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News : Irish Last Updated: Mar 20, 2013 - 1:56 PM

Netherlands Consumer Authority fines Ryanair €370,000 for website violations
By Finfacts Team
Mar 20, 2013 - 11:34 AM

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The Netherlands Consumer Authority (CA) today imposed a fine of €370,000 on Irish airline Ryanair for four violations that were found in its online booking system. Ryanair offered airfares on its website that did not include all foreseeable and unavoidable costs such as fees and surcharges that must be statutorily charged. In most cases, consumers thus paid considerably more than the airfares that were initially displayed on Ryanair’s website. This is in violation of consumer protection regulations.

Bernadette van Buchem, director of the CA, said: "For consumers purchasing airline tickets, it is important that they know at the start of the booking process what they need to pay in any case. All costs that consumers cannot avoid paying should be included in airfares that are initially displayed. Any additional costs for extra services that consumers may want can be added during the booking process.”

The CA identified four violations:

  1. Ryanair’s airfares displayed on its website did not include all foreseeable and unavoidable costs;
  2. The online booking process did not offer consumers the option to review the information they entered and to correct any mistakes before finalising the booking;
  3. On its website, Ryanair fails to publish an email address, which makes it difficult to communicate directly with the company;
  4. Ryanair’s customer services only us English, but this was not mentioned anywhere on its Dutch website.

Ryanair has already revised the booking process. Advertised prices now include all foreseeable and unavoidable fees and surcharges. In addition, it is now mentioned that customer service is offered in English. With regard to the violations that have not yet been ended, the CA has imposed three orders subject to periodic penalty payments in order to make sure that Ryanair revises its procedures soon. These penalty payments could run to a maximum of €240,000 per violation.

Ryanair said the decision "is littered with errors" and that its website "fully complies with all EU and Dutch consumer protection regulations" - - note the tense!

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