We have dozens of reports of similar issues on the MoneySavingExpert (MSE) forum and on social media, and we spoke to three passengers who were told they couldn’t fly until they got their money back. Amounts range from £ 400 to £ 630 and have been chargebacked to passengers for flights canceled due to government recommendations.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, please see below for help with your options.
In addition, the situation could change according to the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) closed an investigation against Ryanair and British Airways after the couple refused refunds on flights that passengers were unable to use due to lockdown restrictions. The CMA believes airlines should pay, but it closed its investigation last week because of the huge cost of enforcement and the lack of clarity in the law.
While the passengers we spoke to Chargeback refunds for choosing not to fly based on the recommendation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) against non-essential travel to their destinations in the past year.
The MSE campaign team reported the three cases to the CAA, the aviation regulatory authority.
What is chargeback and what happened here shortly?
With a chargeback, you can ask your credit or credit card company for a refund for a service not performed, which will then be returned to the retailer’s bank. While in this case the flights were carried out themselves, the passengers had the feeling that they could not take them due to the extraordinary Covid circumstances at that time. For full help on the scheme, see our Refund instructions for chargebacks.
The chargeback is central as the three passengers we spoke to about the program with all the refunds requested would not be offering refunds on the first flights booked for summer 2020.
While it’s unclear whether or not Ryanair should have made these refunds on the flights in 2020, the airline then banned them from the flights they booked for 2021 unless they paid back the chargeback refunds given to them by their card companies (American Express in all cases) according to the rules of the scheme. Lawyers agree that this was unreasonable.
Passengers were able to book this year’s flights without any problems, but only found out about Ryanair’s claims at check-in or when rebooking.
Ryanair’s fraud department was involved in at least two cases, which, according to passengers, further worried and put pressure on the situation.
Ryanair offered to return the money for this year’s flights if the three customers fail to repay the chargeback – but in one case a passenger lost hundreds of pounds in accommodation, rental cars and Covid testing costs if she did not travel.
There is a similar scheme to the chargeback called Section 75, but it is a law that gives you more rights. However, this only applies to purchases costing £ 100 or more on a credit card. If something goes wrong in this situation, the card company is jointly liable with the merchant to ensure that you get your money back. See our Section 75 guide for more.