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Travel industry news

25 Nov 2016

BY Sophie Griffiths

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TRFBLI

Ryanair claims victory after German court rules against OTA

A court in Germany has ordered OTA eDreams to display the final price of a flight at the beginning of the booking process – including all the surcharges that it levies.

Court concept - scales and gavel

The court also prohibited eDreams from charging excessive credit card fees and has said it must offer a payment option that doesn’t incur a charge.

Ryanair issued a statement welcoming the news, stating that the regional court of Hamburg had ruled eDreams had ““violated consumer protection law”, and was “overcharging customers on payment fees”.

The low cost carrier has been engaged in a number of legal cases across Europe against such websites, which it describes as “screenscrapers”. Ryanair claims they prevent consumers from being subjected to extra charges, and it wants to ensure that it has “appropriate contact details to communicate with its customers”.

In the statement the carrier insisted that many of these websites “continue to cause problems for Ryanair customers and/or fail/refuse to pass on vital information to both customers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, which has resulted in missed flights and repeated problems for customers.”

Legal proceedings are continuing in the Irish High Court against both Google and eDreams. Ryanair said it wanted to stop consumers being misled by the advertising of non-existent Ryanair fares on the eDreams website and Google search adverts.

This month the CAA forced eDreams and Opodo to change their Google adword practices, website appearance and headline prices, following submissions by Ryanair.

The airline insisted it had “no issue with OTAs who display Ryanair’s fares in a transparent manner”.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “We welcome this Regional Court of Hamburg ruling preventing eDreams’ unlawful practices and anti-consumer behaviour.

"This is an important victory for consumers, particularly those who have been subjected to additional fees at the hands of screenscraper websites such as eDreams and we will continue to pursue these websites to prevent Europe’s consumers from being misled.

"It’s important to note that Ryanair has no commercial agreement whatsoever with eDreams.”

 

An eDreams Odigeo spokesperson said: "This initial ruling is still subject to legal process and appeal and it is therefore too early for us, or anyone else, to comment. We invest in ensuring that our customers in Germany value and trust our service.

"Ryanair are desperately trying to stand in the way of the millions of people using online travel agent sites like ours, to get the best deal and the most convenient combination of flights possible. They are actually threatened by the fact that close to half of our customers book a combination of flights which cannot be booked on any single airline website."

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