It turned out why Ryanair was fined. Contrary to earlier rumours, Ryanair was not fined by the Hungarian consumer protection agency for passing on the departure tax. It was because the airline claimed to be subject to the new special tax, according to a decision by the Consumer Protection Department of the Budapest government office.
Special tax for Ryanair
The Hungarian government decided in early June to introduce new taxes in seven different sectors. Ruling party Fidesz called this an extra-profit tax. One of the seven sectors was air transport. Under the new tax, airlines had to pay HUF 3,900 (EUR 9.88) per ticket for travel after 1 July. Airlines had to pay this amount even if the ticket was sold before the tax was introduced.
Ryanair called the tax nonsense. It then passed the amount on to passengers in an official statement. The airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, and the entire airline have been locked in a communications war with the Hungarian government. O’Leary called the Minister for Economic Development, Márton Nagy, an idiot, a fool and a madman. Justice Minister Judit Varga said that “Ryanair’s attitude will have consequences.”
The Metropolitan Government Office has launched a consumer protection procedure against Ryanair. Varga announced on Monday that the investigation had resulted in a fine of HUF 300 million (EUR 765,000) being imposed on Ryanair. In response, Ryanair is appealing against what it says is an unfounded fine.
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Turnaround on the fine
My Late Machine wrote that the basis for the fine was not that the airline passed the tax on to its passengers. According to the decision of the Consumer Protection Department of the Metropolitan Government Office, the airline was fined for claiming to be subject to the new special tax, reports kesettagepem.hu.
Ryanair was found to have misled consumers. Not only in its public communications, but also in its General Terms and Conditions, the company passed on the tax to passengers on this basis. According to Ryanair, the transfer itself was not challenged by the Government Office, Telex.hu writes.
“The Company’s commercial practice of including the amount of the departure tax in its fares is not unfair: it is not a blacklisting practice, nor is it misleading or an aggressive commercial practice.”
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Source: telex.hu, kesettagepem.hu
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