Martin: ‘We hope you’ll ensure no one is out of pocket’
Martin has written to both Ryanair and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) asking for action to be taken. You can read his full letter to Michael O’Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair, below (and read his letter to the CAA here):
Dear Mr O’Leary,
I am writing to alert you personally about what seems to be an important and serious consumer rights abuse by your airline. I know you have over the last few years stated you want to make Ryanair “a nicer airline”. I hope you are able to deliver on that promise in this case.
Sadly my personal letter to you is our last resort. We have been raising this issue with your press team since December. Yet the engagement and response we’ve had has been flaccid. There is a seemingly blasé attitude to customers who feel hard done by. Therefore we have also today submitted a dossier of compelling evidence of over 160 complaints to the Civil Aviation Authority.
These customers tell us they have been penalised for incorrect surnames on their bookings, despite them having correctly entered these details at the time of booking. This error repeatedly seems to not be the fault of the customer, yet Ryanair has been charging those affected £115 to rectify what seems to be its own mistake.
The behaviour of your firm, in refusing to refund customers who have been affected or saying they can’t travel, does not seem to be the behaviour of a “nice airline”. I am sure you will be shocked to hear this has happened – and will want to rectify it – rather than waiting for regulatory engagement.
From the evidence MSE has collected, a clear pattern has emerged, likely indicating a systemic error:
- Passengers were booking flights for a second person (or more) with different surnames, for example their partner, or for a group of friends.
- These customers consistently claim Ryanair’s booking system automatically changed their companions’ surnames to be the same as the lead passenger’s or account holder’s surname.
- Those who didn’t spot the error within Ryanair’s 24-hour grace period for free name changes have been left facing a £115 charge to change it to the correct name – many have already paid it.
- Some customers have had to rebook their flights entirely as this was cheaper than paying the charge.
We hope you will find out what led to the problem, prevent it reoccurring, and ensure those impacted are not left out of pocket. If you feel our evidence is wrong, and there is no technical problem, then we would welcome a detailed explanation of why this has happened on such a huge scale.
I look forward to your response.
Founder & Chair, MoneySavingExpert.com