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Ryanair feels heat from UK regulators over credit card fee

Dec 02, 2012 12:34 am

Skift Take

Ryanair’s getting a bit cheeky with the Office of Fair Trading, but the airline’s addition of a new fee to its potpourri of fees is hardly a surprise.

— Dennis Schaal

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Ryanair has clashed with fair trading officials over plans to introduce a new charge on all bookings made using a credit card.

In a statement issued late last week, Ryanair said that the two per cent fee – which will be effective from December 1 – will allow it comply with a recent ruling by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

But the Government body rejected its claim.

“We have not required any airline to introduce new payment charges, increase their credit card charges or scrap any discounts they wish to offer,” said an OFT spokesman. “We took action to make sure that debit card charges are included in the headline price and credit card charges are transparent and not sprung on shoppers towards the end of the booking process.”

The no-frills airline was quick to issue its own assessment of the OFT’s response. “Ryanair is disappointed, but not surprised, by the OFT’s attempt to distance themselves from their anti-consumer rulings,” said a spokesman. “Before the OFT imposed these baseless changes, airlines could partner with card providers to allow their cardholders the exclusive advantage of avoiding such fees.

“As the OFT has removed our ability to help passengers avoid fees through exclusive partnerships perhaps they may wish to pay these fees on the consumers’ behalf.”

Ryanair already charges an “admin fee” of £6 per flight per person on all bookings. This charge has always been avoidable for those customers who pay with a Ryanair Cash Passport – leading many to assume the admin fee is simply a card charge by another name. However, passengers who pay for their flight with a credit card will have to pay both charges from December 1.

The airline also announced that passengers who pay with a Ryanair Cash Passport will no longer be exempt from paying the admin fee.

Ryanair’s other charges include a 25p per person, per flight “ETS Levy”, introduced in response to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme; a £2 per person, per flight “EU 261 Levy”, which it says covers the cost of compensating passengers for delays; and a £6 per person, per flight “Web Check in” fee.

How Ryanair’s fares escalate

Return flight from London Stansted to Marrakesh

Out: Feb 3

Return: Feb 7

1 x adult = £46.48

EU 261 Levy = £4

Web check-in = £12

ETS Levy = 50p

Headline fare = £62.98

One checked bag (15kg limit) = £30

Reserved seating = £20

Admin fee = £12

Running total = £124.98

Credit card fee: 2% of £124.98 = £2.50

Total fare = £127.48

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