Ryanair faces legal action over flight delay compensation

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 07: Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS lands at PRG Airport on May 07,2015. Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airlin

The UK's aviation regulator is taking legal action against Ryanair in a bid to ensure it changes its policy on paying flight delay compensation.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) claims the Dublin-based airline is not complying fully with European consumer law designed to support passengers following flight disruption.

Ryanair are not paying proper compensation for delays caused by technical faults and are attempting to impose a two-year claim limit from the date of the flight, according to the CAA.

The regulator's chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: "The law is clear that compensation must be paid if a flight is delayed for more than three hours by a routine technical fault.

"It is also clear that air passengers have up to six years to issue a compensation claim at court. This position was reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal last year.

"The CAA is committed to protecting the rights of air passengers and we are determined to ensure all airlines comply with this regulation."

The CAA's review of airline policies has already led to Jet2, Aer Lingus and Wizz Air changing their positions.

But Ryanair insisted that it "fully complies" with compensation rules, adding that they are "a fundamental part of our customer charter".

The airline's director of customer service, Fiona Kearns, said: "Ryanair has requested an early meeting with the CAA to clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen in dealing with some historic cases."

On Thursday the European Court of Justice found in favour of a Dutch couple who were refused compensation by KLM because of a delay caused by a technical problem.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: "The regulator is right to take legal action against any airline that is failing to comply with the law. Airlines must be held to account and consumers should claim the compensation they are rightly owed if they have a lengthy delay and their carrier is at fault."

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Ryanair faces legal action over flight delay compensation

The law states that any goods you buy from a UK retailer should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time.

This applies even if you buy items in a sale or with a discount voucher. You may have to insist on these rights being respected, though.

Useful phrases to use when you want to show you mean business include, "according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979" and, if it's a service, "according to the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982".

Some shops will allow you to exchange goods without a receipt, but they can refuse to should they wish.

If the goods are faulty, however, another proof of purchase such as a bank statement should work just as well.

If you attempt to return goods within four weeks of the purchase, your chances of getting a full refund are much higher as you can argue that you have not "accepted" them.

After this point, you can only really expect an exchange, repair or part-refund.

The updated Consumer Credit Act states that card companies are jointly and severally liable for credit card purchases of between £100 and £60,260 (whether or not you paid just a deposit or the whole amount on your card).

Anyone spending between these amounts on their credit card is therefore protected if the retailer or service provider goes bust, their online shopping never arrives or the items in question are faulty or not as described.

Start by writing to the agency asking it to either remove or change the entry that you think is wrong. It will investigate the matter and find out whether you have been the victim of ID theft or a bank's mistake.

Within 28 days from receipt of your letter the agency should tell you how the bank has responded. If the bank agrees to change the entry, they will authorise the agency to update their records. They should also send updates to any other credit reference agencies they use.

You can also contact your lender directly to query a mistake. If the lender agrees to the discrepancy, ask them to confirm this in writing on their letterhead and send a copy to the agency, asking them to update your file.

The FOS settles disputes between financial companies such as banks and consumers.

If a financial organisation rejects a complaint you make about its services, you can therefore escalate that complaint to the FOS - as long as you have given the company in question at least eight weeks to respond.

The FOS will then investigate the case, and could force the company to offer you compensation should it see fit.

Bailiffs are allowed to take some of your belongings to sell on to cover certain debts, including unpaid Council Tax and parking fines.

They can, for example, take so-called luxury items such as TVs or games consoles. However, they cannot take essentials such as fridges or clothes.

What's more, they can only generally enter your home to take your stuff if you leave a door or window open or invite them in.

You are therefore within your rights to refuse them access and to ask for related documents such as proof of their identity. If they try to force their way in, you can also call the police to stop them.

Private sector debt collectors do not have the same powers as bailiffs, whatever they tell you.

They cannot, for example, enter your home and take your possessions in lieu of payment.

In fact, they can only write, phone, or visit your home to talk to you about paying back the debt. As with bailiffs, you can also call the police if you feel physically threatened.

Thanks to the Distance Selling Regulations, you actually have more rights buying online or by phone than on the High Street.

You can, for example, send most goods back within a week, for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault.

You will usually need to pay for the return delivery, though. The seller must then refund you within 30 days.

We enter into contracts all the time, whether it be to join a gym, switch energy supplier or take out a loan.

In most cases, once you've signed a contract, you are legally bound by it. In some situations, however, you have the right to cancel it within a certain timeframe.

Credit agreements, for example, can be cancelled within 14 days. And online retailers must tell you about your cancellation rights for any contract made up to stand up legally.

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