I myself had a bad experience this Febuary when I booked a Umrah trip with Mohammed Arif of Haji Tours in Levenshulme. I had been told my hotel was the four star Dar Al Eimaan Grand but upon arriving in Makkah in my Ihraam fatigued after a long delayed flight I was met by their middle man Rana Tariq at the hotel and told it was fully booked and he had got us a room in a nearby hotel which turned out to be a poor 2 star standard hotel.I was too mentally and spiritually focused on completing my Umrah that I accepted the room and was told a few days later that they will be making it up to us by putting us in the Anjum 5 star with breakfast upon our return from Madinah. I learnt that this was due to my colleagues having had their family members complain to them back at Haji tours.
Upon arriving back home I did visit them to see what had caused the mix up but was met with an aggressive hostile attitude from Mohammed Arif who then blamed his assistant Sarfraz Ahmed who blamed their middleman in Makkah who is Rana tariq. This is a common theme amongst some tour operators where blame is passed on to others.
For many Hajj and Umrah pilgrims their trip is thankfully a memorable and trouble free occasion. However, you may have heard reports about some pilgrims who have suffered at the hands of disreputable travel organisers. Lets look at things to consider before and while booking your trip. Let me also explain what to do if you end up dissatisfied with your trip.
In the UK, anyone who offers for sale (other than occasionally) package tours must comply with the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) 1992. The majority of Hajj and Umrah trips will fall under the PTRs.
Before you book:
- Check your trip is ATOL protected. Your Hajj or Umrah package will more than likely include flights. Any tour operator arranging packages with flights must hold a current Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL). Those who do not are operating illegally! An ATOL ensures that your prepayments are protected and also provides for getting you back home if necessary in the event of the operator going bust. You can check whether your operator holds a licence on-line at Civil Aviation Authority or by calling 020 7453 6424.
- You are entitled to rely on the descriptions on brochures and internet sites, including photographs – they should not be misleading or inaccurate.
- Ask for and read the terms and conditions of the trip.
At the time of booking and after:
- If you have any special requests make sure they are specifically mentioned on the booking form.
- Before the contract is completed you must be given information in a suitable form about any: passport and visa requirements, health requirements, and security and repatriation arrangements in the event of the operator going bust.
- Before you leave on your trip you must receive a written copy of the terms of the contract for the holiday plus confirmation of your booking, details about the itinerary; transport connections; times and places; the name and address of a company representative or an appropriate contact for you to use while you are on your trip. These all form part of your contract with the organiser.
- Keep your contractual documentation, booking invoices, letters or other documents in a safe place.
- Significant changes to your trip such as flight details or itinerary should be made known to you as quickly as possible in order for you to make appropriate decisions and – if you wish – to cancel your trip without penalty.
- Local Government Trading Standards Departments (TSDs)which are located within local councils are responsible for enforcing the PTRs and can offer you advice on how to seek redress. You can find the address and telephone number for your nearest TSD by entering your postcode on Trading Standards , or contact your local Council.
Another source of legal advice is your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) Citizen’s Advice Bureau
The Consumer Direct Website Consumer Protection website offers information and advice to consumers on a wide range of issues including package travel.
It should be noted that there are situations which may be encountered in Saudi Arabia (such as lost passports, health and safety matters) which are not covered by the PTRs. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provide helpful information on how to prepare for and what to expect from your Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage on their website Hajj -travel-advice .
It should also be noted that the CAA who issue ATOLs has no remit to deal with complaints about the standard and quality of Hajj or Umrah trips. This is again a matter for trading standards.
Original Source: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/consumer-issues/docs/h/12-680-hajj-umrah-package-trips-consumerURN 12/680
Complaining To The Ministry of Hajj & Umrah
Anyone having a complaint should make his/her case clear in a complaint letter and send it to one of the addresses provided. He/she should also provide a contact address (preferably an airmail address) through which he/she can be reached when a resolution to the complaint is reached. If the complaint is upheld, the travel agent can be suspended or struck off the list of approved travel agents. In these circumstances, the agent will no longer be able to organise pilgrimages.
you can contact the Ministry of Hajj direct.
Ministry of Hajj
Al Maazar Street
Ministry of Hajj
(near U.S Consulate)
You can also write to your local Saudi Embassy
Do remember: British Hajjis have the same protection as package holidaymakers when flights and accommodation are booked together; by booking through an ATOL registered tour operator, your rights are assured.
Hajj & Umrah tour operators/travel agents should not supply any misleading or deceptive material to pilgrims regarding the package price or any other conditions applying to the contract.
You are protected by the legislation The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 which has outlined clearly the responsibilities of (Hajj & Umrah) travel & tour operators and protects the rights of consumers (pilgrims).
Consumers with any queries are being advised to Citizens Consumer Advice on 03454 04 05 06 for further advice on their rights.
The following are the contact details for authorities which deal with complaints from Hajj pilgrims and Umrah performers:
Note these are local numbers in Saudi Arabia
|The Authority||City||Telephone No.|
|Emirate headquarters of Makkah Province||Makkah Al-Mukarramah||5749582|
|Emirate headquarter of Madinah||Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah|
|Office of the Pilgrimage Minister||Jeddah||6655043
|Complaints Committee in Jeddah Airport||Jeddah||6858212
|Branch of Pilgrimage Ministry in Jeddah||Jeddah||6470055
|Branch of Pilgrimage Ministry in Makkah||Makkah Al-Mukarramah||5571714|
|Branch of Pilgrimage Ministry in Madinah||Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah||8263131|
|Ministry Under-Secretariat in Makkah||Makkah Al-Mukarramah||5571714|
|Complaints Committee in Makkah||Makkah Al-Mukarramah||5571714|
|Complaints Committee in Arafat||Arafat||5562226|
|Complaints Committee in Mina||Mina||5566305|
|Ministry Branch in Arafat||Arafat||5562271|
|Ministry Branch in Mina||Mina||5570293|