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Taking Ryanair to small claims court


garygumps
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Hi everyone,

 

I am considering taking Ryanair to small claims court (SCC).  I have been refused compensaton under EU261quoting the usual "exceptional circumstances" excuse and they have stonewalled/refused to correspond any further.

After some research I have decided to take them straight to SCC and would like to quote some ealier rulings regarding in particular that the "knock on effect" is not sufficient.  Thinking ahead, is it ok to just quote the case or do I need the full transcript of the ruling.  I have been able to get a few case headlines but can't seem to track down online a copy of the actual ruling.

 

Thank you

 

Gary

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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I expect it would help people if you told them the story and the value of what you're claiming. Just a thought.

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Sorry, I should have explained.  Will try to keep this as brief as possible.

 

Flight was delayed due to weather initially.  After 3 hours flight was moved to depart from another airport and busses were to be arranged but to cut a long story short Ryanair, in my opinion (and over 100 other passengers), failed to provide this transport due to some logistical error on their part.  The plane took off from the other airport some 12 hours later with about 10 passengers on board.

Ryanair offered no assistance as per EU261 and we were basically left to arrange our own way home.  Finally took off over 30 hours later.  Ryanair have claimed exceptional circumstances due to weather causing a knock on effect to their schedule.  At least 2 other flights from other airlines took off from original airport during delay.

 

So I'm looking to claim back the costs I had to pay out in new flights and accommodation and expenses to get home plus €400 *2 as standard compensation under EU261.  Ryanair have refunded part of my original fare for unused flight.

 

Total amount I would be looking to claim would be just over £1000.

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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So contrary to what you sometimes read on the internet, there's no part of the Regulation 261/04 (or the subsequent binding case law, of which there's quite a bit) that says "knock on" delays cannot be extraordinary circumstances.  The legal test, which is set out (I think) in the Wallentin case is that the cause of the delay must be extraordinary AND the airline must then have taken all reasonable measures to mitigate the delay.  If either test fails, you are due compensation.  A 30 hours delay does not sound reasonable in these circumstances, especially for what is presumably a short-haul route.

 

Pursuing the case on the Small Claims  Track is unlikely to be speedy - unless Ryanair concede as soon as you serve papers (unlikely I think).  It might be quicker and cheaper to use the CAA-approved Alternative Dispute Resolution process in the first instance.  Even if you don't win, this doesn't stop you from going to the Small Claims (which in truth can still be a bit of a lottery on this).

 

I wrote a guide to the law on this, and what passengers should do, a few years back after I successfully sued Monarch Airlines.  You can probably still find it on the internet by Googling Vauban and flight delay guide.

 

Good luck!

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Thank you VAUBAN and FTMDave.

Flight was scheduled to leave Krakow and was moved to Katowice, about an hour away.

The way I see it is that Ryanair are hiding behind delays due to weather (it was foggy) which lead to knock on delays to their tight schedule.  Their usual fob off excuse.

 

Firstly, I'm willing to fight them on the legality of the extraordinary circumstances excuse in that I'm sure there is precedent that the "knock on" aspect has been overuled on several occasions (hence my original request for rulings).  The delay to my flight was not caused directly by "bad weather" because some flights did leave Krakow.

 

Secondly, and this is my main bugbear, the fact that Ryanair failed to provide transport to Katowice caused the whole situation.  They then failed to adhere to EU261 by failing to provide care and assistance.

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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I asked as I had a similar, but positive, experience with RyanAir some years back.

 

My flight from Treviso (TSF) was delayed, then delayed some more, then even more, then finally cancelled, due to fog.  RyanAir put on coaches to take us to Trieste (TRS) airport, getting on for two hours away by coach.

 

I'm not an expert, but that suggests such a procedure is industry standard, and indeed what RyanAir themselves normally do.  A half-competent airline would have contact details of nearby coach companies on hand in case of emergency, especially during winter.

 

I've managed to dig out the details.  Flight FR6572 from TSF to EMA on 26 December 2015.  Quote it if you want in your battle with them, that is what they are supposed to do and usually do, but didn't in your case.

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Thank you Dave.

That is interesting.  You said your experience was positive.  Did you successfuly claim anything in your case?

 

From what I have garnered from research, you would be correct in your assumption that the proceedure to transfer passengers to another airport is not a one off.  This happens quite frequently in Krakow so should be a well oiled plan.  Indeed on the night in question there were I estimate some 10 flights from Ryanair and other airlines that were using this proceedure and they all seemed to get away ok.

It is obvious that there has been some sort of logistical screwup.

As I say, their excuse about the weather is a red herring here.

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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No, I didn't claim anything as I thought RyanAir had been pretty decent.  The fog was terrible.  I'd guess the constant putting back of the take-off time was the airport authorities hoping the fog would clear enough to allow take off.  Then when the flight was eventually cancelled coaches were put on to take us to a nearby airport.  I got where I wanted to go, not at 14:30 as scheduled but around 20:00, so not a disaster.

Which of course begs the question if what was done for me at Treviso, and indeed for passengers on the other 10 flights you mention at Krakow, wasn't done for you.

 

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Exactly, and this is the whole crux of my complaint.  They failed spectacularly in all aspects and why I feel I have a good case.  My own travel insurance has refused a claim as they feel Ryanair are wholly liable in the circumstances.

 

I will be sending a LBA shortly and keep you up to date as my case progresses.

 

Thanks for all the input so far.

Just one last question.  I only have anecdotal evidence of the number of passengers (10ish) that actually made the eventual flight.  Is there anywhere that I can verify this?

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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you can ask the CAA if they have data that is publicly available on passenger numbers.
Now have you considered telling the insurers that you are going to take the matter further because  if it is an insured event they have to pay up regardless of what they think about Ryanair.

i dotn like falsh gits in Ferraris but if one crashed into me I would still expect my insurer to sort the mess out

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My insurers rejected my claim as they came to the conclusion that it was Ryanairs fault that I was not transported to the new airport, which of course it was !   According to their definitions the bus would've had to break down or be delayed somehow.  Simply not turning up is not covered!

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, 2 week deadline for LBA has been and gone so time to submit small claim.

 

Just one last request for advice for filing.

All down the line I have been asking for compensation under EU261/04 for delay over 3 hours (€400 per person) AND also for expenditure to book new flights home, hotel stay and refreshments during delay.

 

Is this reasonable or should I stick to the expenditure part?

Edited by garygumps

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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ask for what you are allowed to ask for not just your costs.

Your insurer is not being honest with you as they cant just sidestep their responsibiliies and excpect you to sue Ryanair instead. It should be them paying up and suing to get their money back so look into making them refund your premium for not doing their bit. Check with the relevant determiming body like Insurance Ombudsman

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The insurance might be a red-herring.  Often policies don't cover for missed or delayed flights - or pay a small amount if they do.   They certainly don't pay out for statutory compensation under Regulation 261/04.  You definitely need to claim that from the airline directly.  What exactly does your policy say?

 

You should be claiming:

 

The 261/04 sum - which is €400 per passenger

The cost of the additional flights that you had to pay for (or the difference in costs between your original fare and the subsequent one, if Ryaniar have refunded you already)

Any reasonable meal and accommodation costs endured during the delay

 

These are all due to you under Regulation 261/04.

 

I recall that there is a complexity with Ryaniar, involving the fact that their HQ is in Ireland not the UK.  But you don't want to sue in the Irish courts.  This means you have to serve a more complex claim - I forget what it's called now.  One reason why it might be quicker and easier to go through the ADR scheme in the first instance (you can always sue later if you get the wrong outcome, as it's not binding on you).

 

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Just to clarify I was asking about what I should claim for in the small claim.

 

I have written off the insurance angle even though I don't agree.  i've asked them twice to reconsider but they are final in their response.  The policy was cheap and I suppose you get what you pay for in that regard!  Lesson learned.

 

Regarding Ryanairs address, from previous research I think that I can use their office at Stansted as their registered address.  That is where I sent the LBA.

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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  • 1 month later...

Update.

 

I lodged a small claim online on 1st March.  Ryanair were given a return date of 13th April.

 

I have today received a letter from a firm of solicitors claiming to act for Ryanair UK Ltd.  This is who I named in my court papers with an address at Stansted Airport.

 

This firm states that I am claiming against the wrong company.  They say it should be Ryanair DAC which is an Irish company.  The solicitors claim that Ryanair UK is a "separate, dormant company which does not operate an airline and does not have any liability to pay expenses in relation to your flight"

They say thay are happy for me to amend my claim to change the defendant to Ryanair DAC but I must inform the court of this myself.

 

They then go on to ask me to provide receipts for my expenditure.

 

I am confused and would like some advice on how to proceed.  Is this a stalling tactic?  If I am claiming against the wrong company, why do they want receipts?

 

Thank you

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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Yes this is right.  I did tell you about this in my earlier post above.  I don’t think you can use English courts to sue a company based outside of the UK, except by using the European Small Claims Procedure (or whatever it’s called).

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If they say they are happy for you to amend the claim so that it is against the correct defendant, that sounds quite positive to me.  Obviously you will have to produce receipts at some stage - so why not now?  If it was as big a shambles as you suggest they may(!) just pay up on proof of what you are claiming.  (If you submitted well-supported POC they may decide it's not worth attempting to defend).

 

That's assuming no confusion over defendant not being in UK.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Andyorch, yours links suggest, the way I read it, that I should use Euro Small Claims Proceedure ESCP?  Can this run parallel with UK online Small Claim?

 

Manxman, I too think there is a positive chink of light here.  If they are so confident that my claim would fail, why give me advice or way forward?  Why not just either dispute the claim by the return date or just ignore it altogether, the usual Ryanair method.  Why even ask for receipts?  

I have opened up correspondence with them just for interest but have made clear that my return date of 13th April remains in play.

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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You can issue a claim out of jurisdiction through MCOL....your main concern here is amending the defendants details and reserving the claim to the correct address.

 

Take a read of the following Practice Direction 19a of the CPR.see 3.1

 

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part19/pd_part19a#3.1

 

And with regards to service outside of jurisdiction ...

 

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part06/pd_part06b

 

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group The National Consumer Service

 

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I have contacted the court and they tell me they are happy to change defendant name and re-serve papers to new address in Dublin but this would obviously reset the return date at 6 weeks.  I will think this over.

 

In the meantime I have opened up correspondence with this firm of solicitors as, from their language, I am "slightly" hopeful that they may settle.

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, wee update.

 

Although the solicitors claim their clients are not liable and have asked for receipts, they have filed an Notice of Dispute to keep with the court proceedure in the event of it going further.

 

The response they have given is some 40 pages!  They have gone to great lengths to emphasise that the flight delay was due to extraordinary circumstances (weather) and have supplied extensive flight data and weather reports.  Quite daunting actually and I am surprised they have gone to such bother to be honest.

They are quoting Montreal Convention and quoted some case law to support their stance.

They have also asked for my case to be dismissed because I have only put my name on the papers (there was myself and my partner) and have not supplied my partners name (even though this data is held by them on the original booking).

They are also stating that I am being unreasonable because I did not accept their refusal to pay compensation ans issue court proceedure.

The sting in the tail is that they are looking £350 in costs!

 

I'm a bit taken aback really as I thought that I was not liable for costs beyond the initail claim fee.  Can they do this?

 

Date of incident                                              17 Jan 2020

First raised complaint                                    21 Jan 2020

Final response from Ryanair                         25 Jan 2020

Appeal to CEO                                                 27 Jan 2020    No reply

LBA issued                                                       13 Feb 2020

Small Claim issued                                          2 March 2020 (response date 13 April)

 

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They can ask...its for the court to agree...I wouldn't say you were being unreasonable.

 

https://skyrefund.com/en/blog/montreal-convention-international-flights

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group The National Consumer Service

 

If you want advice on your Topic please PM me a link to your thread

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