Online travel agents have been accused of failing to pass on refunds to customers during the coronavirus crisis.
Budget airline Ryanair claims online booking agents fail to forward customers’ card details, meaning the agent is reimbursed instead of the consumer when a refund is issued.
Ryanair claims agents multi-book seats on corporate credit cards so they are refunded in the first instance when a customer requests their money back.
Millions of passengers have requested refunds amid the pandemic with flights cancelled because of various travel restrictions and lockdown rules.
However, under EU rules, passengers are entitled to claim their refund directly from the airline, despite initially booking their trip through an agent, reports the Independent.
The airline said: “In many cases these unauthorised screen scrapers are scamming customers by overcharging customers and then booking on Ryanair’s website with fake customer contact and credit card details, then claiming customer refunds directly into their own accounts, and in some cases, refusing to pass this money onto customers.
“While we are successfully refunding cash to millions of customers who booked direct, meaning we had genuine customer email contact and payment details.
“We have been unable to deal with thousands of customers who booked through these unauthorised screen scraper websites because they provide false/fictitious customer contact and payment details when booking on Ryanair’s website,” it added.
“These unauthorised screen scrapers should be forced to supply accurate customer contacts so that Ryanair can process customer refunds, flight changes and urgent travel notifications.”