Rogue Hajj tour operator ordered to pay £39,669

By on 26/02/2015 in News

A rogue Hajj travel company has today been ordered to pay £39,669 at Birmingham Crown Court.

Educational Hajj & Umrah Limited of Pershore Road, Edgbaston, admitted offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) and the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations (1992). The company has been ordered to pay £22,150 in compensation to six victims, £15,119 costs and a £2,400 fine.

In November 2012 and early 2013 complaints were made to trading standards from numerous consumers who had been on the Hajj pilgrimage on the 2nd October 2012.

The offences relate to the description of the hotel, the standard of the hotel, the time it took to get from the hotel to the pilgrimmage and failing to give information about taking out insurance.

Some of the travellers were elderly and it was their first time on Hajj.

Councillor Barbara Dring, chair of the public protection and licensing committee, said: “Birmingham trading standards is leading the way nationally on cracking down on unscrupulous Hajj tour operators. These Hajj packages are often advertised in mosques, so people will naturally trust in what they are advertising.

“Package tour operators have a captive audience because visas for Hajj have to be booked through these companies – people can’t do it themselves. This then leaves pilgrims exposed to criminals who wish to exploit them.

“I hope today’s case and the compensation the company has been ordered to pay, reinforces the message that we will continue to investigate and prosecute rogue traders.

Notes to editors:

Anyone who has concerns about Hajj travel packages or thinks they may have been a victim of Hajj fraud can email hajjhelp@birmingham.gov.uk (regardless of where they are in the country) or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

How to protect yourself and your loved ones from Hajj fraudsters
If you are booking a flight-based package make sure your travel company is ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

A legitimate ATOL logo will have a four or five digit number and can be checked online at: www.caa.co.uk/checkanatol.
ATOL protection is the Government backed financial protection scheme and means if your travel company collapses while you are in Saudi Arabia, you will be repatriated at no further cost.  The CAA will also do everything possible to ensure you can finish and enjoy your holiday without disruption.

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