Friday, August 03, 2018
Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards team are advising Hajj pilgrims to ensure they've booked with approved companies.
Many Muslims will have already booked their Hajj at this time of year. There are many reputable and experienced Hajj companies in the county, as well as national companies.
Trading Standards have carried out advisory visits to 15 businesses in Pendle, Burnley, Hyndburn and Preston who offer Hajj packages, to remind them of their responsibilities.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of the county council, said: "We advise people to check that they've booked with a reputable company, who will do their best to provide customers with value-for-money accommodation and travel for their Hajj. Don't take the risk of having a bad experience by paying your money to unauthorised businesses."
Common problems experienced by Hajj pilgrims include travel providers with no protection for payments, not giving essential information such as flights, itinerary and hotel details in writing, and not providing the travel agent's full contact details.
In some cases pilgrimages may be sold through a network of people, with no information about which company is responsible if there are any problems.
Trading Standards advise people to check their booking details and check the following before they travel:
• Ensure your travel agent is approved by the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. You can check this online at www.hajinformation.com.
• Ensure your agent has a Munazzam card. Hajj operators have a license number. Every year the licensed agent has to renew their license and is issued with a card.
• Ensure your agent is ATOL registered and you receive an ATOL certificate when you book.
• Ensure you have a contract which includes details of all the information about your booking, including the price.
• Make sure you have full details of your trip, such as where you will be staying and for how long, flight details, what is included etc. Make a list of all the things you need to know and check with your travel agent.
When making a payment, always get a receipt if you are paying by cash or banker's draft. Trading Standards recommends paying with a credit card, as you may have extra protection if something goes wrong.
For further advice, contact the Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
Tagged as: Consumer Advice