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Ryanair passengers accuse airline of ‘blackmail’ after banned from flying over refund row

Angry Ryanair customers have accused the low-cost carrier of “blackmail” after it apparently prevented passengers from taking flights due to disputed refunds.

Customers of the Irish low-cost airline claim that they have been banned from Ryanair flights until they return money “refunded” for trips lost during the Covid pandemic.

Ryanair customers say the airline refused to reimburse them for the flights they were withdrawn from due to advice at the time from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) not to travel.

They turned to credit card ‘chargebacks’, a feature where credit and debit card users can reverse a disputed transaction, to claim their money.

But when the same customers tried to book new flights through the budget airline they refused to let them fly until they had paid the cash, a Money Saving Expert research found.

Some customers even claim that payment demands were met at check-in, just hours before the scheduled flight date.

Personal finance experts have described the decision to prevent people from flying due to the refund line as “outrageous”, while a Ryanair customer took to social media to accuse the airline of “blackmail”.

But Ryanair has defended the decision, saying it has the right to prevent passengers from flying if they owe money to the company.

Ryanair customers (pictured) say the airline refused to reimburse them for the flights they were withdrawn from due to advice at the time from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) not to travel.

Ryanair customers (pictured) say the airline refused to reimburse them for the flights they were withdrawn from due to advice at the time from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) not to travel.

What is chargeback and how does it work?

Customers of certain credit card companies, such as Amex, Mastercard, and Visa, can use the chargeback to claim disputed payments made on their debit, credit, and charge cards.

The process is generally used when a business rejects a refund. If requested, the card company will intervene to claim the money back from the provider’s bank.

The feature is particularly useful for customers when a business sinks in the time between payment and delivery of goods or services because the money is still recoverable from the supplying bank, although this is not always guaranteed.

But to use the chargeback, you must first show that you have tried to get a refund and that your request has been rejected.

Customers must submit a claim within 120 days of purchasing or paying for the service.

And it’s particularly useful when an item or service costs less than £ 100, beyond which the more powerful and legally backed Section 75 Consumer Credit Act is available.

The row between the airline and customers is about the chargeback feature available through payment cards.

Customers of certain credit card companies, such as Amex, Mastercard, and Visa, can use the chargeback to claim disputed payments made on their debit, credit, and charge cards.

The process is generally used when a business rejects a refund. If requested, the card company will intervene to claim the money back from the provider’s bank.

The feature is particularly useful for customers when a business sinks in the time between payment and delivery of goods or services because the money is still recoverable from the supplying bank, although this is not always guaranteed.

But to use the chargeback, you must first show that you have tried to get a refund and that your request has been rejected.

Customers must submit a claim within 120 days of purchasing or paying for the service.

And it’s particularly useful when an item or service costs less than £ 100, beyond which the more powerful and legally backed Section 75 Consumer Credit Act is available.

The rapidly evolving travel policy earlier this year left some tourists with difficult decisions to make about whether to fly.

Although some countries were designated as green or amber on the Department of Transportation’s travel list, at times the FCDO’s separate guidance was not to fly to these countries, often invalidating travel insurance.

It meant that while customers felt compelled not to travel, the flights kept going.

And Ryanair’s terms and conditions state that it does not reimburse customers who voluntarily choose not to travel on flights that are still being operated.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which recently dropped an investigation into Ryanair and British Airlines over complaints that they refused to grant refunds for missed flights in the Covid pandemic, says airline passengers are not guaranteed refunds. for flights when there is an FCDO warning. .

But he says such refunds “are not impossible.”

British Airways, Easyjet, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic told passengers who missed those flights that they can rebook or, in some cases, request a coupon in this scenario.

However, some customers, who wanted full cash refunds, used the chargeback to recover money for lost flights.

Now, the company is demanding money back from customers so they can continue using Ryanair.

Travel lawyers Coby Benson of Bott and Co and Colin Murphy of Leigh Day told MoneySavingExpert that the airline erred in prohibiting passengers from flying unless they paid back.

He said: ‘The question is whether or not there were’ reasonable grounds ‘for denying the boarding, and in this case I don’t think there are.’

Meanwhile, Mastercard and Visa told the website that while a retailer has the opportunity to contest a chargeback claim, the card company’s decision is final.

Amex, he reported, would not comment on this issue.

Guy Anker, deputy editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, described Ryanair’s decision to reject travelers’ flights as “outrageous”.

He said: ‘Some may feel sympathy for the airline as it incurred the costs of the original flights that were made and which the passengers chose not to take.

However, he has exhausted any sympathy for the way he has treated vacationers afterwards.

“The concern is that this could happen again, so if you have charged against Ryanair, think twice before reserving.”

He added: ‘But don’t let this put you off with the chargeback. It is still a very useful outline and we do not recall seeing an incident like this before.

“ Even if it’s to get money back from Ryanair, go ahead and choose another airline to fly later. ”

A spokesperson said: “ The many millions of Ryanair customers whose flights were canceled during the Covid-19 pandemic and who applied directly to Ryanair for refunds, which they received directly from Ryanair, will not be affected at all by these measures.

‘There is a small minority of passengers who bought non-refundable tickets on Ryanair flights that operated as scheduled during Covid-19, but who chose not to travel and then processed chargebacks through their credit card company.

These few passengers will have to pay off their outstanding debt before they are allowed to fly with Ryanair again.

“This unfortunate restriction applies to only a small fraction of the 150 million Ryanair passengers who decide to break their booking agreements with us each year.”

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