An English couple forced to postpone their holiday by 1 year owing to a family bereavement have been awarded damages following a double bout of gastric illness.
The pair, aged 56 and 57, had booked a fortnight at RUI Karamboa, an all-inclusive hotel at the popular Cape Verde resort of Boa Vista.
But soon after their arrival on 29 August 2013 they both started to suffer identical symptoms of gastric illness.
"Since our clients fell ill just 3 days into their holiday, most of it was completely ruined for both of them," Simpson Millar LLP's James Blower said.
Medical examinations revealed that the pair had each contracted a gastric intestinal disorder characterised by profuse diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting, hot and cold shivers and fatigue.
"One needed to seek medical attention in Cape Verde, while his companion was so weak from her illness that she was forced to sit in a chair when she took a shower."
James noted that the couple had booked their holiday with Thomson (TUI), the well-known UK tour operator.
"When our clients reported the matter to the Thomson rep, they appeared to be fobbed off with unlikely excuses," James said. "The rep insisted that the bad bacteria which had struck the couple had been caused by insects in the rain, and that local people were used to it."
"He also tried to blame our clients' respective conditions on their incoming flight's air-conditioning. In reality, it was a double case of gastric illness they'd sustained due to their hotel's poor food hygiene standards."
After receiving our clients' letter of claim, Thomson acknowledged that it was at fault for the hotel's hygiene failures and our clients' illnesses.
"Offers were made very quickly," James said. "After a period of negotiating with the defendant, we were able to agree a settlement of £2,500 for each client."
James confirmed that the couple were very upset that their holiday had been ruined. "They had taken this holiday because they had been forced to terminate the previous year's holiday due to a family bereavement."
"The compensation settlement went some way to helping them recover some of their loss, such as the cost of the holiday and its attendant expenses."
Because the couple bought the holiday as an all-inclusive package, it fell under the Package Travel Regulations 1992. We alleged 33 breaches of this legislation by the operator and the hotel.
"Both clients were affected equally by gastric intestinal disorders as a result of consuming contaminated food and/or drinking water at the hotel," James said.
"It's important to note that, prior to becoming ill, neither client had consumed food or drink beyond the confines of the hotel itself."
The couple applauded our efforts on their behalf and said recommending our services was "a definite yes".
"It was first class service from start to finish. I would highly recommend [Simpson Millar LLP] who explained things in a clear, straightforward manner; friendly and approachable," said one.
The other noted that they were constantly informed of the process and received regular mail on how the case was going. "We were very impressed how approachable our representative was - first class."
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