A travel firm and its director have been ordered to pay £71,417 after admitting they had misled customers over their Hajj and Umrah packages.
Birmingham City Council prosecuted Holy Makkah Tours Limited following an investigation by Trading Standards as part of a national project to tackle Hajj and Umrah fraud.
Holy Makkah Tours Limited – which traded from Birmingham and London – and its director Mohammed Suba Ibn Nozir, 44, pleaded guilty to seven offences each last year.
Manager Shamshu Miah, 54, pleaded guilty to one offence under the legislation.
The company was fined £11,000 and ordered to pay £5,600 in costs at Birmingham Crown.
Nozir was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £5,600 in costs, and was disqualified for two years from holding any directorship. Under Proceeds of Crime Act he was ordered to pay £31,217.15 with all payments to be made within 3 months.
Miah was handed a £1,000 fine and ordered to pay £1,500 towards costs.
Holy Makkah Tours Limited did not hold an ATOL licence, which is a legal requirement for travel firms selling package holidays.
Councillor Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This case highlights the need for people booking any holiday to be aware that internet-based travel firms have to adhere to the same codes of practice as those based on the High Street.
“It is also a great example of how working closely with our local authority partners has helped us bring a successful prosecution.
“Trading Standards is here to protect Hajj pilgrims from being ripped off by unscrupulous travel providers. We know it’s important to take action to protect pilgrims and to ensure there is a level playing field for all businesses.”
Holy Makkah Tours Limited is still trading.
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