A Which? survey has found Ryanair to be the worst-offending airline for refunding British customers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Eight out of 10 people whose flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic are still waiting on a refund, according to the consumer advice website
Of the Ryanair customers who were surveyed, 84% had not received a refund despite requesting one. This is in sharp contrast to customers of British Airways and Jet2, of which 23% and 19% respectively had not received refunds.
Which? also reported that 60% of easyJet customers were also still waiting to be refunded for their flights.
Countless changes to its handling of refunds and vouchers has led to widespread criticism of Ryanair, with many accusing the company of confusing customers.
“Despite initially telling customers it was processing refunds at the beginning of the crisis, customers reported that Ryanair provided refund forms that didn’t work, before attempting to force vouchers on passengers who had specifically requested refunds,” said Which?. “It also repeatedly changed the timeframe for receiving a refund, suggesting at one point customers may have to wait up to 12 months for their money back.”
The Guardian also reported that their consumer champions team had found Ryanair to be telling customers that their money could not be refunded due to payment systems rules and physical distancing measures.
One customer was told by a Ryanair representative: “Our claims and refunds team should do the refund procedures but they are working from home from where they are not allowed to process any refunds due to payment security regulations.”
A few weeks ago the Civil Aviation Authority notified airlines that they had to offer refunds as per the law, as opposed to offering credit or vouchers:
“Under the law, consumers are entitled to receive a refund for their cancelled flights, despite the challenges the industry is currently facing… it is important that consumers are given a clear option to request a cash refund without unnecessary barriers”.
Ryanair made a statement assuring customers that they would get their refunds, but these may be delayed until after the COVID-19 crisis.
“The process time for cash refunds is taking longer due to the fact we are having to process 10,000 times the usual volume of cancellations and have fewer staff available due to social distancing measures,” said Ryanair in a statement.
“Customers who choose not to accept a free [booking] move or voucher will be refunded in due course, once this unprecedented crisis is over.”
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