A Hajj and Umrah travel agent is facing jail after being convicted of fraud. Mr Saleem Akhtar, trading as Embassy Express Ltd, was found guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court of two counts of fraud – two of breaching package tour regulations and seven for using the ATOL logo contrary to consumer protection from unfair trading regulations.
Akhktar was prosecuted after Birmingham City Council Trading Standards officers received complaints concerning a Hajj Travel package he provided to a consumer Mohammed Mugal, and claims made by him and on his website concerning having an Air Travel Operators Licence.
A consumer complained to Trading Standards after he was very unhappy with the Hajj package provided by Embassy Express Ltd.
In October last year Mr Mughal booked to go for Hajj. He was told it would be flights from Heathrow with Saudi Arabian Airlines. He thought he had booked for a 4 week period from 4th November to 4th December. He paid £5600 for him and his wife to go on the Hajj Pilgrimage.
However, just two days before the due departure dates his flight details were changed without any warning or reason. He was put on a chartered flight from Stanstead, and dates had now changed to 7th November to 29th November, early a week less than he had originally requested.
While out in Saudi Arabia problems continued, on one occasion their coach was allowed to depart from an avenue without Mr and Mrs Mughal. Mr Mughal claims Mr Saleem Akhktar was not helpful during the whole trip for which he was supposed to be a group leader. The experience was supposed to be an experience of a lifetime.
Akhtar was cleared of one charge of breaching package travel, holidays and tour rules. Sentencing will take place next month at Birmingham Crown Court.