CMA launches action against British Airways and Ryanair over refunds

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Ryanair is grounding the majority of its fleet.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether British Airways and Ryanair have broken consumer law by failing to offer refunds for flights customers could not legally take.

The CMA has today opened enforcement cases into both firms and written to them detailing its concerns. The move comes after the CMA opened an investigation into the airlines sector in December 2020 following reports that consumers were being denied refunds for flights that they could not legally take.

During periods of lockdown across the UK, British Airways and Ryanair refused to give refunds to people that were lawfully unable to fly, with British Airways offering vouchers or rebooking and Ryanair providing the option to rebook.

The CMA is concerned that, by failing to offer people their money back, both firms may have breached consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket. It is now seeking to resolve these concerns with the companies, which may include seeking refunds, or other redress, for affected customers.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “While we understand that airlines have had a tough time during the pandemic, people should not be left unfairly out of pocket for following the law. Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. We believe these people should have been offered their money back.”

British Airways and Ryanair now have the opportunity to respond to the CMA’s detailed concerns.

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