CONSUMER watchdog Which? claims Ryanair is lying about its record for refunding customers who had flights cancelled due to Covid. The consumer group s
CONSUMER watchdog Which? claims Ryanair is lying about its record for refunding customers who had flights cancelled due to Covid.
The consumer group say the budget airline’s claims about refunding every passenger who booked with the airline until the end of June are untrue – with some customers still out of pocket.
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The accusation has turned into a full on spat between the two companies, with Ryanair now accusing Which? of lying.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary hit back at Which?’s claims on BBC Radio 5 Live last week that passengers are still waiting for refunds from flights cancelled due to the pandemic, instead insisting “we have refunded everybody who has asked for a refund” up to July.
But Which? has claimed this is untrue and said it has heard from Ryanair customers who are still waiting for refunds they requested for trips grounded up to six months ago.
Some of those who requested refunds have received vouchers instead, Which? claims.
By sending vouchers in the first instance even after customers have requested a refund, Which? said, Ryanair is placing the burden on its customers to apply twice for the money to which they are entitled.
Ryanair has claimed Which? is lying but the consumer watchdog insisted to The Sun that it has the proof.
‘They may be cheaper but we will fly with someone else in future’
CAFÉ owner Warren, 44, was looking forward to an Easter break in Tenerife with his partner and two kids when the pandemic hit in March.
The 44-year old dad from Hertfordshire told The Sun that he requested a refund on 23 March after the flight, due to leave on 4 April, had been grounded due to the coronavirus outbreak.
He received an email on 28 March confirming his email had been received but then heard nothing despite chasing on 9 April.
On 11 May he finally got a response from Ryanair in an email, seen by The Sun, that included a voucher for £2,028.80 but no instructions on how to exchange this for cash.
He tried to query this a few times on Ryanair’s online chat but the queue was too long and then he saw tweets showing Michael O’Leary’s comments to BBC Radio 5 Live and got in touch with Which?.
His money has since been repaid but only after Which? intervened.
Ryanair said Warren had not requested a refund despite receiving his flight voucher in May
Warren said: “There was no link at the bottom of the email saying I could refuse the voucher and claim a refund instead.
“Ryanair may be cheaper and more convenient but we would now look to find another airline first when we can next go on holiday.”
It contacted some of the customers who had responded to O’Leary’s BBC Radio 5 Live comments on Twitter to say they were still owed refunds.
Which? spoke with around 16 customers and had also analysed more than 12,000 complaints about flight refunds from passengers in July and found that more than four in 10 were about Ryanair.
There are also Facebook groups dedicated to Ryanair refund complaints with thousands of members and several posts attracting 20 to 50 comments each in some cases from customers saying they are still waiting for refunds.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: “We have had more complaints about Ryanair’s handling of refunds than any other airline, with some passengers still struggling to get their money up to six months after their flights were cancelled.
“Airlines are facing a serious financial crisis but they are also facing a crisis of trust.
“Claiming all passengers who have requested a refund have received it when that’s not true is hardly going to help matters.
“Ryanair now risks adding insult to injury by refusing to refund passengers who cannot fly this month because of the latest lockdown.”
But Ryanair has hit back, describing the claims by Which? as “false and malicious.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “All Ryanair passengers who have requested a refund since our offices reopened on 1 June, have now received these refunds.
“There is no backlog of refunds.
“Ryanair has also put in place a procedure whereby customers of unlicensed screenscrapers can apply directly to the airline to receive their refund.
“It is notable that Which? remains silent on the illegal behaviour of these screenscrapers who use fake emails and virtual credit cards to overcharge and rip off customers.”
Under EU law, which still applies in the UK, airlines must refund passengers within seven days of cancelling a flight from any EU airport once the passenger requests the refund.
Vouchers should not be automatically issued.
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Airlines instead are required to obtain the signed consent of passengers agreeing to accept a voucher.
It is not the first clash between Ryanair and Which?.
The airline regularly features in releases about poor refund services, extra fees and earlier this year the consumer watchdog complained about claims in an advert by Ryanair where it said it had the joint lowest carbon emissions per passenger.