Birmingham City Council successfully prosecuted an internet travel firm offering trips to Hajj and Umrah, for misleading customers after claiming it had ATOL membership and its own hotel today (28 August 2014).
Al Kabir Travel and Tours Limited, which pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court to four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £1,606 in costs.
The firm, based at 47 New Road, London, E1 1HE, was identified by Trading Standards officers in Birmingham during an annual survey of travel agencies offering Hajj and Umrah tours.
In court, the firm admitted it did not hold an ATOL licence or own a hotel in Makkah, as stated on the company’s website www.alkabirtravel.com, where it also claimed to have served the UK’s Muslim community for 12 years.
Officers from Birmingham and Tower Hamlets’ trading standards teams worked closely to bring the firm to court, after several visits to advise the firm on its unlicensed use of ATOL logo.
Councillor Barbara Dring, chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This case highlights the need for people booking any holiday to be aware that internet-based travel firms have to adhere to the same codes of practice as those based on the High Street.
“It is also a great example of how working closely with our local authority partners has helped us bring a successful prosecution.”
Notes to editors:
ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) is a UK Civil Aviation Authority scheme to protect people who have bought package holidays and flights from member tour operators. Most UK tour operators are required to hold an ATOL licence, without which they cannot usually sell air travel.