According to Belgian consumer organisation Test-Aankoop, low cost airline Ryanair is violating a recent decree of the European Court of Justice, which forbids online sellers to automatically include a cancellation insurance.
Are hidden options allowed?
While booking, Ryanair asks to state the country of residence, but travellers applying to this automatically buy a cancellation insurance. Only when you they at the fine print, possibly after they have already 'been had', travellers find the option "do not want one" hidden in the long list of countries to choose from.
Test-Aankoop claims this practice is “misleading" and that the choice has to be made more explicit. The original decree – regarding travelling site ebookers.com – ruled that it is illegal to automatically check the "I want an insurance" box. Ryanair didn't go quite that far, but in the opinion of Test-Aankoop, the Irish site did not comply to the verdict of the court, which states that “customers must be made aware that supplements are optional”.
It's not the only time that Ryanair takes the European rules lightly in its reservation process: choosing a seat during online check-in for instance is a paid supplement, but not everyone is aware of this.
Only 10% falls for it: “not misleading”
Ryanair does not agree with the label 'misleading', as - according to the company - only one in ten travellers actually take the cancellation insurance. Ryanair claims that, through its low cost policy, it does more for its customers than "other companies who have high rates and fuel surcharge. Such costs are inevitable, but customers aren't made aware of them either.
Translated by Sanne Raspoet