At a time when a large segment of citizens and residents in the country are preparing to book travel tickets to take advantage of spending the long happy Eid al-Fitr holiday outside the country the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has received dozens of complaints from citizens and residents who said they were exposed to fraud by a well-known ticket booking platform claiming it is based in Kuwait, and it has a landline phone number which it uses to promotes its services.
The sources pointed out the fraud is not limited to citizens and residents of Kuwait, but went beyond to other countries, as hundreds of citizens and residents in Gulf and other countries are believed to have swallowed the bait, because the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has received emails from victims abroad, seeking help from the ministry to return their money from the ticketing platform, in the belief the website specialized in booking travel tickets is Kuwaiti and has a landline phone number for customer service, and since it has a government line, this means that the phone is licensed by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Communications, reports a local Arabic daily.
The sources confirmed that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is currently coordinating with the Public Authority for Communications and Information Technology, to take measures against the platform that may end up in closing the door on the platform and cancelling the Kuwaiti landline.
The sources said individuals who book airline tickets through international ticket booking websites, after choosing the travel destination and the date of the trip, the option to pay through a number of booking platforms appears and often this platform, which claims to be based in Kuwait, is the cheapest and the customers are tempted to swallow the bait.
After booking the ticket and paying the price, he/she receives a call or an e-mail a day or two before the date of the trip, and is told that the ticket prices have increased, and the person has to pay the price difference, which ranges between 10 to 30% of the total ticket amounts, or has the option to cancel the reservation.
In this case, the customer only has to pay the difference and has to option but to succumb to blackmail, and in the event the victim requests to cancel the reservation, the passenger is promised that the value of his tickets that was deducted from his bank account will be returned within a week, and when the customer service is called the answer is ‘there is a problem’ as a result hundreds or rather thousands of travelers have lost their money in this way.
The sources added when the customer sees that the ticketing platform writes on its website a Kuwaiti landline phone number, the customer will certainly conclude that the platform belongs to an officially licensed Kuwaiti company, as the Ministry of Communications cannot grant a landline phone number to a company without official licenses.