Ryanair has defended themselves against “speculative and false” claims circulating on social media that they misled passengers over their charity scratch card scheme.
Facebook user James McKelvie criticised the low-cost airline, calling them “utterly cynical”.
Writing a post, which has already been shared over 16,000 times on the social networking site, he explained how having done his own “investigation” into the scratch cards, he discovered that only a marginal amount of donations actually reach the charity.
Scratch cards are offered to passengers on most flights. The cards cost €2 and a proportion of the proceeds are said to go to a charity selected by the airline. Passengers also enter to win prizes, including a possible €1million.
Mr McKelvie alleges: “They [Ryanair] were selling them [cards] using the children’s hospice charity CHAS which, they said, benefitted from their sale.”
“On later investigation, I discovered that in 2013 they sold about 16 million euro worth of scratch cards and distributed 55,000 euro to charities, i.e. about 0.3%, or less than one cent for each 2 euro scratch card went to charity.”
In the post, Mr McKelvie also condemned the Dublin-based airline over the chances of winning the top prize of €1million euro from participating in the scratch
He claims: “There is also only one card per year with the chance of winning the million euro, but if you are lucky enough to get this card, you are then invited to choose from 125 envelopes, only one of which has a cheque for 1 million euro. The million euro will only be won once every 125 years.”
Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for Ryanair told The Independent: “The information in this Facebook post is entirely speculative and false. The author has no basis for his fanciful and inaccurate guestimates. “
“We don’t disclose how many scratch cards are sold, as this is commercially sensitive. However, over the past five years Ryanair has donated over €2m to almost 50 charities across 12 different EU countries. These charities cover a wide range of hospitals, schools, child welfare and sports club fundraisings. Over the last 12 months alone more than €500,000 was donated to charitable causes.”
“Over the last five years the €1m top prize has not (yet) been won, but over €1,500,000 has been won by Ryanair customers in free cars and cash prizes.”