• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Ryanair to fight Italy customer service fine

AFP · 20 Jan 2015, 12:58

Published: 20 Jan 2015 12:58 GMT+01:00

"We note the ruling and have instructed our lawyers to appeal," the Irish airline said in a statement. The fine follows an investigation launched in June 2014 which resulted in the budget airline being given 90 days to end the "extreme difficulty" and high costs faced by passengers trying to reach a Ryanair employee to discuss their bookings.

The anti-trust body AGCM said most of the complaints it had received were from people who had found it difficult and unreasonably expensive to obtain reimbursements or alternative flights in the event of cancellations and get detailed bills for tax/expenses purposes.

Customers also complained that it was difficult to change bookings prior to flights and get information about arrangements for passengers in wheelchairs.

The competition authority acknowledged that Ryanair had partly addressed some of the issues raised by getting rid of a premium phone number for passengers requiring assistance with boarding, reducing the cost of its main customer service line and introducing customer support via online chat.

These steps were not deemed sufficient to avoid a fine although the authority said the amount imposed reflected Ryanair's efforts to improve customer service.

The fine is a setback for Ryanair's attempts to improve its reputation for customer service through its three-year Always Getting Better programme.

Launched last year, the initiative has seen the airline act to reduce the 'hassle' factor involved in its flights by introducing allocated seating, relaxing restrictions on cabin baggage and slashing charges for printing boarding cards at check-in desks.

The goal of such moves was famously summed up by company CEO Michael O'Leary when he said the airline had to "stop unnecessarily pissing people off."

The strategy has appeared to be working with Ryanair recently announcing a 32 percent increase in profit for the six month to September 2014.

Story continues below…

O'Leary, who once described customers who forgot to print their own boarding cards as "idiots", ascribed the improvement to "being nicer to people."

It is the second time in less than a year that the Irish carrier has been fined by the AGCM. In February 2014 it was ordered to pay €850,000 for mis-selling travel insurance on its website.

The regulator ruled that the company was not providing would-be purchasers of coverage with sufficient information, offering a product with disproportionately high excess charges and imposing administrative fees for refunds which were greater than the insurance itself.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gay civil unions finally become a reality in Italy
Italy became the last major country in Europe to recognize same-sex civil unions in May. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italy's first civil union has been performed and will be registered in 10 days' time.

Mussolini's region votes to criminalize fascist souvenirs
Souvenirs plastered with the face of fascist dicator Benito Mussolini. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The sale of trinkets and souvenirs bearing the image of Benito Mussolini has been outlawed in the region of Italy where the fascist dictator was born and raised.

New rescue plan sends shares Italy's oldest bank soaring
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo:Carlo Hermann/AFP

Shares in Monte Paschi di Siena (BMPS) soared on the Milan stock exchange on Friday, boosted by a possible new lifeline tabled by a veteran Italian banker and Swiss giant UBS.

Italy has expelled 35 Islamist terrorists in 2016: Alfano
Italy's Interiror Minister, Angelino Alfano. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Thursday told Parliament that 35 Islamists had been expelled from the country so far in 2016.

Venice Film Festival
Hollywood dominates Venice film fest line-up
The Golden Lion is the top price at Venice's annual film festival. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Just three Italian films are in the running for the Golden Lion.

Italy energy giant boosts 2016 profit forecast
Energy giant Enel revised its 2016 profit estimates upwards on Thursday. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian energy giant Enel on Thursday revised upwards its profit forecast for 2016 after first-half net profit remained stable despite a sharp fall in revenue.

Stress tests to show extent of problems at Italy's oldest bank
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace

Stress test results for Europe's top banks come out Friday and all eyes will be on Italy's embattled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) - the world's oldest bank.

Video
Tourists blame Google for drive in car-free Venice
Cars are not allowed to enter Venice. Photo: Screengrab/La Nuova Venezia

“Google Maps sent us this way.”

Italy launches hard-hitting campaign to put off migrants
Migrants arriving in Reggio Calabria, in southern Italy. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

People thinking about making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean are being encouraged to "make an informed decision" by a shocking Italian campaign.

Filthy Rome's rubbish problem 'fixed within a month'
Rome's new council say the city will be clean 'by August 20th'. Photo:Andreas Solaro/AFP

The heaps of rubbish on Rome's streets will be consigned to the dustbin of history next month. That's the plan, at least.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
Travel
Escape the heat at one of these beautiful Italian lakes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Why the UK is now officially crazier than Italy
Culture
How you can stay cool like an ancient Roman
Lifestyle
Food for thought: fight on to save Med diet from extinction
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
From asylum seeker in Italy to organic yoghurt entrepreneur
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Fifteen maps that tell the story of Italy
National
Why Italy might be the next big threat to the EU's future
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Politics
Post Brexit, less than a third of Italians want to leave EU
Politics
The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy
Culture
Eight wonderful things to do in Italy in July
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
British business owners in Italy feel Brexit jitters
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
2,576
jobs available