Flyer takes on Flybe over its hidden costs

Tony Evans
Tony Evans
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WHEN Tony Evans saw he’d been charged a booking fee by Flybe by mistake he was incensed.

The frequent flyer was left with an £11.52 booking fee when his debit card was mistakenly charged as a credit card.

But rather than take it on the chin, the quantity surveyor took on the fight – all the way to court.

Although he lost the case, Mr Evans has vowed not to give up.

After the hearing, Mr Evans said: ‘Consumers, unless they are lawyers, don’t have a standing chance.

‘I will take this issue to the authorities and regulators.’

Mr Evans, who lives in Paulsgrove and works abroad as well as in the UK was charged seven euros twice when he made bookings on the Flybe website on July 23 and November 3 last year.

In its advertising, Flybe says debit cards are free to use but credit cards attract a seven euro processing fee.

Although Flybe accepted it had charged Mr Evans during the hearing at Portsmouth County Court, Stephen Griffiths, the company’s head of revenue, told the court the claimant’s debit card was wrongly logged as a credit card.

Mr Griffiths said: ‘Mastercard has classified that card is a credit card.

‘They have said it is an error and that it needs to be changed.

‘We can’t actually change the situation.’

He said no similar complaints have been made.

The court was told Mr Griffiths went through the web logs with an IT expert to see whether Mr Evans had been shown a credit card processing fee was being added to the transaction before he made the payments.

Mr Evans denied he saw a change in the headline price – the cost before credit card transaction fees are applied.

He argued the first he knew of the charges was when he had paid for the flights.

Although the court found Flybe had not broken its contract with Mr Evans, nor had it misrepresented its fares, he says he will continue his battle on moral grounds.

Judge Stephen Alexandre ordered Mr Evans to pay £100 costs to the company but turned down the defence’s application for its legal costs to be paid.

In April 2012, following an investigation, the Office of Fair Trading told a number of airlines, including Flybe, to include debit card charges in the headline price and not separately.