Hajj pilgrims urged to report scams | Department for Business, Innovation and Skills


As more than 25,000 British Muslims travel to Mecca for Hajj, the Government is urging pilgrims to know their rights and report scam artists.

In previous years, some Hajj pilgrims have been ripped off by a variety of scams, including paying for a five star hotel but getting substandard accommodation, or in extreme cases, some agents have disappeared and taken pilgrims’ money with them.

Consumer Affairs Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“British pilgrims should not suffer in silence if they feel that they have been ripped off.

We are urging pilgrims to take simple steps to protect themselves, such as retaining travel documents, taking photos of any substandard accommodation, and most importantly, reporting any unsatisfactory experiences to trading standards.

The Government believes that many cases of pilgrims losing out go unreported – preventing them from getting the help, refunds or compensation they are entitled to. It is important to recognise that Hajj pilgrims have the same rights under the Package Travel Regulations as anyone else booking a package trip”

Pilgrims should be aware of the following:

•when choosing a travel organiser or a particular trip, don’t rely on word of mouth recommendations and don’t automatically choose the cheapest offer you see advertised
•check that your package operator holds a current Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL). During an economic downturn it is even more important that you check that your Hajj tour operator is ATOL-registered. This means any pre-payments are protected and that, if the firm were to go bust – you will be flown back home
•agree your tour itinerary in writing before parting with any money
•keep documents such as contracts, invoices and letters in a safe place, as this helps with redress if things go wrong.

Rashid Mogradia, Council of British Hajjis said

“Pilgrims should know that they have rights when booking a pilgrimage tour, and we encourage them to book through the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj approved list of tour operators and furthermore book with ATOL registered operators and to avoid those individuals and rogue tour providers who only supply mobile telephones and are not genuine registered businesses.”

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