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During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic (ongoing at the time of writing, 2020-05-06), many airlines are cancelling flights and then offering vouchers instead of refunds. Several questions address this issue already.

If I accept a voucher, I can no longer ask for a chargeback on the card used for booking, because the transaction will have completed. Now Condor Airlines write:

Allen Gästen mit einem geplanten Abflug von 12. März 2020 bis zum 28. Mai 2020 (Kurz- und Mittelstrecke) sowie bis zum 25. Juni 2020 werden persönlich kontaktiert und erhalten bei Flugannullierung automatisch ein Flugguthaben, das flexibel und vielfältig eingesetzt werden kann.

Meaning:

All guests with a planned departure between 12 March 2020 and 28 May 2020 (short and middle distance) and up to 25 June 2020 are personally contacted and in case of cancellation automatically receive a voucher, that can be used flexibly and in many ways.

That sounds like they're going to be issuing vouchers whether we want it or not. Condor are still legally obliged to give me a refund, but it may be hard to get one, so we may alternately try the card issuer. However, if Condor do give us a voucher without our consent (rather than offering it to us with the option for us to refuse), does that mean the route via our card issuer is closed to us?

(our departure date for an intercontinental flight is later than 25 June, but I assume the situation will not have normalised in July and that our flight will not happen)

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    This should be asked over on the Law SE for better legal answers, but I wouldn't think that an involuntary action would remove your right to seek redress via the card issuer - Condor can invalidate the voucher upon successful chargeback if they wish, but the voucher shouldn't itself remove your options. – Moo May 6 at 9:02
  • I would agree it would be better asked in Law, but I am actually of the other opinion than Moo. I believe (but have no even-anecdotal evidence, that if the airline gives you value of any kind (be it the actual flight, or a voucher for a future flight) then charge-back won't work and can be fought. After all the seller did give you value. It would be nice to know the actual rules/laws. – CGCampbell May 6 at 19:53
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    @CGCampbell I disagree because that would mean that you could buy something, and instead of delivering that something, the vendor could give you anything they liked of a same value and you would be without recourse, which isnt true. Condor is already violating EU law by issuing a voucher instead of a refund. – Moo May 6 at 20:06
  • @CGCampbell the other issue is that a voucher is likely to have less buying power when airlines start to fly again because prices are likely to skyrocket because of low yields. By issuing you a voucher, Condor is basically locking you into spending more with them to use that voucher. – Moo May 6 at 20:09
  • @Moo check out the links I put into Travel Chat - American Express agrees with me, Mastercard weasels, Visa wibbles and wobbles (doesn't say anything, really) but several other (Canadian mostly) banks agree with you. – CGCampbell May 6 at 22:35

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