I read in a local newspaper that Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil ” welcomed Ryanair’s decision to refund any departure tax collected by mistake.” He was referring to tax collected by Ryanair for flights taking place after November 1st. The last Government budget had significantly revised the departure tax following fears that it would be ruled illegal under EU law.
One reader commenting on the article asks how to contact Ryanair since they are “notoriously” difficult to get through to. She is right. Ryanair’s customer care policy is a farce and the company goes through great steps to create a huge distance between itself and the consumer – especially the unsatisfied consumer.
All this might change following a case at the ECJ this month (Case C-298/07) in which the court insisted that a company had to offer customers a rapid, direct and effective means of communication, in addition to its electronic mail address. Ryanair until now deems it sufficient to have one telephone for inquiries staffed from 9am to 5.45pm and absolutely no email contact. Thanks to the Court’s interpretation of the EU’s E-Commerce Directive this may change in the coming weeks.
If you ask Ryanair they will tell you that they have a 24/7 fax line open for any refund requests. Whether they will answer any eventual emails to an eventual email address they may create remains a moot point. Still. Progress. A bit like having a departure tax removed a couple of years too late.
From the Court decision:
Article 5(1)(c) of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) must be interpreted as meaning that a service provider is required to supply to recipients of the service, before the conclusion of a contract with them, in addition to its electronic mail address, other information which allows the service provider to be contacted rapidly and communicated with in a direct and effective manner. That information does not necessarily have to be a telephone number. That information may be in the form of an electronic enquiry template through which the recipients of the service can contact the service provider via the internet, to whom the service provider replies by electronic mail except in situations where a recipient of the service, who, after contacting the service provider electronically, finds himself without access to the electronic network, requests the latter to provide access to another, non-electronic, means of communication.