UK CMA Announces Action Against British Airways And Ryanair Over Refunds

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority or CMA Wednesday said it has launched action against airlines British Airways PLC, and Ryanair PLC over refunds.

The move comes after the CMA opened an investigation whether the two British airlines have broken consumer law by failing to offer refunds for flights customers could not legally take.

The CMA said it has opened enforcement cases into both firms and written to them detailing its concerns. CMA's investigation into the airlines sector was initiated in December 2020 following reports that consumers were being denied refunds for flights that they could not legally take.

The agency noted that British Airways and Ryanair refused to give refunds to people that were lawfully unable to fly during periods of lockdown across the UK. Instead, British Airways offered vouchers or rebooking and Ryanair provided the option to rebook. Ryanair told that they repaid a small number of people having reviewed the specifics of their cases.

By failing to offer people their money back, the CMA is concerned that both firms may have breached consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket.

It is now seeking to resolve these concerns with the companies, which may include seeking refunds, or other redress, for affected customers. Only a court can decide whether a breach has occurred.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said, "While we understand that airlines have had a tough time during the pandemic, people should not be left unfairly out of pocket for following the law. Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. We believe these people should have been offered their money back."

British Airways and Ryanair now have the opportunity to respond to the CMA's detailed concerns.

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