JOHOR BARU: A shipping clerk learned a painful lesson to pick only reputable travel agents in the future after her plans to perform the umrah (minor pilgrimage) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, were scuttled by an unscrupulous travel agency.
Noor Hizan Mohd Noor, 51, had booked a two-week umrah package for RM6,400, excluding the visa fee.
She deposited RM500 into the company’s account on March 15, followed with the final payment of RM5,900 made on July 7.
Noor Hizan said she and the other pilgrims from Taman Gaya in Pelangi Indah near here were supposed to leave for Mecca from KLIA on Sept 15.
“However, the company informed us the date of departure had been postponed to Sept 18, ’’ she said when met at the Johor Baru Consumer Claims Tribunal in Menara Ansar here.
Noor Hizan said she sensed something was not right when the date was again postponed, this time to Sept 25.
“In the end, our hopes of performing the umrah were dashed as we were cheated by the company, ’’ she said.
Noor Hizan decided to file her case with the Tribunal after she found out that many others had been cheated by the same company.
She said when they contacted the company’s office in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, a representative admitted the company had cash flow problems.
Apart from the Setapak office, the company also has offices in Temerloh, Pahang and Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.
Noor Hizan managed to serve the notice to the company’s office in Temerloh but it did not send a representative for the tribunal hearings.
Tribunal president Rashidah Abu Bakar ordered the respondent to return RM6,400 to the claimant within two weeks.
Unlike Noor Hizan, another would-be pilgrim, Syed Ali Syed Sahat was unlucky as he was unable to serve the notice to the Setapak office.
The 52-year-old contractor and his wife, Marsila Marzuki, 51, also from Taman Gaya, had paid RM19,600 including visa fees to the company for two umrah packages.
Like Noor Hizan, the couple was supposed to leave on Sept 15, but the trip kept getting postponed.
“We even went to KLIA on Nov 7, as the company told us that we would be leaving to perform the umrah on Nov 8, but that did not materialise, ’’ said Syed Ali, who had come to the tribunal office here.
In an unrelated case, a Federal civil servant is claiming RM6,700 from a workshop owner for a poor repainting job on his Toyota Vios.
Mohamad Faizul Mohd Hanafi said he had sent his nine-year-old vehicle to the workshop in Skudai after being involved in an accident.“A motorcycle rammed into the back passenger door on the right side of my car, damaging it beyond repair, ’’ Faizul, 32, said.
He sent the car for repairs a day after the accident and the workshop owner promised to replace the damaged door with a new one.
Faizul said he went back to the workshop two days later and was shocked to find out that his damaged door had been replaced with a second-hand piece.
“The owner claimed that it would be too costly to get a new door, ’’ he said, adding that the replacement door had dents and patchy old paintwork.
Faizul said he told the workshop owner to use a new door as the repair bill would be borne by the motorcyclist’s insurance company.
He then decided to leave the car at the workshop after asking for a whole-car repaint job, from the original black colour to metallic maroon.
“I had paid RM4,000 for the paint job but was not satisfied with the result as the new paint started to peel off bit by bit, ’’ he said.
Faizul found out the workshop had sent his car to another shop for repainting as it did not have the expertise.
He is claiming RM6,700 from the respondent, who was not represented at the hearing. The money includes the sum spent to have the car repainted at another workshop.
Tribunal president Khairul Azreem Mamat ordered the respondent to pay the sum to the claimant within 14 days.
Those who need assistance with regard to tribunal matters can call 07-2272828.
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