Travel agents targeted in Hajj fraud operation
Trading Standards officers and the City Of London Police have visited travel agents across Birmingham that were identified as potentially selling unlicensed package tours to Mecca.
Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards team, working with City of London Police as part of a national initiative to combat Hajj fraud, visited 12 businesses yesterday (13 July 2017). Of those visited three businesses complied with regulations and nine firms failed.
This year the Hajj pilgrimage is due to take place towards end of August and early September, so people are already booking their trips – and therefore need to be confident the packages they are buying are what they are advertised to be.
Sajeela Naseer, Head of Trading Standards, for Birmingham City Council, said: “Trading Standards is here to protect Hajj pilgrims from being ripped off by unscrupulous travel providers and to ensure Hajj tour operators continue to receive the advice they need to trade legally.
“We have successfully prosecuted a number of businesses over the past few years, which indicates the scale of the problem facing Hajj pilgrims when deciding which travel operator to use.
“We want pilgrims to know that we take their concerns seriously, understand their problems and will continue to work with our partners, including the City of London Police, to tackle this area of criminality for the protection of Birmingham’s citizens.”
The City of London Police are the national police lead tackling on Hajj and Umrah fraud.
The legislation covering the sale of these package tours are: Consumer Rights Act 2015, The Package Travel, Package holidays and Package Tours regulations 1992 & Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.