RYANAIR has blocked passengers who received reimbursements via American Express on flights affected by COVID-19, from 2020!

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An investigation by MoneySavingExpert (MSE) revealed that RYANAIR has blocked the access of passengers who took advantage of a "chargeback" option from American Express and managed to recover their money on the flights affected by COVID-19, from 2020 .

In this context, RYANAIR says that it was fooled by these passengers, and the anti-fraud department found that several passengers took advantage and recovered their money even though they were not eligible.

The story is as follows:

  • The passengers bought plane tickets for the summer of 2020, but chose not to travel following the advice given by the authorities who were against non-essential travel at that time, to the chosen destinations.
  • The passengers asked RYANAIR for a refund, although the company's flights were not canceled. RYANAIR refused to make the payment, and the passengers turned to the American Express card issuing institution, having activated the “chargeback” purchase protection system. This system allows card companies to recover money from a merchant's bank if the customer has not received the paid goods or services.
  • Amex agreed for the passengers to recover their money, although some requests were challenged by RYANAIR.
  • The passengers recovered the money and booked other tickets for 2021. But they found out that they will not be able to travel until they have reimbursed the amounts stolen abusively, according to the company's decision. Ryanair requested a refund of those refunds before allowing them to check in. The amounts vary between 400 and 650 pounds.

Did RYANAIR do the right thing?

Let's take a look at the company's refund rules. According to MSE, it is a "gray area" when it comes to reimbursing money to customers in the current context. The Competition Authority (CMA) says no refunds are guaranteed for flights operated even if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) warnings are in place, but says "they are not impossible".

right MoneySavingExpert, Mastercard and Visa say that “although the merchant has the opportunity to appeal, the decision of the card company is final. However, if the merchant imposes additional restrictions on customers, this is outside the repayment agreement with the bank. Amex has not confirmed its position on the issue.

If we analyze punctually, the situation set a precedent. RYANAIR could ban you at any time if you request refunds even when you have rights. The problem is that every airline has the right to refuse boarding any passenger under different pretexts.

"The concern is that this could happen again, so if you have requested a refund against Ryanair, then think twice before booking again with this company. You have official complaint channels that you can use to try to get rid of your "debt", such as an official dispute resolution body. But don't let this discourage you from claiming your rights. It is a very useful scheme and we do not remember ever seeing an incident like this.Said Guy Anker, deputy editor at MoneySavingExpert.com.

If you find yourself in this scenario, you have a few steps to follow. First of all, make a complaint to RYANAIR. If the company's decision is not favorable, you have the option to pay the reimbursement to the company and thus get rid of the blockage or you can turn to the competent authorities. You can even go to court, but no one can guarantee your success.

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