Passengers who booked European tour packages with a travel agency in Al Ain have been duped after a staff allegedly absconded after cancelling the tickets, and pocketed the refunded amount of Dh180,000.
To their utter shock, many realised they were cheated only when they presented the ticket at the airport check-in counter.
At least eight passengers have filed police complaints against Majestic Travels seeking refund of their money. A case has been opened with the Public Prosecution.
Hamad Saleem, a UAE national who is one of the victims, told ‘Emirates24|7’ that he lost Dhs38,000 as he had booked a 12-day European tour package. “I had booked the tickets in August and was scheduled to travel for two weeks immediately after Eid Al Fitr holidays. I paid the package price inclusive of everything and the travel agent gave me a receipt for the same. He asked me to come the next day to collect my tickets. But when I turned up at their office, I was informed that a staff named Syed Safeer who issued the ticket had absconded with the money,” said Saleem, a student.
Another victim, who did not want his name mentioned, said he had booked a package to Switzerland worth Dh40,000. “I was planning to take my family on a vacation and the agency had booked me on Etihad airways. It came as a shocker when I was told by the airline staff that my ticket was already cancelled,” said the UAE national from Al Ain. He also has filed a case with the Al Ain Police.
When the owner of the travel agency was contacted, he said the travel office is being run by a Pakistani though the licence is in his name. “I had an agreement with him stating that he can run the agency. And I have proof in the form of rent cheques that he has issued after he took over office."
This accused is a relative of the Pakistani national. "But now he has washed his hands off saying that he has nothing to do with the running of the agency,” said the owner who requested anonymity.
However, he added that he is trying to settle the case by refunding the amount to all passengers, but is resorting to legal measures to bring the culprit in front of the law. “The licence is in my name.
So I have to take the responsibility. When I verified the complaints, I realised that Safeer has cancelled the bookings without informing passengers and I think he has fled to Pakistan after pocketing all the money,” he added.