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Coronavirus cancelling trains: refund?

Does anyone know if OBB trains are providing refunds for cancelled trains in light of COVID-19? I pre-purchased train tickets from Zurich to Vienna, Vienna to Salzburg, and Salzburg to Zurich for next week. I'm based in the US and obviously, our trip is cancelled now (we would've cancelled even if the government hadn't forced our hand - just too risky). Today I received emails regarding the two Austria-Switzerland connecting trains I am on; the emails basically said nothing ("alert regarding your train" but no info on what the alert was), but directed me to check the timetables on OBB's website. I did that and sure enough there's an advisory that all trains to/from Switzerland are indefinitely suspended, but there's no information on whether refunds are being given or what their policy is or if they'll provide information at a later date...nothing. I've already sent an email to OBB via their generic feedback account, but can't call them without paying astronomical international fees. I realize they are overburdened with hundreds of people right now, so I'm just trying to gauge if anyone has had any experience obtaining refunds and/or might have some tips for me.

Posted by
11676 posts

We had no travel with ÖeBB, but our tickets from Brig to MIlan were promptly refunded by SBB upon a simple email request, giving the date of travel and reason for canceling.

Our tickets for travel in southern Italy were purchased through Trainline and I got a refund from them by going into my bookings and hitting the "cancel" button. You might look for something like that on you OeBB tickets.

Posted by
1549 posts

there's no information on whether refunds are being given

At this page you'll find an "application for refund" form. I'm not sure about the Vienna-Salzburg leg (may depend on the type of your ticket), but Zurich-Vienna and vv. has to be be refunded since train traffic to and from Switzerland has been suspended.

Posted by
5308 posts

Bizarrely, the OBB home page gives information on getting refunds for trains to /from Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, or Poland (last sentence), but not Switzerland (although it says in the first sentence that those trains are also suspended):

Due to the current situation the train service from and to Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland is temporarily suspended. The train service from and to the Czech Republic will be suspended from 14.03.2020, 0.00 am onward. Further details are provided in the route information, SCOTTY mobil or the service center 00435-1717.
ÖBB tickets from and to Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic or Poland for journeys until 03.04.2020 can be cancelled for free at the ticket office.

https://www.oebb.at/en

Posted by
5 posts

Right?! I thought it was so odd that they had detailed assurances for pretty much all of the countries they're cancelling service to, except Switzerland - which I'd think would be a pretty common travel destination. But things are moving fast with these travel bans, so I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume maybe they are working on updating their refund policy and website communications? The cancellation page and refund request form are very appreciated - I've submitted the form along with documentation through their customer service website, so fingers crossed someone responds from beyond the virtual void!

Posted by
432 posts

In addition to pursuing refunds through OBB, check the credit card you used regarding insurance you may have if you can't get refunded by OBB. You can also dispute the credit card charges and may be able to get the charges reversed if necessary.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks again for the responses! As an update, I just today received a full refund in answer to the forms I submitted via their generic “feedback” email. It took two weeks for someone to respond to my inquiry, and at first they only offered vouchers for a future trip; I asked if a refund was possible instead of the vouchers (given that I don’t know when I’ll be able to make it over there), and a few days later I got a personal email back saying that ÖBB agreed to refund in full! I now have the funds applied back to my original form of payment. While the process took a bit longer than I hoped, the ÖBB representative was extremely polite and professional in our email correspondence. All things considered, the train refund was a much smoother process than any of the airline refunding debacles I’ve had to fight through. Just to say, keep at it and be patient! It worked for me :)

Posted by
1 posts

Our OBB train from Vienna to Venice scheduled for June 1st is showing we can cancel online, but NOT the first class reserved seats! Why wouldn't we get a $30 refund for the seat reservations if the trip itself is canceled? I have only gotten auto message replies to my two emails, but received a broadcast email with a phone number. Is it really a necessary to incur the expense of an international call to get a full refund?

Posted by
1278 posts

As far as I know OeBB charges €3 per seat reservation, independently of 1st or 2nd class.
Unless you are a group of 9 people the amount of $30 seems to be something different.

Posted by
5308 posts

Glad that it finally worked out. It sounds like having patience and staying on top of it were the keys. Sorry for the cancellation of your trip.

Posted by
288 posts

I received an email from ÖBB stating that I can resubmit my request for refund after 13 April. It took them nearly two weeks to respond to my original request.

Posted by
1278 posts

It took them nearly two weeks to respond to my original request.

No surprise. You cannot well operate a call center under the current do-not-gather restrictions.