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More than eight in 10 Ryanair passengers still waiting for refunds

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Written by: Emma Lunn
28/05/2020
Which? has found Ryanair to be the worst of the UK’s biggest airlines for refunding money for cancelled flights.

The majority of Ryanair passengers who have asked for a refund for a cancelled flight during the coronavirus crisis are still waiting for their money back, according to Which?

The consumer group surveyed nearly 2,800 airline customers that had flights cancelled since mid-March as a result of coronavirus, to find out about their experience with their airline.

Of those surveyed, more than 1,600 people told Which? they asked their airline for a cash refund.

More than eight in 10 (84%) Ryanair customers who asked for a refund told Which? they had still not received their money back.

Ryanair’s approach to refunds

Just 5% of Ryanair customers surveyed said they had their money returned to them within seven days – the time frame that EU carriers are legally obliged to process refunds within. Only one in six (16%) Ryanair customers have received a refund at all.

Ryanair customers have continuously complained to the consumer champion about the airline’s approach to processing refunds, with numerous changes to its approach to refunds confusing customers of their options.

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 cash refunds.

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.

Last week it was claimed that some Ryanair staff were telling customers attempting to get their money back via the debit card chargeback process that this was “fraudulent” and could result in them being blacklisted by Ryanair. The airline claimed it was human error and not the airline’s policy.

Other airlines

Easyjet customers also reported finding it difficult to get a refund. Just one in seven (14%) Easyjet customers received a refund within seven days, and around three in five (63%) are still waiting for their money back.

In contrast, a quarter (23%) of British Airways customers and one in five (19%) Jet2 customers are still waiting for their money back, with four in 10 (39%) BA customers receiving their money back within the legal time frame, and three in 10 (29%) Jet2 customers refunded within the seven day window.

BA has previously been criticised for its approach to refunding customers, removing its online form for requesting a refund and instead directing customers to a phone line where they are often unable to speak to someone due to high call volumes.

Low trust in travel

Which? recently revealed that trust in the travel industry had reached an all-time low, with data from its Consumer Insight tracker showing that trust in airlines and holiday companies has dropped to its lowest score on record, following airlines’ handling of refunds for cancelled flights.

Which? has launched a tool to allow consumers to report their airline to the regulator if they have been unable to get a refund for a cancelled flight, and is encouraging people to share their experiences.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, says: “We have heard from thousands of frustrated passengers who have told us they are finding it almost impossible to get refunds they are legally entitled to from airlines, with some having waited months now without a penny returned to them.

“Some airlines are doing much better than others at refunding their customers, proving that while these are indeed difficult times for the industry, withholding customers’ money from them is simply inexcusable.

“The regulator and government cannot sit on their hands any longer. The CAA must urgently hold airlines that are brazenly breaking the law to account, and the government must set out how it will support the industry where necessary if airlines are unable to refund their customers without fear of going under.”

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