Ryanair has attacked “claims chaser” firms after winning a High Court case over flight delay compensation.
Europe’s largest budget carrier successfully defended a claim by ‘no win, no fee’ law firm Bott and Co Solicitors.
The solicitors had tried to secure money from the carrier to recover fees it believed were owed from clients who decided to deal with Ryanair directly.
The airline said it welcomed the London High Court ruling upholding Ryanair’s policy of paying EU261 compensation directly to passengers.
The court dismissed an application by Bott and Co to indemnify it for any fees that it cannot recover from customers who have been paid compensation directly by Ryanair.
Judge Edward Murray, presiding over the case, said that “Ryanair has established a straightforward and easy to use process for its passengers to make their flight delay compensation claims, either online or by correspondence, without the assistance of a third party”.
Bott and Co is to appeal against the decision.
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “We welcome this London High Court ruling upholding Ryanair’s policy of communicating with, and paying EU261 compensation directly to, our consumers.
“This will help prevent ‘claims chaser’ firms like Bott and Co, Fairplane, Hayward Baker, Sky Legal, Flightright, and Flight Heroes, deliberately and needlessly dragging consumers through the courts so they can grab more than 40% of customers’ compensation, for providing no useful service.
“Where customers have a valid claim for compensation, they can make their claim directly on the Ryanair.com website and avoid these excessive ‘claims chasers’ deductions.
“As part of our 2018 Always Getting Better customer plan, Ryanair has established a dedicated claims team to process these valid claims within ten working days and to make it as straightforward as possible for our customers.”
David Bott, from Bott and Co, said: “We are very disappointed in the judgment in our case against Ryanair as we believe it is wrong and we will be appealing the decision.”
He added: “This latest judgment is, of course, a setback for the freedom of choice of passengers in getting help on their compensation claims in an area of law that is not without its complexity.
“We have always offered the ‘direct to airline’ approach for our customers and provide free letters of claim on our website with a free flight delay checker for passengers to check their eligibility under the regulation.
“Despite this, thousands of passengers choose to use our paid service rather than having the hassle and additional delays of dealing directly with the airline.
“With no intermediary, who is expected to hold airlines to account?
“Our track record of taking airlines all the way to the Supreme Court for passenger rights speaks for itself.”