Abu Dhabi: More than 200 residents have been cheated out of thousands by a tour company in Abu Dhabi.
Make My Tour (MMT) approached residents in malls and asked them to fill out forms for a chance to win a prize.
Once families went to claim that prize they were offered five star travel packages at cheap rates.
Residents who signed up parted with between Dh1,000 to Dh30,000 and were then unable to avail of any of the benefits and weren’t offered discounts, leaving them shuttling between courts and government offices.
The tour company has since closed its offices and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has also pasted complaint notices on its door dated September 5 and September 23. The DED notice reads: “Based on complaints received against you [MMT], it’s requested to contact consumer protection department within two days from the date of issuing this notification.”
One of those affected by the scam, Balu Jacob, said, “I was cheated out of Dh30,000 and there are more than 200 people who gave been money and were cheated by Make My Tour.”
He believed that they might start another company in the UAE with same people.
“Somehow they have to be stopped so that other people should not be cheated.”
Many of those affected, mostly Indian residents have now complained to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the DED, said Jacob.
SM, who paid Dh19,000 for a package, said, “Initially we were called and informed that we had won a lucky draw and were requested to come to their office. We were then offered 70 days of five star hotel stays all over the world.”
The contract explained that visas and sightseeing was included.
“We paid the entire amount Dh19,000,” said SM.
Following many visits and calls to their office the company never booked stays however. Instead SM was offered a cheque for Dh7,000 as refund, which bounced.
SM filed a case with the police and civil court, and a first hearing will be held on November 13.
Another victim, Gorve Kumar, paid Dh10,000.
“They called to say I had won a lucky draw and once I visited their office they introduced me to their tour packages,” he said.
“They made it attractive so I took one package for 10 weeks holiday for Dh18,000 plus Dh1,000 registration.
“I paid them Dh1,000 in cash for registration and half of the contract amount at Dh9,000.
“When I asked them to book holidays for me though they asked for extra money, but have had nothing in return from them yet,” he added.
Zubair Mohammad, who was also scammed, said, “I got a call to say I had won a gold coin in a lucky draw. They then offered us tour packages and I took one for 14 days at Dh4,200. After a month, I tried to chat with them through WhatsApp and called, but found the number was disconnected.
“I called their office number, but got the same response. I even went to their office in Najda street but found it was already closed and there were DED letters stuck to the door,” he added.
Mohammad Abdul Jabbar, another victim, said, “As a rough calculation, from those victims of this scam who gathered in the park recently, which was around 16 people, we found most had paid between Dh4,000 to Dh30,000 on various packages and the amount was reaching Dh250,000.
Gulf News tried to contact the company but got no reply via phone or email.
No comment has been forthcoming from the DED as yet either.