The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has criticised Ryanair for introducing a new online fee on its customers, calling it “quite puerile,” according to a newspaper report.
The low-cost airline last month started charging the five-pound (5.6 euro) fee per passenger for a ticket bought using a commonly-used Electron card, which had previously been free.
OFT chief executive John Fingleton has criticised the carrier for charging online customers for using a common type of bank card, adding it was operating within “the narrow letter of the law.”
Ryanair advertises taxes and other fees upfront but only mentions charges for paying by plastic at the end of a booking on the grounds that customers could escape the fee by using a less-common prepaid card.
“Ryanair has this funny game where they have found some very low frequency payment mechanism and say: ‘Well because you can pay with that (a more obscure card), then the charge is called optional’,” Fingleton said in an interview with the Independent.
“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’.”
He added: “On some level it’s quite puerile, it’s almost childish.”
Ryanair, which in November reported a surge in first half profit, hit back, saying its customers had no complaints about paying for the low airfares for flights throughout Europe.
“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, five pounds and 10 pounds,” said Ryanair’s head of communications Stephen McNamara.
The OFT is investigating the carrier, along with others and ticketing agencies, over online pricing and advertising, the Independent said.
Fingleton also questioned the automatic addition of insurance to flights by airlines such as Ryanair, unless customers opted out
Source: The Independent