Ryanair has reaffirmed its call on customers to book directly with the airline through its website and app in its latest effort to halt ‘screen scraping’ practices by online travel agents (OTAs).
The carrier says it has “further evidence of anti-consumer practices by certain online travel agents” and that the airline had been notified by customers of a bogus “discount” scam where customers had purchased Ryanair flights through a third-party operator with no affiliation to the airline.
This”bogus OTA” then uses the customer’s payment details to secure their flight booking, before storing the customer’s payment details for “fraudulent” use at a later date.
Ryanair Price Checker
Ryanair recently introduced a Price Checker tool that allows customers who booked through a third party to compare what they paid versus how much the airline got for the purchase.
The carrier says the tool has so far been used by 50,000 customers.
It also claims that some OTAs apply mark-ups of up to 40 per cent on Ryanair fares.
To counter this, Ryanair launched the ‘Verified Seal’ which shows customers a branded tick when they book their fares through the Ryanair website or app.
“This latest OTA scam is yet another reason why passengers should always book direct. Online travel agents are selling our flights but have no commercial agreements with us to do so,” said Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady.
ITAA Rejects Ryanair Claims
Ryanair’s ongoing claims that OTAs ‘screen scrape’ Ryanair fares without permission have repeatedly been critiqued by the travel industry.
In April, ITAA president Pat Dawson dismissed Ryanair’s claims, saying: “Currently there are several court cases pending on Ryanair’s assumption that they can ban travel agents from booking Ryanair flights.
Our member travel agents are not ‘screen scrapers’ looking to overcharge or withhold refunds from customers; the Ryanair website is a public domain where anyone can make a direct booking and look up the price of the flight; travel agents do not conceal flight costs from customers.”
Nor do they overcharge customers with hidden fees or add-ons. Any service fees or handling charges are clearly communicated with the customer, and we are disappointed by the insinuations made today, as we have the highest respect for our customers.”
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