ASA upholds Ryanair complaint

Ryanair has been banned from repeating an advert which failed to point out that consumers must use the airline’s payment card to avoid extra charges.

The advertising watchdog upheld a complaint against the budget carrier for failing to point out that booking fees could only be avoided by using Ryanair’s cash passport card, which costs £6, or a Mastercard pre-paid card.

The airline responded that a footnote on the advert for £14.99 flights to Malmo from Stansted, which appeared in February, made it clear how to avoid optional fees and charges.

But the Advertising Standards Authority pointed out that consumers were required to load the cash passport card with a minimum of £150 and that additional charges applied to its use.

“We considered such details to be material information which the consumer needed in order to make an informed decision about the advertised price,” the ASA said.

“We noted that consumers who were not in possession of the cash passport at the point of purchase could not immediately purchase tickets for the advertised price; rather they needed to apply for the card and await delivery.

“We were therefore concerned that that delay may result in consumers being unable to obtain the advertised price.”

The authority ruled that Ryanair breached the advertising rules “because the surcharge was not avoidable at the point of purchase, unless a consumer was already in possession of the cash passport, and because, in order to obtain the advertised price, consumers were required to pay using the cash passport, which was subject to significant conditions that the ad did not make clear”.

Ryanair said the initial £6 cost of the cash passport was immediately redeemable against the cost of the first flight purchased using the card.

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