Thomas Cook and its affiliates, one of the UK's largest travel agent groups were called on to explain why costumers were charged inflated fares and surcharges.
Questions raised by Ryanair:
- It overcharged two consumers by 22% (£82), as they were billed a total of £457.82 for a £376 return fare.
- How can Thomas Cook explain or justify this overcharging of unsuspecting consumers and levying air fares which bear no relationship to the actual fares charged by Ryanair?
- Why these two consumers were also levied with an additional £160 in totally fictitious fuel surcharges when Thomas Cook knew/knows that Ryanair has always guaranteed no fuel surcharges ever, on any of its flights?
- Why, when these consumers queried these fuel surcharges has Thomas Cook refused to explain or justify them?
- How many other consumers have been overcharged, or suffered fictitious fuel surcharges?
Ryanair has copied this correspondence to the OFT, the AUC, the UK Department of Transport and the European Commission, to highlight the continuing abuses and mis-selling being engaged in by high street and online travel agents and unauthorised screenscrapers who continue to mis-sell to consumers by charging them inflated air fares and fictitious non-existent fuel surcharges. Ryanair again called on these consumer agencies to stop this mis-selling and unauthorised screenscraping. Ryanair's Michael O'Leary said
"This is a perfect example of the type of mis-selling scams being perpetrated by travel agents and screenscrapers (through unauthorised access to Ryanair's website) on unsuspecting consumers across the UK. Ordinary passengers are being booked on Ryanair flights, but are being massively overcharged anything up to five times the underlying airfare, and in this case of blatant mis-selling, consumers were also charged a totally non-existent £80 "airline fuel surcharge" each, when no such fuel surcharges exist. This is a clear case of Thomas Cook engaging in deception, mis-selling and fraud upon these consumers. Everybody knows that Ryanair guarantees not just the lowest air fares, but also no fuel surcharges today, tomorrow or ever.
"We now call upon the AUC, the OFT and the Department of Transport to explain what action they propose to take against Thomas Cook for this instance and against screenscrapers in general to prevent this type of blatant mis-selling and deception of consumers in what is nothing short of theft by these travel agents/screenscrapers against consumers. Ryanair wants to know how many trusting consumers were ripped off by Thomas Cook this year for fuel surcharges when booking Ryanair flights – when everyone, including Thomas Cook, knows Ryanair don't levy fuel surcharges.
"It is high time that this scandal was ended. The only way consumers can avoid being ripped off by these travel agents and screenscrapers is to book directly on www.ryanair.com,
where all passengers can be guaranteed the lowest possible air fares on every route, and will also be guaranteed no fuel surcharges today, tomorrow or ever".