Refunds, BCH credit notes and your travel protection
Kirbys and the travel industry in general havent been too good at explaining our current situation and our ability to issue refunds as quickly as we should and would like, partly because the situation is complex and requires a degree of patience from both us in our explanation and in the reader.
You will be aware that we are members of the Bonded Coach Holidays Group (BCH), who provide protection for your money, in the unlikely event that we cease trading. BCH are approved by the Government in providing this protection. However, this bond will not be able to provide any money to refund our customers in the case of a cancellation due to Covid-19.
Kirbys bond is provided by Barclays Bank PLC who hold a large cash guarantee which is provided by clients deposits, security over company property and personal guarantees. This money cannot be accessed whilst the company is solvent and trading.
All refunds issued to our valued clients have had to come from operating funds, funds which have been stretched to cover the operating costs of a largely mothballed company which has seen barely three months of significantly reduced trading in a full year.
Hopefully you can now see why we are not able to provide refunds immediately, but we will when we are able to resume trading. Because of this we are, in some cases, providing refund credit notes protected by the BCH allowing customers to book a future holiday or request a refund when trading resumes. Refund credit notes issued by BCH members in respect of coach-based package holidays are protected by the BCH Financial Guarantee in the event of a members financial failure.
The positive news is that protected refund credit notes are recognised by both the Government and Trading Standards
The coach industry isnt recognised as Tourism & Leisure or Retail and therefore is not eligible for any specific support from the government other than the contribution to the cost of furlough.
The irony is that Kirbys would need to fail financially for the money held by the bank to be released to clients through the bond scheme. Something we desperately want to avoid as all of our employees would lose their income and affect each of their families at a time when there are few job opportunities.
For us during this time its become about surviving the pandemic, doing right by our customers as quickly as possible and right by our employees so that we can continue to provide the holidays, theatre trips and days out that have been so popular over the last 68 years.
This message is approved by Trading Standards.
In line with the the current lock-down we have closed our office, bookings can still be made on-line and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to us at Princess Road, Rayleigh, SS6 8HR.
If you were due to travel during the latest lock-down period, all travel has been cancelled or postponed and we will be contacting you directly.
We are expecting that once the restrictions are lifted 2021 will be a bumper year and urge you to use this time to make plans for later Spring, Summer and beyond as places will be limited and demand high.
From Kirbys we wish you all the healthiest 2021.
Please read our operation procedures, we have put these guidelines in place to protect yourself, your fellow passengers and our staff.
1. If you join the coach at the depot, our toilets will be available however, waiting room will be closed.
2. Before entering the coach, your driver/courier will disembark and complete a temperature check for each passenger before allowing you to board. If your temperature is too high (>37.7°C) you will be requested not to travel, for the safety of all other passengers.
3. Face coverings must always be worn onboard (this can be a scarf or other textile item), if you do not bring one with you, we will have face masks available for purchase as this is a legal requirement. Please understand there are legitimate health related exceptions to this, if a fellow passenger isnt wearing a face covering, they may have a valid reason.
4. At comfort stops and when we reach the hotel, venues or attractions we ask you to wait for your driver/courier to get off the coach whilst you board & alight. Please disembark from front to rear and embark from rear to front to avoid coming within 1 metre of other passengers.
5. You must use the hand sanitiser provided whilst entering the coach.
6. There will be seats on the coach that cannot be used, this will be made clear by using signage on these seats. We will contact you If your chosen seat has had to be changed.
7. Our onboard toilet is only available for emergency use. Please ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly and wipe down touch points before exiting using wipes provided. There will be onboard signage reminding you to do this.
8. Your driver/courier will be wiping down touch points onboard at every comfort stop with antiviral wipes.
9. You are welcome to bring drinks, sweets and small snacks to consume onboard the coach however please dont eat sandwiches on the coach.
10. Please try to minimise your use of the coach toilet.
We wish you a happy, safe and enjoyable experience with us,