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Watchdog to act on Ryanair ads.

BUDGET airline Ryanair is to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading after a string of complaints by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA said its decision to refer Ryanair to the OFT followed "a catalogue of breaches" of advertising codes and unwillingness to comply with rulings.

The authority had formally investigated complaints about Ryanair's advertisements and found them in breach on seven occasions over a two-year period.

It said the airline had persistently misled consumers by making exaggerated claims about the availability of flights at advertised prices and advertised prices that did not include taxes and charges.

The airline had also made misleading and denigrating comparisons with competitors and had not stated restrictions that would exclude customers from taking up an offer, the ASA added.

A spokesman said the ASA rarely made formal referrals to the OFT, the most recent being in 2005, and only once it had established that an advertiser was unable to work within the rules.

Christopher Graham, director general of the ASA, 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 and ensure that its advertising adheres to the codes. Instead, they have continued to mislead consumers and denigrate competitors."

Ryanair made its own complaint to the OFT last week over "unfair, biased and untrue" rulings against the carrier by the ASA.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2008
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