First Travel customers must get refunds: YLKI
The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) has urged the authorities to open a crisis center to assist the 25,000 people who have allegedly fallen victim to a scam carried out by travel agent First Travel after reportedly paying millions of rupiah to go on umrah (minor haj).
"The Financial Services Authority [OJK] and the Religious Affairs Ministry have to try their best to ensure that these customers are helped," YLKI executive chairman Tulus Abadi wrote in a press release on Friday.
Tulus said the consumer foundation had received 22,000 complaints as of Friday related to the handling of umrah travel, with 18,000 of the complaints filed by First Travel customers.
Founded in 2009 by husband and wife Andika Surachman and Anniesa Desvitasari Hasibuan, the company initially offered regular domestic and international travel packages. It expanded to offer umrah packages after acquiring a permit from the Religious Affairs Ministry in 2011.
The couple was arrested on Wednesday by the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) following complaints from customers that their trips had been delayed.
"We appreciate the efforts of the law enforcement institutions in relation to this case, although it's actually too late, because there are so many victims already," Tulus said.
The YLKI has also urged the police to investigate two other umrah travel agencies, Kafilah Rindu Ka'bah and Hannien Tour and Travel, for allegedly inflicting financial losses on their customers. (hol)