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Ryanair wins legal victory against ‘Claims Chasing’ solicitors

Ryanair Boeing 737 aircraft

Ryanair Boeing 737 aircraft

Budget airline Ryanair (FR/RYR) has won a court of appeal ruling that means it can communicate directly with customers bypassing what it describes as ‘claims chasers’.

Ryanair policy is that it will always communicate and directly pay any EU261 compensation directly to the claimant rather than to a company acting on their behalf and the court upheld this when it dismissed an application from Bott & Co Solicitors Ltd.

Bott & Co Solicitors claimed that Ryanair paying their customers directly meant they couldn’t recover their costs, which is usually around 40% of the compensation. But a high court ruling last year demonstrated that Ryanair’s claim process was simple enough that solicitors were not needed and bypassing the 3rd party was lawful. This was appealed by Bott & Co.

Lord Justice Lewison, who along with Lord Justice Simon and Lord Justice Lindblom, presided over the Court of Appeal hearing, stated that Ryanair’s claims procedure “enables a passenger to claim compensation with a minimum of effort” and endorsed the London High Court’s finding last year 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”.

Ryanair has reiterated its plea to customers with valid EU261 compensation claims to submit their claims directly to Ryanair and avoid “claims chaser” firms such as Bott & Co, , Hayward Baker, Sky Legal and Flightright, who it says can deduct over 40% of a €250 claim in fees.

Ryanair says that: “Customers with valid claims who claim directly from Ryanair will receive 100% of their EU261 compensation entitlement without the deduction of these excessive ‘claims chaser’ fees.”

You can claim EU261 compensation when your flight is delayed by over three hours or cancelled provided this was not down to caused by something outsides the airline’s control, such as whether or ATC strike.

Under EU261 regulations, passengers are entitled to up to €600 in compensation if their flight lands at their destination more than three hours late and for cancelled flights, you have the right to take an alternative flight with the same airline, or ask them to find an alternative route at their expense, to your destination, or cancel the flight and receive a full refund.

Speaking about the ruling Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “We welcome this confirmation by the Court of Appeal concerning last year’s London High Court ruling, which upheld Ryanair’s policy of communicating with, and paying EU261 compensation directly to, our customers. This will help prevent “claims chaser” firms like Bott & Co, , Hayward Baker, Sky Legal and Flightright, deliberately and needlessly dragging consumers through the courts so they can grab more than 40% of customers compensation, for providing no useful service whatsoever.

Adding that: “Where customers have a valid claim for compensation, they can make their claim directly on the website and avoid these excessive “claims chasers” deductions. Last year, we established a dedicated Claims team to process these valid claims within 10 working days and to make it as straightforward as possible for our customers.”

No stranger to EU216 compensation controversy, Ryanair is facing more legal action over its compensation rules as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is taking action against the airline over its refusal to pay EU261 compensation for flights cancelled or delayed as a result of strikes by its Pilots and Cabin Crews last year across Europe.

Ryanair claimed that strikes by its own staff were outside of its control and subsequently pulled out of a dispute resolution agreement with the CAA forcing the Authority to pursue legal measures which are still ongoing.

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