Irish Travel Agents Continue To Mislead Consumers About Their Refunds

03 Feb 2021

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline today (Wed 3 Feb) rejected false claims made by the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) in their press release yesterday.

  1. Ryanair is not “happy” to take bookings from unauthorised agents who are overcharging consumers for their non-existent services. Such unauthorised bookings are in breach of Ryanair’s T&C’s.
  2. Many of these agents are charging unsuspecting consumers up to €50 per booking, at a time when Ryanair’s avg. fare is just €35 (see attached samples of fees), our lowest fare is €9.99.
  3. The website does not permit 3rd parties or intermediaries to make bookings on behalf of consumers, because this allows them to overcharge and mislead consumers for their non-existent service.
  4. Ryanair owes no money to any travel agent, because it does not deal with any travel agent.
  5. Any refund for Covid cancelled flights is not due to unauthorised travel agents, but rather directly to the passenger. The CAR have confirmed that “any payments such as reimbursement or compensation must go directly to the passenger”.
  6. Ryanair has established a Customer Verification Form to allow such passengers (who booked via 3rd party unauthorised agents) to obtain their refunds directly from Ryanair. Many travel agents are attempting to block or delay this process because these direct consumer refunds expose the fact that travel agents have been overcharging customers for Ryanair flights.
  7. These refunds are paid by cheque solely to avoid repeated cases where refunds were issued to travel agent credit cards, but have not been passed onto consumers (see attached example). Cheque refunds is currently the only way Ryanair can ensure that flight refunds to consumers are directly received by those consumers without being delayed or subject to deductions by unauthorised 3rd party agents.

A Spokesperson for Ryanair said:

“Ryanair notes the false claims made by the ITAA and individual travel agents on RTE yesterday. These false claims were made by travel agents (such as Galligan Travel) who happily charge their customers up to €50 in fees for booking a €9.99 air fare on the website. These agents are well aware that such 3rd party bookings on the website are in breach of Ryanair’s terms and conditions, since we want to ensure that our lowest fares are always made available to consumers and not to unauthorised 3rd party agents.

The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the anti-consumer activity of unauthorised travel agents levying excessive or hidden fees or overcharging unsuspecting consumers for air fares, which are higher than that which they pay to Ryanair (see attached example). It has also shown that customers who book directly with Ryanair will receive flight information and refunds directly from Ryanair to their credit or debit card, whereas customers who are overcharged by these unauthorised 3rd party agents, can wait for many months due to the anti-consumer actions of these unauthorised agent (see attached example).

If any Irish travel agent was truly concerned about their customer refunds, then all they need do is advise their customers to complete Ryanair’s Customer Verification Form, and the requested flight refund will be issued immediately to the consumer, but not to, or via, these unauthorised, overcharging travel agents.

When it comes to short haul, low priced Ryanair flights, travel agents add no value, offer no service, yet in many cases charge more in fees than the underlying air fare for doing nothing of value for Irish consumers.”