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Ryanair claims it'll clear 90% of its refund backlog by the end of July – here's what to do if you're still waiting

Ryanair claims it'll clear 90% of its refund backlog by the end of July – here's what to do if you're still waiting

There may be new hope for Ryanair customers waiting for refunds for cancelled flights, as the airline has said it's making "rapid progress" to clear its refund backlog – but some say they're still struggling to get paid.

In the past few months we've received scores of complaints from Ryanair customers, with some saying they were being sent "round in circles" to get a refund from the airline.

Ryanair languished near the bottom of MoneySavingExpert.com's latest travel survey, which ran between 30 June and 6 July 2020. Only 4% of Ryanair customers who responded to the survey said they'd received a full refund after having their trip cancelled.

But the airline now claims that 90% of customers who booked directly with Ryanair and requested refunds for cancelled flights between March and June are set to be paid by the end of July.

Ryanair says it's already paid all its cash refund requests from March, and 50% of requests from April – and aims to have paid all its April cash refunds by Wednesday 15 July. Additionally, the airline says it will have paid all May refunds and most June refunds by the end of July.

These figures will also include passengers who had accepted a voucher or rebooking instead of cash.

See our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide for more info on getting refunds for cancelled holidays during the pandemic.

'I'm still waiting for a refund for my flights from March'

As well as the poor travel survey results, we've seen several reports on social media from customers who claim they're still waiting for March refund requests – even though Ryanair has said these should all have been paid. Here are a couple we spotted:

Ryanair also claims that a "significant minority" of its refunds are being blocked due to unauthorised online travel agents providing fake email addresses and virtual credit cards which can't be traced back to consumers. It says affected customers should get in touch with their online travel agent to ask them to co-operate with Ryanair to process the refund.

We've asked Ryanair about the claims that some refund requests from March haven't been paid, and will update when we hear back.

I'm still waiting for a Ryanair refund – what can I do?

As Ryanair has confirmed it will pay refunds to those who ask for them, and has committed to a timeline for paying out requests, if you can afford to it could be worth showing forbearance over the next few weeks while it works through its backlog. Hopefully most now are being paid or soon will be.

But if you desperately need the cash, or Ryanair has missed its deadline to pay your refund (for example, if you're still waiting for a refund from March), there are steps you can try:

1) Try to contact Ryanair – live chat may be best. If you need to contact Ryanair, your best bet may be to use its live chat, where you can speak to a customer service agent (though you may have to wait in a live chat queue).

2) Try claiming from your card firm under the chargeback scheme, or through Section 75 if it doesn't work. If you paid by credit or debit card and you're struggling to get a refund from Ryanair, one option is to ask your card firm to get you your money back instead under the chargeback scheme.

Your bank will try to get money back from the bank of the firm you bought from – see our Chargeback guide for full info. This isn't a legal requirement though, just a customer service promise, and there are no guarantees – especially as Ryanair has said it's making progress to pay out refunds.

It's worth being aware that even after you've got money back via chargeback, the cash can still technically be clawed back if the firm you bought from successfully disputes your claim within a limited period.

If you paid for a flight costing over £100 using a credit card, you may also be able to make a claim using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act – which, unlike chargeback, is a legal right as your card firm is jointly liable with the company.

3) As a last resort, you could report Ryanair to the regulator or consider a legal route. Reporting Ryanair to regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – as we already have – may not immediately get you a refund, but could help pile the pressure on. You can do this using a form on the CAA's website.

Ryanair used to be part of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, but unfortunately Aviation ADR says it stopped accepting new Ryanair complaints in late 2018, so this isn't an avenue you'll be able to take.

If all else fails, the CAA says disputes with airlines can be escalated in a small claims court – so you could consider challenging Ryanair legally, though you'll need to weigh up whether it's worth doing this, especially as Ryanair has promised to pay refunds to those who want them. If you're considering this, it may be worth first contacting the CAA's advice and complaints team on 0330 022 1916 to discuss the situation and whether there might be another way to resolve it.