• 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
Generations of glamour unite to toast Bottega Veneta
US star Lauren Hutton takes to the runway with the Bottega bag from American Gigolo. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Hollywood icon Lauren Hutton joined Gigi Hadid on the catwalk as the world of glamour united across the generations to celebrate 50 years of venerated Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta.

Interview
'My problem is too many ideas': Italy's couture king
Francois Guillot / AFP

Giambattista Valli says his fledgling ready-to-wear line is thriving -- thanks to spillover synergy from a haute couture operation that has made him a darling of the celebrity A-list set.

Italy orders man to buy feminist books for prostitute
An image of a customer meeting a prostitute. Photo: Italian investigators

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women's dignity, Italian media reported Friday.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

For one day only: €1 nighttime entry to Italy's cultural sites
Fancy getting up close and personal with David after dark? Photo

Saturday is European Heritage Day, and Italy is celebrating with €1 entry to many of its most famous sites.

The real reasons young Italians aren't having kids
Why have Italians seemingly stopped making babies? File photo: Pexels

Italy's government is campaigning to get Italians to have babies - but what are the reasons behind the slowing birthrate?

Renzi vows to restore quake towns to former glory
Amatrice, the town worst hit by the August 24th quake. Photo: AFP

"The areas will be more beautiful than before," Italy's Prime Minister promised, one month on from the earthquake.

Italy spearheads citizen drive for EU soil policy
Italian farmland. Photo: michael kooiman/Flickr

An area of fertile soil the size of Berlin is lost across the EU each year.

Italian PM dismisses idea of Rome 2024 Olympics
Happier times: Renzi announcing Rome's candidacy for the 2024 Games. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

It looks like it's all over.

Yet another earthquake strikes in central Italy
Damaged houses in Accumoli, where another earthquake has struck. Photo: AFP

Repeated aftershocks since the initial quake have made recovery difficult in the disaster-hit region.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,529
jobs available