Low-cost airline Ryanair have been criticised by consumer groups after it emerged that their “revamped” complaints procedure now involves disappointed customers being put through to a homeless Dublin man.
“Tell Mick about it” is the budget carrier’s new message for anybody who is unhappy with the service they receive while a captive on one of their flights, and includes a mobile phone number to call. But, rather than being a direct line to the company’s chief executive Michael O’Leary, as many believed it would be, the phone is actually in the possession of an alcoholic Dublin man of no fixed address.
‘For many years now Ryanair have been successful by offering low prices, rather than by treating customers better than battery chickens. But we believed that they were turning a corner when they told us about this new service, with a dedicated complaints line that would be available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.’ said Melanie Dawes of consumer group Which?.
‘However, when we tested the number our call was answered with a string of swear words shouted at us in a strong Irish accent. At first we thought that the man on the other end of the phone was Michael O’Leary and we’d just woke him up, but further investigation revealed that it was actually a tramp in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, called Mick.’
The investigation carried out by Which? discovered that Ryanair, in an effort to cut costs, had made their entire customer service department redundant and then given an old Nokia mobile phone and twelve litres of vodka to a vagrant. The number to that phone was published on their website and Mick was left to deal with complaints in his own unique, sweary way.
In the wake of the report Ryanair have strongly defended the move, claiming that the new service provides the personal touch that their customers have been looking for.
‘Mick is very committed to his job since we super glued the phone to his hand, and will answer it any time, day or night, with a traditional Irish greeting.’ said Michael O’Leary, ‘People simply need to understand that “miserable shower of fucks” is actually a term of great endearment. Either way he’s still considerably more helpful than most of our staff, and has actually just won employee of the month.’