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TIPS TO AVOID UMRAH SCAMS

GUIDE TO CHOOSING UMRAH PACKAGES AND TIPS TO AVOID UMRAH SCAMS.

Headlines in newspapers are filled with stories of potential pilgrims FALLING VICTIM TO SCAMS by Umrah travel agencies’. Due to lack of investigation and blind trust in enticing offers such as VIP packages, cheap packages, packages with religious scholars, packages with celebrities, packages sponsored by VIPs or royalty and various others, many have become victims of Umrah package scams. However, these scams can be avoided if potential pilgrims conduct a little research and scrutiny of the package providers. Here are some tips to avoid umrah scams.

tips to avoid Umrah scams

CHECK THE REGISTERED UMRAH AGENCY

It is crucial to understand that not all travel agencies can offer Umrah packages. According to the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, only Sendirian Berhad (Sdn. Bhd.) companies licensed under the following two categories can manage Umrah:

  • Travel agency (ticketing)
  • Outbound tourism

Payments through private representatives, foundations or cooperatives is risky because they are not licensed Umrah operators.

Check the list of over 70 registered travel agencies in Malaysia with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, categorized as LKU Muassasah and approved by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Malaysia. This list is issued and updated by the Wakaf, Zakat & Haji Department (JAWHAR) through the Umrah Monitoring Council (MKSU). It’s divided into Muassasah and non-Muassasah categories.

INVESTIGATE THE BACKGROUND OF THE UMRAH AGENCY (OPERATOR / MANAGER)

Dig deeper into the agency. Research the company’s background and the track record of the Umrah package operator. Ensure they possess a valid Umrah Special License and an outbound permit, have experience in managing Umrah, and handle visa matters. Repeated cases of fraud often occur from the same companies or operators.

BASIC CONTENTS OF THE AGENCY BROCHURE

Ensure the package offered by the Umrah agent includes these essentials. It should cover standard Umrah features.

  • Round-trip flight tickets
  • Umrah visa
  • Accommodation
  • Legitimate operator or ‘Ground transport’
  • Meals
  • Tours / visits
  • Accompanied by company representatives
  • Mutawif (guide)
  • Umrah takaful protection for emergencies, illness, or death

Keep all pamphlets, brochures, payment receipts, and related Umrah and Hajj package documents. This is crucial for evidence and reference if any issues arise later on.

UNDERSTAND THE OFFERED UMRAH PACKAGE THOROUGHLY

Fully understand the offered package, especially those with extraordinary and unique offerings compared to other companies and agencies.

As per the regulations set by the Umrah Monitoring Council, the minimum price for an Umrah package cannot be less than RM4,900 for a 12-day, 10-night Umrah period. While affordability can be a critical factor, it’s essential to note that prices that seem too cheap can be a red flag. The Umrah Monitoring Council (MKSU) was established by the Government under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 to monitor tourism companies’ service standards and agencies handling Umrah packages.

COMPARE THE PRICES OF OFFERED PACKAGES

Even though there is a minimum price set, various factors can lead to different package prices. Factors affecting price variations include:

  • Dates – Peak/busy season such as school holidays or the end of Ramadan, which are usually more expensive.
  • Direct or transit flights
  • Frequency of meals
  • Staff & Mutawwif
  • Type of transportation there – bus, van, limousine, etc.
  • Proximity of accommodation to Masjid al-Haram

Before making payment, ensure to check the outbound license and the operator of the Umrah company.

UNDERSTAND THE PAYMENT PROCESS

Whether to the company’s account, the private account of the agency’s manager, or the accounts of agents appointed by the agency, the usual deposit required is 25% of the offered package price.

Example:

Package price RM 5,000. Deposit = RM 1,250. The remaining RM 3,750 can be paid before the designated departure date.

Always request an official receipt from the company whenever making full, partial, or installment payments. Ensure pilgrims keep payment receipts and documents issued by the agency, as well as checking for additional charges.

UNDERSTAND THE REFUND POLICY IN CASE OF CANCELLATION

Besides checking the package and its price, inquire about the terms and conditions in the event of package cancellation or promised features not being provided. Make sure cancellation fees or compensation provisions are clearly stated to avoid any misunderstandings.

The Malaysian Ministry of Tourism states that cancelling a booked Umrah less than 44 days before departure may incur a cancellation fee.

BLACKLISTED AGENCIES

If you are unsure about a package, it’s advisable to check the list of blacklisted Umrah travel agencies.

May everyone practice these tips to avoid falling victim to scams. Armed with the shared knowledge, KOPETRO Travel & Tours Sdn. Bhd. aims to offer Umrah packages to those seeking to perform Umrah.

Click https://www.kopetrotravel.com.my/umrah/ to see more detail Umrah Package by KOPETRO Travel.

Don’t forget to follow our story in our social media KOPETRO Travel & Tours, Facebook: www.facebook.com/kopetrotravel  Instagram: www.instagram.com/kopetrotravel

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