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Consumer Rights.

I got food poisoning while eating out, can I get my money back?

If you think a restaurant has given you food poisoning, it may have breached food safety standards and you may be able to claim a refund or compensation.
Which?Editorial team

Food poisoning complaint

If you want to complain and get a refund after suffering from food poisoning, the Consumer Rights Act states that your food should have been produced with reasonable skill and care, be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. 

The Consumer Rights Act applies on or after 1 October 2015 - it's the Supply of Goods and Services if something went wrong before this date. 

If want to make a complaint to a restaurant after falling ill with food poisoning, you would argue that the restaurant has breached its contract to provide food prepared with reasonable skill and care under the Consumer Rights Act. 

Make a complaint 

The best course of action would be to write a letter of complaint to the restaurant, stating that you want your money back.

You may need to prove that it was the restaurant in question that caused your food poisoning. 

This will be easier if a group of you who ate together all got food poisoning, or the restaurant owns up. 

Don’t claim back the cost of the meal if you also intend to claim compensation for the illness itself, as settling for the cost of the meal may be taken as you settling your claim altogether.

Compensation for food poisoning

If you want to claim for compensation for the 'pain and suffering' caused by food poisoning this will mean making a personal injury claim. 

This involves getting both medical evidence of your illness, and evidence to demonstrate that the poisoning was caused by the meal the restaurant served.   

If you're claiming compensation for personal injury it's a good idea to speak with a solicitor that specialises in this area as quickly as possible as it's important to get the right evidence.

It's also really important to take the appropriate steps required under the court’s personal injury protocol, at the right time.  

Report the food poisoning

If you think you’ve been given food poisoning, you can also alert your local environmental health department, who will investigate whether the establishment has breached the Food Safety act of 1990. 

If you want to be extra safe, you can check a restaurant’s hygiene rating before you eat out on the Food Standards agency website.