situation!
Written by Shannon Mulligan
Guest Post in Collaboration with Your Legal Friend