Just before Christmas, on 23 December 2019, a new milestone in our company’s struggle over air passengers’ rights was set.
On this day Kaunas District court finally stated that Ryanair cannot prohibit its passengers to assign claims under Regulation 261/2004 to third parties. Such court decision pointed out an obvious violation of basic consumer rights which was observed for years as the airline continuously avoided paying compensation for the passengers of cancelled, delayed or overbooked flights. In cases where passengers of the disrupted flight filed their claims via third parties Ryanair refused to pay compensation, stating that assigning such claims to other entities breaks the company’s Terms & Conditions every passenger has to agree to before booking a flight.
“Passengers do not need to file claims directly with Ryanair if they do not want to,” says attorney at law Nerijus Zaleckas, representing the interests of Skycop and air passengers. “Passengers are also free to agree on financial and other terms with third parties helping them to recover compensation.”
The case was taken to court when the passengers who did not file claims directly to Ryanair and did not wait for 28 days for Ryanair’s response as prescribed by its rules were unfairly treated by the airline. They transferred (assigned) their rights to the claim to Skycop which then filed a claim for compensation. Legally, Skycop became the owner of the claim. Ryanair refused to pay stating that the passengers had to file the claim directly and wait for 28 days, and could not assign their rights to compensation.
The court stated that Assignment agreements are valid and Ryanair may not prohibit passengers from assigning their rights to compensation if passengers believe that this way their rights will be exercised quicker and more conveniently. Restrictive Ryanair Terms and Conditions are unfair and null and void. Therefore, passengers may conclude Assignment agreements and do not need to file claims themselves.
“The court emphasized that such Ryanair’s Terms and Conditions breach consumer rights,” said Nerijus Zaleckas.
The court also stated that by filing the claim via email Skycop fulfilled all conditions for compensation payment and Ryanair is obliged to pay. It means that claim companies such as Skycop do not need to use Ryanair’s claim filing platform as it is actually not even designed for such companies.
Ryanair will probably appeal against the ruling but it is just a matter of time when they have to terminate such unfair practices.
The ruling came out after the same court issued 5000 EUR fine to Ryanair for unfair behavior at court when Ryanair tried to postpone court hearings by any means.