A new Irish company is taking on airlines reluctant to pay out to customers...
If you've had a flight delayed over the past six years and haven't received financial compensation, a young Dublin startup is here to help.
Having noticed the reluctance of airlines to pay up – as they are required to due under an EU regulation introduced in 2005 – MyRefund.ie has spent the past 18 months helping people get their legal refund for delayed flights that fall within the EU's jurisdiction.
Company founder Paul Bolger joined Breakfast Business to explain their big idea:
"[EC 261] was set up to have a common practice for compensating passengers who have delayed, cancelled or denied boarding.
"So, for example, if you're three hours late on arrival, depending on the distance of your flight, you're due between €250 and €600 in compensation. This is an EU regulation, it should be quite straightforward."
The regulation has been underpinned by a number of court decisions – in 2015, it was ruled that the "technical faults" that included flat tires could no longer be used as "extraordinary circumstances".
"In our experience," said Bolger, "what happens is that the average Joe goes to the airlines, tries to make a claim and comes up against a wall of 'extraordinary circumstances'. That's where we come in."
"What we do is we help passengers to obtain the rights to compensation.
"So we take on the case from start to finish and we charge 25% plus VAT. We offer a completely 'no win, no fee' basis – we don't get paid unless our clients do, so it's completely risk-free for our clients."
The five-person MyRefund.ie team also has a call centre offering advice on cases.
"No obligation," he says of the line. "If they want to go ahead with us they can, if they want to ahead themselves against the airlines, that's no issue."
Bolger has found that many clients have tried airlines before approaching his company, but that they'd "gotten nowhere".
How does MyRefund.ie do it?
"The regulation is there, that's our clout really. They know we won't go away, we know the regulation inside out.
"We also have a panel of solicitors that we can bring forward if we need to."
Heading to their website, you will need your flight number, the airline and details of the delay. How much you could make is down to the delay and the distance travelled:
"Pretty big figures, says Bolger. "If you're a family of four going to Faro, you're talking about €1,600. Most of our clients will use that to book another holiday."
Thus far, MyRefund.ie has secured €1.4 million for roughly 4,000 passengers, and Bolger says the business is growing month-on-month.
"The awareness rate in Ireland is pretty much non-existent," he concludes, citing reports that only 10% of people are claiming their entitlements.
"That's a lot of money the airlines are holding onto."