Posted on: 06 October 2015 by Ross McSweeny
Ryanair has called on Google to enforce greater transparency on its online advertising following, says the airline, “extensive complaints from Ryanair customers who have been misled into booking Ryanair flights on non-Ryanair websites, which are purposely designed to mislead customers”.
The carrier explained that “screenscraper websites such as eDreams have been paying for Google advertising to have their websites rank above the official Ryanair website on Google searches, which in turn is misleading Ryanair customers into visiting the eDreams website, masquerading as Ryanair.com, and in turn booking with eDreams”.
Ryanair has been engaged in several legal cases against screenscraper websites across Europe to prevent its customers from being subjected to additional, hidden charges and to ensure Ryanair has appropriate contact details to communicate with its customers.
According to Ryanair, many of these websites continue to cause problems for its customers and/or fail/refuse to pass on vital information to both customers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, all of which have caused missed flights and repeated problems for Ryanair customers. The Court of Hamburg recently ruled that eDreams has been using an unlawful subdomain and was misleading customers into thinking that it had an official partnership with Ryanair.
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs added, “eDreams has been unlawfully selling Ryanair flights, by masquerading as Ryanair.com, and then offering customers a substandard service, with additional fees, or by often selling fares that don’t even exist. While we have no issue with Google advertising in general, it is unfair that it is used as a mechanism to mislead customers.
“Customers end up paying more for their flights, thinking they’ve bought Ryanair flights with Ryanair, and often their contact details aren’t passed on, meaning they can’t be contacted if their flight changes, and they also have trouble checking-in online. This is a particular problem for customers in the UK and Ireland,” added Jacobs.
Ryanair says it will continue to pursue screenscraper websites to prevent Europe’s consumers from being misled over price and booking conditions.