I sued Ryanair for £200 and it only took 15 minutes – here's how to do it

A RYANAIR customer has won a legal case to get a refund for his £200 plane tickets – after the budget airline failed to cough up for over a year.

Retired journalist Andrian Adams, 63, who’s currently living in Spain, saved thousands of pounds on legal fees by using a website to file his claim, which only cost him £35.

He said thousands of Ryanair customers can do the same thing to save them hours on the phone trying to track down their cash – he explains how.

Andrian bought a ticket from Valencia to Manchester from Ryanair in 2019.

But the airline cancelled his trip just days before the flight was due to take off on January 24, 2020.

Andrian said that he was promised his money back – but was left chasing the company for the refund for over a year.

"Because they cancelled on their side, I was entitled to a full refund, and so I chased them up for that, but they just kept dodging me," he said.

Andrian reckons he spent more than three hours in total over a period of a year-and-a-half on the phone to Ryanair's customer service department, as well as sending emails to people within the company.

He even emailed executives to try and get his cash back.

Finally, he received a phone call from Ryanair in February saying that instead of a full refund, he would be able to get credit.

That would mean that he could only use the money to put towards a future flight with the airline.

"I thought I'll just take the credit, I just can't handle it anymore, it's just too much of a hassle," Andrian said.

But it still didn't show up in his Ryanair account, he said.

Andrian tried one last time to chase up for his credit by ringing up Ryanair's customer service department.

After getting nowhere, Andrian decided to file a legal claim against the company in early September this year.

He used the gov.uk website to file a claim against Ryanair, which then received a County Court Judgement (CCJ).

You can get a CCJ if you owe someone money and the court has formally decided you must pay the cash back.

Andrian said it took 15 minutes to do and cost him just £35 to file his claim – saving him thousands of pounds in legal fees by avoiding hiring a lawyer of his own.

Andrian answered a series of questions on the gov.uk website before he was told he was eligible to file his case.

Ryanair had until October 11 to respond to his claim – but when the day came round, the company had failed to do so.

As a result, the court issued a default judgement – which meant it found against Ryanair because it failed to acknowledge the claim.

It means he won a claim for £235 – which includes the fee he paid to file his case.

Now, Andrian can apply for the court to enforce the judgement to get back his money from the company.

"I'm certainly going to go after this money," Andrian said, but added it could be a while before he gets the money back in his account.

"They can make it difficult for you and make you work harder for your money," he said.

He said other customers should consider putting in a claim for themselves if they're struggling to get a refund for their a flight.

"It is a wonderful, fabulous, easy, friendly system that allows anyone to file a law suit very quickly and very painlessly," Andrian said.

"I'm just outraged that Ryanair is comfortable running their business in such a shabby way when they simply don't have to," he said.

"If people knew how easy it was to file a lawsuit against the company, I think they'd be seeing a lot more litigation."

How to file a claim if you're owed a refund

If you think you're owed money by a business, you can make a court claim to get your cash back.

How much you'll be charged in fees to file your case depends on how much you're suing the company for.

As Andrian's claim was less than £300, he paid £35 – the minimum fee you have to pay.

But this fee will go up in stages depending on the claim amount – the highest fee you'll pay is £10,000 for a claim of £200,000 or more.

While Joseph A Jones & Co partner Gary Rycroft says its "cheap and easy" to file a claim, there are a few disadvantages to keep in mind.

"The downside is you may not claim for legal costs, so even if you win, it’s not cost effective to use a solicitor as the cost of that may outweigh the debt being claimed," he said.

"That also applies to defendants who you are claiming against, so if a consumer is claiming against a business, the business has to decide if they want to spend time & money defending a claim of little financial value."

Who could get a refund?

If your flight is cancelled by a company, you automatically have the right to a full refund or a replacement flight, Citizens Advice says.

If you have had your trip cancelled but have not received any of the above, it's worth seeing if you can make a claim.

But if your flight was cancelled as a result of Covid, you might find it trickier to get your cash back.

Lockdown rules made it illegal for almost all passengers to board a plane.

That meant airlines were not technically responsible for cancellations – creating a legal loophole.

British Airways and Ryanair refused to give passengers their money back.

An investigation was launched by the Competitions and Markets Authority whether the airlines should have offered money back to holidaymakers who couldn't legally take flights because of Covid.

But the airlines have since been told they don't have to refund customers for these lockdown flights – marking a bitter blow to out-of-pocket customers.

The budget airline has also been found to ban passengers who it paid refunds to from its flights unless they return the money.

MoneySavingExpert (MSE) found that the airline has barred some passengers who had received refunds for flights which were disrupted by Covid. 

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