Ryanair - puerile and childish, according to the OFT

4 January 2010

Bitterwallet - Michael O'Leary welcomes families to Ryanair

Happy New Year crimefighters! Let’s start 2010 with a clean slate and a fresh outlook… and kick off with an attack on Ryanair!

The attack comes from the chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading who has pulled the gloves off his tongue and given Sky Marshall O’Leary six-nowt around the chops for the airline’s credit and debit card booking charges.

Ryanair recently closed the gate on customers using Electron cards without incurring a charge while booking their flights, switching the free option to MasterCard pre-pay, which barely anyone uses or has even heard of. Gah!

Now John Fingleton of the OFT has called Ryanair’s tactics ‘puerile’ and ‘childish’ in a brilliant no-holds-barred attack during an interview with The Independent.

Fingelton said: “Ryanair has this funny game where they have found some very low frequency payment mechanism and say: 'You can pay with that.' It's almost like taunting consumers and pointing out: "Oh well, we know this is completely outside the spirit of the law, but we think it's within the narrow letter of the law". On some level it's quite puerile, it's almost childish.'

The OFT head honcho added that the practice by Ryanair and others of automatically adding insurance to flights for customers to opt out of was a legal 'grey area'.

You’d expect a response from the shameless airline and Ryanair’s head of communications duly roll-up roll-upped: “Ryanair is not for the overpaid John Fingletons on this world but for the everyday Joe Bloggs who opt for Ryanair's guaranteed lowest fares because we give them the opportunity to fly across 26 European countries for free, £5 and £10.”

Problem is, they almost need a degree in computer science in order to pull it off.

TOPICS:   Travel   Consumer Advice

18 comments

  • zeddy
    If Ryanair just said, "look, we need to make money on the flights to survive." and were upfront with the charges they apply and simply put them on the flight - £10 cheapest, wouldn't people find that more palatable?
  • DavtT
    I have generally supported Ryanair over its charging policy and travel regularly with them. I do think they need to add the credit/debit card charge onto the flight cost now as their is no longer any viable alternative. I used the Visa Electron method but this is no longer free and theyneed to rethink as they can't provide a free alternative.
  • Rich
    I think out of all the Gov agencies the OFT is probably the only one which fights big twatish companies so normal people get a better deal. If only it wasn't for the shite court systems in this country we would have better banks too. I could imagine ryanair taking the OFT to court over these "accusations" and them actually winning. I thought the OFT were the gov, since when do they need court permission to force companies in this country to play fair it's their job!!!
  • callum
    They are upfront about the charges. It's impossible to book a flight without either accepting or rejecting the charges, and after all their publicitiy, surely any idiot knows about these charges now? RyanAir is the only airline that has allowed me to fly abroad and back for 2p (including all charges) - that more than makes up for it.
  • rod d.
    perhaps once you could but surely now electrons been given the heave-ho it'll be £5.01 for the charges plus any 1p flight you might be lucky enough to find.
  • jim t.
    i hate ryanair with a passion i will use easyjet or the train ( if in the uk) than give my hard money to the scum of ryanair. love to see them go bust.
  • Rob
    I thought there was some legislation in the pipeline where the price they advertise is the price you pay. Of course that would require a certain amount of common sense that is seldom found inside the M25.
  • Tim
    Point is their flights are cheap , if they let a family of 5 books flights with a single 5 pound credit card fee, it would mean that single passengers would end up paying more. May not be fair but keeps prices down
  • Nobby
    > I thought there was some legislation in the pipeline where the price they advertise is the price you pay. There is, it is just that Ryanair get around it by selling you the flight for 1p, and the other optional services that you require such as paying using your own choice of card for a fiver. If you want to avoid th charge, you need to get a pre-paid mastercard, which may be free, or may cost you more, depending on your circumstances.
  • singhster
    Another great investigation from the OFT. End result, slagging off RyanAir. How about imposing fines, removing the loopholes, or something that might actually make a difference? Calling a firm puerlile isn't going to change anything is it?
    • Andy D.
      @singhster - It isn't an investigation but an interview with a national newspaper. Unofficial and far more candid than you'd expect from someone in the OFT chief executive's position.
  • james d.
    anyone heard of entropay?
  • kev
    I think alot of this revolves around a €10 levy introduced by the Irish government last year, which effectively charged people €10 every time they left the country. It's almost impossible to get a Visa Electron over here, so they're changing the fee-free payment method so not be hitting every person flying out of Ireland with a €20 double-whammy. (btw, several shopping centres over here in Dublin have replaced their gift cards with a pre-paid Mastercard, abd I wouldn't be surprised if some in the UK eventually follow suit)
  • singhster
    Thanks Andy, I usually get so riled by the OFT I don't read the details. I'll be more careful next time!
    • Andy D.
      @singhster - I think it's their new powerful, effective, shoot-from-the-hip direction. Like Joe Pasquale suddenly doing a load of jokes about crack.
  • Using B.
    [...] Avid Bitterwallet reader Emma has been in touch with tales of using Ryanair gift vouchers to avoid credit card fees – the hot topic of conversation of the Office of Fair Trading right now. [...]
  • Ten B.
    [...] Ryanair get the thick end of the OFT boss’s tongue. Yee-ouch! [...]
  • Pow! B.
    [...] He’s now sent his two page response to the OFT via the Independent, who originally conducted the interview with chief executive John Fingleton. Sky Marshall O’Leary accuses Johnny “the fingers” Fingleton of making [...]

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