Ryanair Ireland’s largest airline today (Tues 2nd Feb) dismissed false claims made by the Irish Travel Agents Association about travel agent refunds. Ryanair pointed out the factual position as follows:
Ryanair has not dealt with travel agents for over 20 years and does not permit travel agents or other unauthorised 3rd parties to make bookings on Ryanair.com. Any such travel agent bookings are in breach of Ryanair’s terms and conditions. Many travel agents making these unauthorised bookings are invariably misleading customers by charging them hidden mark ups or add ons, and in many cases they use fake passenger contact details and/or fake payment details. This prevents Ryanair from communicating directly with consumers during periods of disruption such as the Covid-19 crisis. This is precisely why Ryanair recommends that passengers book directly on Ryanair.com and avoid 3rd party travel agents. All customers who booked directly with Ryanair (i.e., Ryanair has their direct email and payment details) and who have requested a refund have received it. There is no backlog of consumer refunds in Ryanair.
However, a small number of passengers who booked through unauthorised 3rd party travel agents have not and will not receive refunds unless they request their refund by filling in the Customer Verification Form on the Ryanair website so that Ryanair may route any refund directly to the consumer rather than via 3rd party travel agents. This is to avoid many cases where travel agents, have not passed on refunds to the customer. Ryanair will not refund unlicensed 3rd party intermediaries who made unauthorised bookings in breach of Ryanair’s terms and conditions, and provided Ryanair with fake contact and/or fake payment details, solely so they could mislead the consumer with hidden or undisclosed fees and handling charges.
These unauthorised travel agents do not want passengers to find out about Ryanair’s Customer Verification Form so that customers do not find out that they have been duped into paying higher airfares (than Ryanair was charging at the time of their booking). If, as Mr Dawson of the ITAA claims, Irish travel agents “wish to get refunds for their customers”, then all they have to do is to ask those customers to apply directly to Ryanair, using Ryanair’s Customer Verification Form and Ryanair will refund directly to the customer the actual airfare that was paid by the unauthorised intermediary travel agent. This will expose the fact that many of these consumers have overpaid for tickets that were available at lower prices on the Ryanair.com website.
Ryanair urges consumers to always book directly with Ryanair (on the Ryanair.com website), and in all such cases they will always receive the lowest airfare, they will never suffer hidden fees or add ons which are being levied by many unauthorised Irish travel agents, and by providing their direct email and payment details they will always receive flight information and/or refunds promptly and directly from Ryanair.
A Spokesperson for Ryanair said:
“Irish consumers used to be at the mercy of travel agents for many years long before Ryanair started in 1985. Despite the fact that these travel agents or other 3rd parties are not authorised to make booking on Ryanair.com, this practice continues, regrettably with many travel agents using fake customer contact and fake customer payment details to mask the fact that they are overcharging unsuspecting customers for higher airfares or hidden add ons or fees for their valueless service. Ryanair’s lowest fares are always available on a first come first served basis to end-consumers on our website and this Covid-19 crisis has exposed the fact that many Irish travel agents have been overcharging consumers, for making unauthorised bookings on the Ryanair website and entering fake customer contact details and fake payment details to mask their hidden fees and add ons and their anti-consumer practices.”