Norfolk woman slams Ryanair over flight cancellation refund
PUBLISHED: 16:18 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 May 2020
A woman has said she is livid with the “appalling” treatment from Ryanair while she fights for an illegally overdue refund on a cancelled flight.
Denise Sore, from Fakenham, was due to fly to Faro in Portugal on April 28 to visit her father for her birthday.
But Ryanair cancelled the flights, which cost £192.72, on April 8 due to coronavirus.
Three days before the cancellation, the 58-year-old had applied for a refund with a doctor’s letter due to a need to self-isolate.
Under EU regulation 261/2004, which still applies, if a flight is cancelled a refund must be issued within seven days.
But one month after the initial refund request Ms Sore has still not received any refund which she said had left her feeling cheated.
She said: “I’m hurt and upset and it is just the last thing I need. I am just about managing without the money but it is not fair and it is money I could really do with right now. It is just bad and appalling treatment.”
Ms Sore said every week since the cancellation she had called Ryanair customer services and spent hours on the phone, costing around £20, to no avail.
She was also asked to apply for a refund again on Friday through an online form, but she said the form did not work.
Ms Sore said: “The whole system doesn’t make sense and the process is disgusting. The fact the form didn’t work has just made me feel angry and frustrated all over again.”
Ms Sore, who was a regular customer with Ryanair and takes up to three flights a year, has vowed to never use the airline again.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said they were giving customers all the options under EU regulations including cash refunds, but added 10,000 times the usual volume of cancellations and fewer staff due to social distancing measures were delaying the process.
They added: “Customers who choose not to accept a free move or voucher will be refunded in due course, once this unprecedented crisis is over. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank our customers for bearing with us.”
What are customer’s rights?
Philip Lumb, partner and litigation solicitor at Clapham and Collinge in Norwich, said the current law was likely not being enforced due to the unprecedented situation, the problem of scale and the government’s priorities.
But he added customers had several options to try and claim a flight cancellation refund.
He said: “If a voucher or alternative flights isn’t acceptable ask for a refund, ideally over the phone or in writing or email. If there is not an immediate response the next recourse is travel insurance. However, if you’ve taken out travel insurance after the pandemic the risk of cancellation isn’t covered.
“The next option is the bank. Debit cards holders can ask for a charge back, but the bank is under no legal obligation to do so. On a credit card, however, a charge back falls under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which makes the credit card company jointly liable with the airline company - so they should pay out.
“Another option is to pursue the small claims procedure via the courts. People can also issue proceedings but they would have to factor in court and legal costs and delay, as it is 12 or 18 months before you can get in front of a judge to get the case heard.”
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