Go4 Hajj & Umrah Tours ‘misled’ its customers
A COMPANY claming to specialise in religious pilgrimages to Mecca has been wound up in the High Court following an investigation.
Luton-based Go4 Hajj & Umrah Tours Limited “seriously misled” its customers, an investigation by the Companies Investigation Branch found.
In October last year 101 British Muslims had booked packages through the company for the Hajj pilgrimage, the High Court was told.
The company had advertised a two-week travel package and a three-week package.
The three-week package was due to depart on 5 December 2007 and was booked by 38 customers, at a cost of £3,500-£4,450.
The two-week package was due to depart on 12 December 2007, and was booked by 63 customers, at a cost of approximately £3,500-£4,195.
However, due to changes to the programme and visa difficulties, only 30 clients travelled in the first group. No one travelled in the second group as the company was unable to supply the proper Hajj visas for them.
At a hearing on 19 November 2008, the Court heard that Go4 Hajj & Umrah Tours Limited seriously misled its customers.
It had claimed that all its Hajj travel packages included guaranteed visas and Hajj drafts as required by the Ministry of Hajj. In fact, neither the company nor its officers were granted status as a Hajj organiser by the Saudi authorities and the company was unable to obtain visas from the authorities.
Even those customers booked on the first package who were able to travel on visas obtained via a “grey market”, suffered as the services provided fell short of those promised in the company’s promotional material.
The company claimed that the package included ground transportation on “private air conditioned coaches” or “super deluxe air-conditioned buses”. In fact, customers were transported in standard government buses.
They also claimed that there would be “excellent and dedicated tents in Mina close to the Jamarat” and emphasised that the “private air conditioned tents” were in a “private camp only 100-120 metres from Jamarat”. In fact, the tents provided by the company were in a general camp more than 3.5km away.
Furthermore the company promised those travelling with them that they would be accompanied by religious guides, doctors and Imams throughout the trip. In fact, the company did not provide anything of the kind.
Khalid Pervez, from the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK has been instrumental in the campaign to get better protection for Hajj pilgrims. He welcomed the high Court decision against Go4Hajj & Umrah Tours Limited but urged the government to do more to safeguard British Muslim pilgrims.
Mr Pervez said: “The victims of this scam were left in distress and were caused mental anguish. Furthermore, it caused a lot of upset and anger amongst the Muslim community.
“We wrote to various government departments, Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords, strongly urging them to offer any help and support to the victims and take appropriate action to protect prospective British pilgrims from such fraudulent activities.”