Legal Action against Travel Agencies in Switzerland Halted

Αssociated Press

People queue to receive bags with free food and essential products received from donations at the ice stadium Les Vernets, in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, May 16, 2020. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA — The Swiss government has a message for travelers whose trips in Switzerland were cancelled over the COVID-19 outbreak: Don’t expect any reimbursement from your travel agency just yet.

The executive Federal Council on Wednesday ordered a temporary halt to any legal action against travel agencies seeking payback for canceled trips starting Thursday until the end of September, noting how the sector has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure only involves amounts already paid by customers whose trips were canceled over the pandemic, the government said in a statement. The sums remain due, and “must be paid by travel agencies insofar as possible.”

The move is also aimed to protect consumers, who could stand to receive only part of their expected reimbursement if the travel agencies they used go bankrupt, it said.

The government is also to ensure that airlines Swiss and Edelweiss, which benefit from emergency Swiss measures already adopted to help the ailing airline sector, to uphold their obligations to reimburse travel agencies.