Ryanair boss hits back at 'false claims' by watchdog
Published 19/01/2010 | 05:00
RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary has made an uncharacteristically restrained response after being slated by competition watchdogs for stinging customers with sneaky credit card charges.
The airline was described as "puerile" and "almost childish" earlier this month by the Office of Fair Trading in the UK, with its chief executive -- Irishman John Fingleton -- accusing Ryanair of "almost taunting" its customers with its €5 fee on credit-card payments.
Airlines are legally obliged to advertise compulsory fees up front, but Ryanair only adds its booking fee at the end of the booking process, on the basis that passengers can avoid it by using a prepaid Mastercard.
"Ryanair has this funny game where they have found some low-frequency payment mechanism and say: 'Well, because you can pay with that (the charge is optional)'," Mr Fingleton said on January 4.
"It's almost like taunting consumers. It's quite puerile, it's almost childish."
Mr O'Leary has now replied, accusing the regulator of bias. "The false claims are indicative of a continuing and inappropriate bias by the OFT against Ryanair," Mr O'Leary said.
"Ryanair's pricing policies are fully compliant with current legislation," he added.
Mr O'Leary also complained that the OFT had failed to take action against three firms, including British Airways and EasyJet, who he claimed were ripping off the public.