Ryanair today (27 July) called on customers to always book directly on the Ryanair website or App following further evidence of anti-consumer practices by certain Online Travel Agents (“OTA”s).
Ryanair has been notified by customers of a bogus “discount” scam, where customers purchase “discounted” Ryanair flights through a scam OTA, which has no affiliation to Ryanair.
This bogus OTA uses the customer’s payment details to secure their flight booking, before storing the customer’s payment details for fraudulent use at a later date.
Ryanair cautions customers to be wary of this scam and only book Ryanair flights on Ryanair.com / Ryanair app.
Customers who mistakenly booked through an OTA can now also check whether they have been overcharged by using Ryanair’s Price Checker tool which was launched in April.
The OTA business model operates by applying mark-ups to flights and flight products, which means that customers can pay up to 40% more for the same offerings, than if they had booked directly on the Ryanair website or app.
In addition to overcharging customers, OTAs may also block Ryanair from receiving essential customer contact and payment details by providing Ryanair with fake email addresses and virtual credit cards to complete bookings.
Earlier this year, Ryanair introduced the “Verified Seal” to further protect customers.
Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady, said: “This latest OTA scam is yet another reason why passengers should always book direct.
“In response, we launched the Verified Seal on the Ryanair website and app earlier this year to help customers avoid the pitfalls of booking with online travel agents, who often overcharge, and may provide incorrect customer information which prevents Ryanair from dealing directly with its passengers.
“This was launched in conjunction with our Price Checker tool, in an effort to bring to light the unnecessary mark-ups that online travel agents are charging customers.
“Over 50,000 customers have used the tool and next time these customers will book directly to avoid being overcharged.
“Ryanair will continue to raise awareness around the issues associated with OTAs to protect customers from these unlawful practices and we call on consumers to be wary of fake offers of discounted Ryanair flights and to always book directly on the Ryanair.com website / app to access the lowest fares and direct Customer Care.”