Italian watchdog fines Ryanair over unfair refunding practices

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On May 24, 2021, the Italian Antitrust Authority imposed a fine of €4.2 million ($5.1 million) for European low-cost airline Ryanair over unfair refunding practices. 

“The company [Ryanair – ed. note], once the travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 emergency ceased, had not reimbursed passengers the cost of tickets for flights canceled after June 3, 2020,” read the Italian Antitrust Authority’s statement. 

Ryanair was engaged in “seriously improper conduct”, according to the regulator. The air carrier avoided reimbursing passengers whose flights were canceled even after the COVID-19 related travel restrictions were lifted. Instead of refunding the price paid for canceled tickets, Ryanair continued issuing vouchers for travelers to choose another flight without the option of monetary reimbursement. 

Recently, the Italian Antitrust Authority had also sanctioned other European low-cost airlines easyJet and Volotea for unfair refunding practices. The Italian watchdog fined British low-cost carrier easyJet €2.8 million ($3.4 million), while Spanish airline had to pay €1.4 million ($1.7 million).

In addition to the payment, all three budget air carriers would need to present the measures of how they intend to comply with the regulator’s provision.

 

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