Ryanair has issued a warning to its customers today over refunds. The budget airline has claimed third party websites are responsible for “blocking thousands of Ryanair customer refunds.” Ryanair has now launched a new way to help passengers.
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The Irish carrier recently announced plans to have 90 percent of all coronavirus-related refunds complete by the end of July.
At the end of June, around 50 percent of the refund claims for April had been cleared.
Ryanair has since confirmed that by July 15 all refunds for customers due to fly in April will be issued.
Then, by the end of July, the airline anticipates all May refunds will be cleared along with the majority of those claims made for June.
Today, Ryanair revealed it has introduced a new process and instruction video for those trying to get their hands on refunds.
The airline claimed a number of “screen scraper travel websites” had been blocking holidaymakers from getting their refunds.
Web scraping is a technique of extracting data from websites.
These “unauthorised” websites are said to have passed fake customer contact details to Ryanair.
The sites then added customer names to “virtual” credit cards which in turn block refunds being paid directly to Ryanair’s customers.
Ryanair said in a statement: “In recent weeks, the Ryanair Customer Service team has been inundated with complaints about these unauthorised screen scraper websites who refuse to deal with or assist Ryanair customers.
“Ryanair now calls on all customers who have been misled and overcharged by these unauthorised screen scraper websites to apply directly for a refund with Ryanair through the new “Customer Verification” form on Ryanair.com.
The airline claim this new “Customer Verification” option will help “thousands” of customers who have been unable to obtain a refund.
They blame the unauthorised screen scraper websites for “masking customer contact and payment details from Ryanair and then refusing to answer customers refund requests.”
Ryanair CEO, Eddie Wilson said: “We have been unable to deal with thousands of customers who booked through these unauthorised screen scraper websites because they provide false/fictitious customer contact and payment details when booking on Ryanair’s website.
“These anti-consumer practices should be investigated by consumer associations and regulators (CAA & CAR) to ensure that these unauthorised screen scrapers are forced to supply accurate customer contacts so that Ryanair can process customer refunds, flight changes and urgent travel notifications.”
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Wilson continued: “To protect customers, Ryanair has now created a simple online ‘Customer Verification’ process and instruction video that allows customers to get refunded directly by Ryanair.
“Customers should always book direct with Ryanair to ensure they receive the lowest fares as these screen scrapers mislead customers with hidden additional charges and provide fake contact/payment details which makes it impossible for customers to receive refunds or important travel information directly from Ryanair.”
On The Beach and Love Holidays were just two of websites accused of screen scraping by Ryanair.
Both have denied the claims. An On The Beach spokeswoman said: “On the Beach refutes these allegations. On the Beach books flights as an agent for its customers and Ryanair has all the information required to process and fulfil refunds back onto the card on which the flights were paid, which are then passed back to the customer without delay.
“Despite a requirement for airlines to refund flight monies within 7 days, On the Beach has been waiting for refunds for many months.”
A Love Holidays spokeswoman said: “As one of the UK’s leading online travel agents, loveholidays absolutely refutes the allegation that we have provided any fake customer information or deliberately delayed the receipt and processing of airline refunds to our customers from any airlines.
“We do book airlines on behalf of customers, with their permission. We are aware that some OTA’s use fake customer details, but we absolutely do not.
“We use customers’ email addresses and details in 100 percent of cases, and all communication from that airline goes directly to the customer. The refund comes to us because we pay the airline and we forward the refund on to the customer following receipt.
“We have introduced automated processes to speed up our refund procedures and where we receive cash refunds from airlines, we are committed that this payment will be processed to customer’s accounts within five working days of us receiving the funds from the airline into our system and we are consistently doing this.
“However, to date we have only received a very small percentage of the total cash refunds due from various airlines. We would welcome contact from any airlines to help the process of getting refunds to customers as quickly as possible.”
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