Ryanair Welcomes German Court Ruling Against Cheaptickets Screenscraping Website
Ryanair, Europe’s only ultra-low cost airline, today (14 Nov) welcomed a Hamburg Higher Regional Court landmark ruling against the screenscraper Beins Travel Group B.V. (Cheaptickets). The Court ordered Cheaptickets to refrain from using Ryanair’s website with its booking tool for the purpose of reselling Ryanair flights or from acting as an agent regarding the booking of Ryanair flights.
The Court found the screenscraper website guilty of obstructing fair competition by entering and disrupting Ryanair’s exclusive distribution channel and failing to provide Ryanair with necessary passenger contact details. (The Court also recognised that is not reasonable for Ryanair to lose control regarding the pricing of its tickets.)
Ryanair has been fighting various cases across Europe to prevent its passengers from being subjected to excessive charges and to ensure Ryanair has appropriate contact details to communicate with its customers. Many screenscrapers have been:
- Mis-selling Ryanair flights with hidden mark-ups as part of packages;
- Failing to provide consumers with a proper breakdown of the flight price;
- Failing to provide Ryanair with passenger contact details which prevents Ryanair from communicating directly with passengers in the event of schedule changes or flight disruptions (similar actions by other travel agents resulted in thousands of passengers being left without any information during the 2010 volcanic ash airspace closures, as travel agents and screenscrapers failed to forward Ryanair information to passengers);
- Failing to provide Ryanair with passenger credit card details, which prevents passengers from receiving refunds directly from Ryanair;
- Failing to notify passengers of Ryanair’s Terms and Conditions of Travel at the time of booking;
- Failing to notify Ryanair of special assistance requirements of passengers.
In the interests of consumers and price transparency, Ryanair allows and encourages “price comparison only” websites to access its timetable and pricing information, for an annual charitable donation of just €100. This allows them to compare Ryanair’s guaranteed lowest fares with those of high fare airlines. Ryanair’s licence agreement is open to all genuine “price comparison only” websites and already many have signed up, whereas Cheaptickets has refused.
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:
“We welcome this Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruling which confirms that Cheaptickets had obstructed fair competition by interfering in our exclusive distribution channel and failed to provide Ryanair with the necessary passenger contact details. We have been fighting various cases across Europe to prevent our passengers from being subject to excessive charges and to ensure Ryanair has appropriate contact details to communicate with our customers.
The Court described the situation as unreasonable for Ryanair as Cheaptickets failed to provide the correct email addresses and credit card details of passengers who had made bookings and we hope that this Court victory will deter other screenscrapers from mis-selling Ryanair’s low fare flights. Screenscraper websites have caused a number of difficulties for passengers and our message is simple: book directly on www.ryanair.com for the guaranteed lowest fares and best customer care.”