As all those daytime TV ads make clear, a lot of people have been making a lot of money by helping people to claim compensation for missold Payment Protection Insurance. The concept has now moved on to the travel industry!
refund.me is a site which promises to help you claim any compensation you are due under EU regulations for cancelled or delayed flights. These payments can reach €600 per person, although airlines have historically had a track record of doing all they can to avoid paying up.
For a fee of 15% + VAT (recently reduced from 25% + VAT), refund.me will do the work for you. Their database will check the timings of your flight to see if you qualify, and then provide the documentation you need – this can be signed electronically.
(They also offer to help you claim compensation for delayed rail, coach or ship journeys, under arcane bits of EU legislation about which I know nothing!)
What the site does not seem to be able to do is to handle compensation claims for being downgraded. They DO handle claims for denied boarding, however.
It is debatable whether the €600 payment is actually fair compensation in a lot of cases. €2400 does seem like rather a lot of money to compensate my family of four for spending four extra hours in the airport. However, the rules are the rules – and the implicit reason for the penalty is to encourage airlines to be more proactive in the first place, such as having spare aircraft available.
If anyone has any experience of using refund.me, please let us know in the comments below.