Ryanair lands booking fees on its prepaid card customers

by , Lead Investigative Researcher Money 8 November 2012
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
2 - 0
avatar

If you took out Ryanair’s Cash Passport to avoid paying £6 fees with the airline, Ryanair has news for you. The airline will soon start charging you extra to book your flight, just like everyone else.

Ryanair plane

Just over a year ago the airline announced that Ryanair Cash Passport prepaid card holders would not be subject to a £6 fee on flights booked with the carrier. Anyone using another prepaid card, credit or debit card would have to stump up an admin fee to book online.

The move coincided with pressure on the flight industry – and others – following the success of our super complaint on ‘rip-off’ card surcharges.

One year on and the budget airline has announced that it ‘regrets to inform [cardholders] that, as a result of decisions by the UK Office of Fair Trading, Ryanair Cash Passport card users will no longer benefit from avoiding the £6 admin fee for transactions made on Ryanair.com’.

Ryanair plays its trump card

However, one of the main reasons people took out Ryanair’s card was to dodge paying the extra charges. Simon told us on a previous Conversation: ‘I only got the card to avoid the admin fee’.

Although we may prefer not to pay these fees at all, if they were integrated into the headline price (which Ryanair has said it will do) at least you’d be able to see what you’re paying for upfront. It’s also likely that if all airlines did this, the competition would keep prices low anyway.

When Ryanair introduced its Cash Passport the airline marketed the card as offering ‘huge savings’. It stated that the card would avoid the £6 administration fee that other cardholders would have to pay. So, you can understand the ire felt by several cardholders who received an email earlier this month telling them that the £6 fee was being imposed as of 1 December.

And our commenter Michelle, who took a punt on the card, is annoyed that she’ll be charged to make transactions on it:

‘I cannot just close my account and withdraw the money that is still on the card. However I claim the money back – it will cost me.’

That people will now have to pay to use their Ryanair card for the purpose they took it out is bad news. That they have money on a card they don’t want is even worse.

39 comments

Add your comments

avatar

nfh

Ryanair expected the majority of its customers to pay the £6 “admin fee”. The fee does not reflect Ryanair’s costs of processing a card payment, but was introduced purely to legitimise a misleading indication of price. By excluding the £6 fee from fares, it allows Ryanair to advertise fares at £6 less than reality. The majority of customers who pay the fee have been subsidising the minority who don’t. Given that this minority benefits from £6 off fares purely to satisfy a legal loophole, it’s no bad thing that this arrangement has come to an end with the impending closure of the loophole.

avatar

Sam

Considering that this change in terms is at the consumer’s detriment, surely customers will be able to cancel their accounts and withdraw their funds without incurring any fees?

avatar

Bernadette in Oxford

This is disgraceful, thank goodness I have nearly used all my credit up. However I will still use Ryanair as it is the cheapest way to travel to Ireland.

avatar

Michael Diver

This is the 3rd different card I obtained in order to avoid administration charges on my 6-10 annual return journeys on Ryanair and I use the card exclusively for my Ryanair travel. I am now left with a few hundred pounds credit on my Passport account which I presumably cannot close.Remember that the minimum amount of top-up is £150!! With all the other fiddles that “O’Dreary” gets up to e.g. “no taxes”, “no booking fees” he could easily cancel these charges to passengers who obviously are a loyal bunch of travelers (they would not have gone to the trouble of taking one of these cards except for Ryanair travel)

avatar

nick davies

Don’t go on Ryanair. It’s quite simple. There are always alternatives. I’m not prepared to turn a blind eye to their business practices for the sake of a cheap ride. If you think they treat their passengers badly, they are just as dreadful to their staff. This company doesn’t deserve our money and if everyone boycotted it they’d soon change their ways.

avatar

Ian Sanderson (RM3)

Nick
There are some routes where Ryanair have a monopoly, such as daily flights from Stansted to Brno. (Wizzair does Luton to Brno, but not every day, and Luton is quite a bit farther from where we live.) If we have to deal with Ryanair and the like, as we do, you just have to keep reading the small print and doing the TOTAL sums for each journey, including deciding how you pay, how you check in and what bag you will take and weighing it carefully each time before you go to the airport.

avatar

Roberto

I travel a lot on low cost airlines and always compare all the different total costs including looking at alternative airports plus train or coach fares, at both ends of my destination. Where I have an option, due to Ryanair’s approach to total disregard of it’s customers and continuing ways to disguise the total cost I will pay more to travel with one of the other airlines which do not take this approach and even travel to other airports to use alternative airlines.

Where I have a choice I prefer to pay a bit more not to use Ryanair.

avatar

Kris

This news is only for people using ryanair cash passport in UK. I am from Poland and we can book the flights using any mastercard prepaid card. After 1st Dec Ryanair will still offer mastercard prepaid card zero booking fee. Ryanair cannot charge 6 pounds in Poland. In Poland is price war between ryanair and wizz air. Ryanair offer lots of flights from Warsaw Modlin to Oslo,Stockholm,Mediolan,London,Brussels and more for just 20pence. Wizz air doing same destinations for 80pence. If ryanair add 6 pounds to the ticket price they’ll loose so many people. MOL- boss of Ryanair said few weeks back. We are always cheaper than Wizz air. If Wizz air will sell tickets for free ,we’ll pay you extra to flight with us. Sorry for bad english.

Hello Kris, thanks for the comment. That’s a very interesting insight to hear how the same business can differ across different countries. Makes you question whether the £6 is actually needed to pay for the administrative cost of checking in online…

avatar

nfh

Patrick, there’s one £6 fee for checking in online and another £6 fee for paying by card. Although both fees are unjustifiable, we’re discussing the latter.

Right you are nfh… it’s easy to get muddled with all these fees. My question should read ‘Makes you question whether the £6 is actually needed to pay for the administrative cost of booking online…’ Thanks.

By the way, since you are one of our regular commenters, I’d like to see you with an avatar so that you become a more recognisable part of our community. You can upload one here: http://conversation.which.co.uk/your-account/ :)

avatar

nfh

Patrick, thanks for the suggestion. I’ve added a very simple avatar to make myself more recognisable. On a related subject, how can I capitalise my user ID from nfh to NFH?

avatar

Jose

Kris can you tell me where to get any mastercard prepaid in Poland? I was refused one in Bank Citi (the one for wizzair). I live in Warsaw, thanks

avatar

Giles Cattermole

Am I being simple? Or is this not a case of fraud – and therefore subject to criminal prosecution?

If people were invited to invest in the ‘Cash Passport’ on the basis of the financial conditions it offered, and if those conditions are not now to be honoured, I should be calling M’Learned Friends, and inviting MO’L to meet me in the Old Bailey . . . . .

avatar

nfh

Am I being simple? Or is this not a case of fraud – and therefore subject to criminal prosecution? – No, see Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. However, Ryanair do appear to be in breach of Regulation 5(5)(b) of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

avatar

Snowdin

The one thing you can depend in this world is that Ryanair will reliably some way of taking the **** out of it’s customers. As I go out of my way to avoid flying with them I can watch with a mixture of amusement and disbelief. Apart from monopolies on certain routes, the only other benefit according to their boss is punctuality, though that has involved landing after declaring fuel shortage emergencies on occasions. I presume that’s another negotiating tactic from the school of hard knocks.

avatar

rarrar

I do wonder whether punctuality figures can be “massaged” by specifying flight times longer than actually needed thus improving the chance of arriving ahead of schedule !
My only 2 flights recently with Ryanair arrived 30mins and 15 mins ahead of schedule even though we left as scheduled.

avatar

nick davies

If I wanted to go to Brno I’d fly to Prague and get the train from there.

avatar

Ian Sanderson (RM3)

Actually, we’ve been making about 5 return air trips annually from Stansted to Brno for the last dozen years, for family reasons. The quickest and easiest way from Prague airport to Brno is by coach, not train, and usually involves a change at Florenc coach station. Prague airport is quite a long way out, on the wrong side. So it takes about 2.5 hours longer than going direct to Brno, where the airport is on a city bus route, and our family prefer to pick us up anyway. Before Ryanair flights to Brno we have used flying to Vienna and onward by train, and flying to Prague and onward by coach. (Vienna and even Bratislava are closer to Brno than Prague is.)
So Ryanair have an advantage, even when they are more expensive.

avatar

sandie

Is the following comment from the article correct? i thought Electron had already been added to the list of cards that Ryanair charges for?

‘Anyone using another prepaid card, credit or debit card, aside from a Visa Electron card would have to stump up an admin fee to book online.’

Hello Sandie, you’re right. Ryanair does charge for Electrons, our mistake. I’ve made an edit. Thanks.

avatar

Jose

Good morning, anyone out there can please tell where to get a prepaid mastercard in Warsaw-Poland?
In advance, very much appreciated.

avatar

Kris

Cheapest option to buy:

http://allegro.pl/show_item.php?item=2785136281 this is top up card

http://allegro.pl/show_item.php?item=2785136281 different issuer

First one cost less than 4 Euro . Managing card online available for both cards.

To top up your cards (both) you need to do bank transfer from bank account in Poland (up to 24 hours and no minimum amount)

If you living in UK and want book the flights from Poland witouth fee get this one:

Fair FX EURO Card

http://www.fairfx.com/cardselection top up from uk bank account instant ( 10 minutes ) min amount about 50 pounds (60 euro) . Very good exchange rate.

avatar

Kris

sorry the second one is about 4 euro.

avatar

Jose

Fantantic! thank you

avatar

Pat g

I had £158.04 left on my cashpassport when I was told of the rule change, I deliberately spent £157.54 on it to empty the account so that I could close it. When I rang to terminate the card I was told that the account could not be closed due to a remaining balance of 50p on the card. I explained that I’d left 50p on there to cover the admin fee for UK transactions and that I’d checked the fees on their website immediately before making the payment to ensure that 50p was adequate as I didn’t want any accidental overdrawal and fee. I was told that the cashpassport terms and conditions had recently been changed and the 50p fee uk transaction fee had been removed. I wasn’t notified of this change. In the end we agreed that the 50p would be donated to their charity so that the account could be closed. Their T & C did say at the outset that the admin fee concession could be withdrawn. I also noticed that if the account is unused for over 6 mnths then fees for holding the account can be taken (think it was £2 or £2.50 per month – but check it out) so don’t just leave your money in these accounts without using them

avatar

sandie

does anyone know what would happen if i don’t actually close the account – just leave it dormant with very little money in it?

avatar

Tiny

Just checked Ryanair Cash Passport “Terms and Conditions”, they still show the 50p charge for UK transactions, pity as it would be a means of withdrawing the money on the card to avoid their cash out fee to close the account.

avatar

Tiny

To answer the question “does anyone know what would happen if i don’t actually close the account – just leave it dormant with very little money in it?”

You will be charged £2.50 a month inactivity fee 6 months after the last transaction, if the account goes negative, then charged a further £10. Do not know what happens when the account goes negative, do they come after you to bring it back to credit or do they then blacklist your credit rating, Going dormant does not sound like a good idea! Ryanair school of life lesson in being shafted again!

avatar

Carolyn

Well done Ryanair – you always find a way of getting more money out of your customers than you advertise!!! I shall just have to use up my £100 or so on my card and grin and bear it. But let me tell you that if I ever have a chance of using a different airline for my frequent trips between UK and France I will take it!!

avatar

Tiny

For something that will have a major effect on many people, the media and forums are very quite, maybe we know that we have no recourse to complain.

Before now, it was stated that there had to be one method of free payment when paying for a service, Ryanair made us all jump through hoops to avoid the Ryanair admin charge, and changing from one type of card to another, but now it seems that they could charge what they like no matter the payment method.

The OFT says that as long as they show their fee from the start then they can do what they like, also that Ryanair is complying with their requirements!!

But how have they complied, the text that states that you have to pay an admin fee is quite small on their home page which states: “FARE INCLUDES A £6 ADMIN FEE WHICH CAN BE AVOIDED IF YOU PAY WITH RYANAIR’S CASH PASSPORT CARD”, but you have to really look to find it, it is still a surprise for many people to come to the end to find that they still have to pay £6 admin fee for each flight leg and for each person even when paying with a debit card.

The OFT says that as long as the fee is in the headline price, it is okay, but it is not in the headline price but in small text underneath, nothing has changed in Ryanairs advertising of fares and their RED HOT FARES is not the final bill!! The final bill has admin fees added.

Why am I getting hot under the collar. I travel every week with Ryanair, from December 2012 the fare advertised on the page where I select what flight I choose is not the fare that I pay but will have £6 for each flight leg added. What has changed? When I select the flight at that specific fare, that is what I expect to pay, but that is not the case,

Ryanair is blaming the OFT for redrawing the UK Cash Passport free admin option, but they can still provide the free admin as stated by the OFT but Ryanair is using it as a CASH GRAB.

Unfortunately I will have to pay as this is the most economical method for me to commute each week, I just solely wish there was an economical alternative!

avatar

John

So well done Which!
A perfectly straight forward system for the Ryanair Cash Passport users has been fouled up by your meddling. What is so difficult for booking a low cost flight that it has to be surrounded by rules and regulations like this?

We think Ryanair is using the agreement it reached with the OFT over surcharges as an excuse to remove the cash passport ‘discount’ for UK customers. There is nothing in the agreement that stipulates it should do this.

avatar

Giles Cattermole

M.O’L is just using the OFT is a scapegoat, to enable Ryanair to close a loophole in their “Rip-off Fence”

[This comment has been slightly edited due to it breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

avatar

sandie

why is there always the need for people to be so rude in their comments?

Hi Giles, please don’t make your comments personal – try and stick to our commenting guidelines: http://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines Thanks

avatar

gtb40

My view is perhaps different. I find Ryanair very convenient as they fly from my local airport to the destination in Spain that I fly to on a regular basis. I always followed Ryanair rules and as a regular customer have never been caught out by their charges. I had a prepaid Visa, then a prepaid Mastercard then the Ryanair cash passport and have saved hundreds of pounds in fees over the years by ‘playing their game’. I didn’t fall for priority boarding, pay for luggage or buy anything on the aircraft. Now, due to Which? I have to pay the booking fee’s there is no way around it, so I am really upset with the action of Which?, they certainly were not representing my views. It is actually similar now with Easyjet as they are putting a large fee upfront which they were not before. So again, due to Which, my flights have risen. Message to Which? – The next time you consider campaigns please think about the unintended consequences

avatar

bo

Very interesting what Kris said about flights from Poland. Anyway my problem is with all the people that signed the petition regarding the fees. Because of these people I am no longer able to use my Ryanair cash passport card, if you all didn’t complain then it probably wouldn’t have pushed Ryanair to stop these charges. Oh well to late now. As for those not wanting to pay excess luggage I suggest you google ‘Rufus Roo jacket’.

avatar

brat673

Surcharges, Booking Fees. I don’t want to hear or read about them. They should be BANNED. After all they are in business and want your custom. Lets have straight forward dealing. There should be a headline price. If you out to legislate for something make it watertight!

Back to top

Post a Comment

Commenting guidelines

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked

Tired of typing your name and email? Why not register.

Register or Log in

Browse by Category

Consumer Rights

760 Conversations

9423 Participants

26959 Comments

Energy & Home

631 Conversations

6965 Participants

23851 Comments

Money

806 Conversations

5918 Participants

15420 Comments

Technology

764 Conversations

7350 Participants

19079 Comments

Transport & Travel

597 Conversations

4728 Participants

13334 Comments