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Ryanair Prepaid card – free flights! Er… no

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As I’ve already mentioned, I was excited to read about Ryanair’s prepaid card.  4 free flights!  As I’m looking at getting my family to Sicily for my upcoming wedding, that looked like a great idea.


Leader of the Pack

Originally uploaded by sean.casaidhe

Dad’s last visit was a while ago, and this time he’s hoping to get himself a motorbike and tour around.

Unfortunately it’s not nearly the offer it’s made out to be, but one has to dig into the terms and conditions to see that, because apart from an asterisk on the offer, there’s no information actually on the website giving you the limits.

Which are these;

  • A one-way flight every three months, or a return flight every six months.  You personally have to be the passenger.  So no free flight for my mum.
  • You can’t fly on Fridays or Sundays!  So no WEEKEND breaks for you!
  • The flights you want might not be ‘available’ (to you, anyway).
  • You’ll have to wait at least 1 month before applying for any free flights at all.
  • You’ll have to book at least 14 days in advance.
  • You’ll have to call up a special phone line at €0.33 a minute.
  • You’ll have to book using the Ryanair Prepaid Card (and thus incur a fee of 75 cents, or 2.75% if you’re booking a flight from the UK)
  • You won’t be able to book in any blackout periods (as determined by M-Cube themselves mind you, and there’s no list published on the website saying what those periods are, so they can make ’em up as they go along!)
  • If you get stuffed with this and go to court, you’ll be going to court in England!

So it’s normal Ryanair then.  Like the lady who won ‘unlimited flights for life‘ which weren’t unlimited.  After pleading that the case had no valid basis because Ryanair had in fact broken the Lotteries law (and you can’t sue someone for taking away an illegal benefit!), they had to fork out €67,500, plus and estimated €200,000 in costs.

Or the “free flight vouchers” that cost more to redeem than the flight did.

So no free flights for me.  Or indeed, no Ryanair pre-paid card.

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Written by seancasaidhe

November 25, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Ryanair Pre Pay – A look at the terms and conditions…

with 3 comments

Initially I was excited to read about Ryanair’s prepaid card.  4 free flights!  As I’m looking at getting my family to Sicily for my upcoming wedding, that looked like a great idea.  But of course one should always read the small print if one doesn’t want to end up being an ass.


08. Just gotta whup some ass

Originally uploaded by sean.casaidhe

And despite Sinead Finn boasting about how clear and simple the fees are, they still NOT ON THE WEBSITE.  Oh no, that’d be too easy, instead you have to find your way to the terms and conditions page and download the PDFs, which I’ll list here;

The Membership Terms and Conditions;

  • €85 per year membership fee
  • Which automatically renews unless you tell Ryanair to cancel.

So God forbid that you should throw this card away and forget about, because in 12 months time, Ryanair are going to hit you for another €85.

  • They need FOUR weeks notice to cancel the card…

…which is bullshit because all they have to do to disable a card is flip a flag on the user account.  Active, or Inactive.

The Card Terms and Conditions;

One of the things that jumped out at me in these is the phrase “A Load/Reload Fee shall apply for each load/reload that
you make”.  This is because in the “Fees” section, it clearly states that there are no Top-Up fees, but it’s clear that they are slipping under the radar the fact that there ARE fees, they’re just not being applied RIGHT NOW.  And in fact, the fees section clearly states “The Information contained in this table summarises key product features and is not intended to replace any terms and conditions” (my emphasis).

Other points include;

  • €7.50 cancellation fee.  So if you have any money on the card, and decide that it’s crap, they’ll charge you €7.50 for getting rid of it.  If you don’t cancel it, of course they’ll charge you €85 for the next annual renewal.  What a scam they’ve got you coming and going!
  • €0.75 for every transaction in the Euro zone.  So you have to PAY to use your OWN card (after you’re already paid to join, and then paid to put money on the card).
  • 2.75% if you’re outside the Euro zone, like the UK.  So that’s 27 cents for every tenner you spend.
  • €3 for every ATM withdrawal!  WTF is that all about?  I didn’t think they were allowed to charge for Euro-Euro ATM transactions – ah, maybe because this isn’t a normal ATM card they can get away with ripping people off like that.
  • Balance Inquiries are free – right?  Er, no.  A whopping €0.33 a minute to call.  It’s not even PER CALL, it’s PER MINUTE!  So God help you if you’re left on hold for a while…  and why wouldn’t they leave you on hold, for 33 cent a minute.
  • €7.50 for a new card, if your old one gets nicked.  At least they’ll refund any dodgy transactions after you’ve reported it stolen – but then, they HAVE to.  The least they could do is throw in a free card.

Another interesting point is disputes with retailers – they’re refusing to take the cardholders’ side in disputes, instead “you should settle these with the person you bought the goods or services from”.  So forget it if you’re hoping to use this card to buy stuff online, because when that Hi-Fi arrives broken, you’re screwed.

Finally, this card is authorised by the Financial Ombusdman in LONDON.  So if you don’t get satisfaction from the company, you can always get a cheap Ryanair flight to London to take a case 🙂

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Written by seancasaidhe

November 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Scummy Ryanair Tricks

with 4 comments

After announcing worse-than-expected figures due to high fuel prices etc. Ryanair seem to be looking at ways to squeeze more money out of it’s passengers – and now they’ve hit on cancelling all bookings made through 3rd party websites, like lastminute.com, and forcing passangers to rebook using Ryanair.com directly.

Supposedly an anti-screen-scraping tactic – the Irish Indo quotes O’Leary as saying “We want to cause as much chaos for the [websites] as possible” – but as far as most people are concerneed (the consumer association too) this is just typical Ryanair squeezing every last cent from passengers, who will now have to re-book their flights at the last minute.

Unlikely? Well don’t forget that time that Ryanair rescheduled a flight to the UK on all those Munster rugby fans, and then once most had cancelled their tickets, re-instated it?

The real issue that Ryanair have with 3rd party sites is that the Ryanair site is loaded with extra services – car hire, hotels, etc. etc. and the 3rd party sites probably don’t buy unneccesary insurance products etc. so Ryanair probably feel that they’re losing out on a lot of money.

Written by seancasaidhe

August 8, 2008 at 8:51 am