Ryanair Faces Prosecution Over Misleading Ads

11 April 2008

DUBLIN: Agressive Irish-based budget airline Ryanair could be facing a court case and substantial fine for failing to accurately inform customers about its prices and making misleading comparisons with its rivals.

According to UK regulatory body the Advertising Standards Authority, Ryanair consistently advertised fares that did not include taxes and other charges. Nor, the ASA argues, did Ryanair take account of “significant restrictions that would exclude customers from taking advantage of an offer”.

As it also failed to provide supporting evidence for a number of its claims, and refused to cooperate in resolving these matters, the ASA has reported it to the Office of Fair Trading, which has the power to take recalcitrant advertisers to court.

Christopher Graham, the ASA's director general, said: “It is very disappointing, but absolutely necessary, that we have had to take this course of action. The ASA has given Ryanair every opportunity to put its house in order.” 

In riposte, the airline says it wants the OFT to assess the ASA's “unfair procedures, bias and false judgments”, having publicly branded the regulator “Absolutely Stupid Asses”.

Ryanair has contravened the Code of Advertising Practice seven times in the last two years, including once for an ad that allegedly breached rules on social decency and responsibility; also for publishing incorrect information about aviation's impact on climate change.

It is also infamous for charging a disabled passenger for loading a wheelchair onto one of its aircraft.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff