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I had a return flight (booked on the 29th of Oct) with Ryanair that was moved from Dec 1. to Dec. 3 and subsequently cancelled. I requested a refund after the cancellation, and received an e-mail a few days after confirming that I, through their website, could get my cash refund.

When I go on the website and provide my e-mail and booking reference, they reject my application and provide the following reason:

This booking has been identified as one purchased through an unauthorised screen scraper. In order to request a cash refund, the customer must complete our customer verification process. Please click here to complete the form.

The problem is, the above is a complete fabrication - I have never booked any flight, ever, via anything but the corresponding airline websites, and I can see in my history that I went through the entire booking process with Ryanair.com!

To move forward they require that I fill out a demanding 'customer verification form', but this requires that I confirm which online travel agency (OTA) I used, but as noted, I never did. I guess they hope that I try to fill it out, allowing them subsequently to invalidate my claim by accusing me of falsifying my verification form. From my viewpoint it appears they actively are trying to defraud me, or hope I do something dumb.

I paid via MasterCard. It is impossible to get through to their customer service. What do you suggest? I don't want a voucher - I only used Ryanair because they - due to CoVID - were the only direct option via my local airport.

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  • 2
    Have you contacted Mastercard?
    – Traveller
    Dec 1 '20 at 21:28
  • 7
    Can you put ryanair.com as the OTA on the form?
    – Richard
    Dec 1 '20 at 23:26
  • 2
    I'd totally recommend asking mastercard to claim it back
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 2 '20 at 2:43
  • 2
    I guess they are using some sort of "AI" to filter out specific behaviors, and then that tool went stupid and flagged you. Dec 2 '20 at 5:58
  • @forgottenscience who did you make the payment to and who is listed as the payee on the credit card charge ?
    – Hilmar
    Dec 2 '20 at 13:08
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It looks like the most promising course of action is a chargeback. Before you do a chargeback, you do have to give them an opportunity to give a refund directly, and there is some degree of subjectivity just what constitutes a sufficient opportunity, but if you exhaust all communication methods, and wait a week, it would be hard to argue that you haven't given them a fair chance. And "give them an opportunity to give a refund" doesn't mean "jump though whatever hoops they decide to put in front of you". You do have to file the chargeback within 60 days of the statement that the charge appears on, which gives you at least to Dec 28 (plus however much time it took to get on your statement).

I don't know what their argument is for refusing a refund for unauthorized booking method is. They didn't provide the service, therefore submitting a transaction to the credit card network claiming that they did is fraud. Maybe they have some fine print saying that if you book through unauthorized methods, they can cancel your ticket and keep your money, but that sounds quite abusive and likely illegal.

I am US based, and these is some possibility that some of this does not apply to Europe, but network rules are pretty universal, and consumer protection laws are generally stronger in the EU.

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  • Thank you, I will attempt to start a chargeback now, it has been more than a week. I will update you as things proceed and accept if it indeed works out. Dec 2 '20 at 21:47
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I've had the same thing and have been driven mad trying to figure out if I inadvertently booked through an OTA... was so sure I hadn't!

Anyway, after not being able to submit the OTA form (it said it didn't recognise the details) I went on their online chat and said "I booked my flight through ryannair, how do I get a refund?". It then asked me if it was cancelled due to Covid and I clicked yes, it then gave me a link.

I assumed the link was going to send me straight back to the OTA Customer Verification form but it actually took me to a different page where I just entered my email address and booking number. I clicked submit and it said:

"Cash Refund Your request has been sent Your booking has now been placed in a queue for a cash refund in lieu of your travel voucher issued."

So, whilst I've no idea if it'll actually work/how long it will take... it seemed liked progress!! Fingers crossed!

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