Avoid websites that charge for free emergency care abroad

Bitterwallet - EHIC card for emergency care abroadA great tip-off from avid Bitterwallet reader Craig has dropped into our inbox, and one worth reading if you're in the midst of planning your family holidays:

Most people probably know that in Europe there's a reciprocal system in place where you can get basic emergency care abroad that's funded by the NHS. This used to mean registering to receive an E111 card, but now there's the EHIC - the European Health Insurance Card.

This cover is free, and so are the cards themselves. All you need to do is visit the EHIC website (www.ehic.org.uk) and fill in your details. It can cover you, your spouse and your children.

Trouble is, some mercenary fuckers seem to have noticed that with a bit of judicious SEO, they can get on the gravy train. Search Google UK for "EHIC" and the first two sites on the list (www.ehic.org and www.ehic.uk.com) both require a payment of £9.95 for "processing" your application. And ehic.uk.com even have some weasel-words on the site which make it clear they know which side of the ethical line they are on.

I nearly walked into this scummy trap, and I'm sure others might follow.

The site Craig mentions, ehic.org.uk, states somewhere near the very bottom of the front page that "the service charge incurred is payable privately to Imap (UK) Limited who are by no means affiliated to or linked in any way to the NHSBSA [NHS Business Services Authority]." So who are Imap (UK) Limited, then?

Why, they're independent mortgage advisers involved in flogging debt consolidation services. So not only do they charge you for a free service, but you're handing over your personal details (including date of birth and NI number) to a debt consolidation company, and give them permission to use your information in the process. Avoid like the plague.


  • Klingelton
  • PaulH
    Nice one - Bitterwallet to the rescue...
  • David
    surely some politician should be queuing up to say they'd end this sort of rip-off! Don't feel sorry for the people who've been ripped off - give it 3 years and there'll be adverts on the telly - "were you mis-sold an HIC in 2010? You may be entitled to compensation" etc etc.
  • M4RKM
    Daily Mail stylee reporting there.. the SPONSORED LISTINGS in google are not related to the website, but the first proper google listing is... if people learned how to ignore SPONSORED LISTINGS in google.... no... a world cannot be that ideal
  • Stu
    Even worse, these people also own www.ehic.org Out of interest, why is ehic on a .org.uk ? Surely they would have a .gov.uk ? or a .nhs.uk ?
  • CompactDistance
    I had this problem when trying to apply for a tourist visa for Australia, the first REAL results in Google were third parties trying to take money for 'processing.'
  • Gregor
    damn could of saved a tenner last year. although, they spelled my 2nd name wrong on the card lol, could be a blessin in disguise
  • dunfyboy
    M4RKM beat me to it. The first proper result is the real website, the next is NHS which points you in the right direction of the real website, the next is the real website again.
  • shinkyshonky
    Wtf....it`s as bad as these tosspots....www.easy-drop.co.uk who mysteriously seemed to have stopped advertising on google.... cunts!
  • Comic M.
    I got charged.
  • Andrew
    Anyone have a contact number so we can get our money back...?

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