Muslims intent on completing the Hajj pilgrimage this year are being urged to ensure they book their trips with a reputable travel agent.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards has issued the warning after an inspection of businesses in Bradford and Huddersfield selling Hajj packages found that a number of organisations were not fully compliant with package tour regulations.
The Hajj, which is expected to take place from October 1-6 this year, is the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, which every able-bodied follower of the faith is expected to complete at least once in their lifetime.
Those planning to make their visit this year are being advised to ensure that the travel operator they use has Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing, which means that their money is guaranteed in the event of the business ceasing trading.
Coun Andrew Pinnock, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “Hajj is an incredibly important occasion for all Muslims, but sadly there are some unscrupulous businesses out there that are willing to exploit members of the community.”
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: “Rogue travel operators who deliberately flout consumer protection legislation can expect to be prosecuted.”