Escorted coach tours firm Shearings has transferred to a trust account customer protection model.

Customer payments are stored in an independently-operated trust account until after their holiday has taken place.

This enables passengers to be refunded quickly if the holiday does not go ahead for any reason, according to the operator.

The company, which was formerly bonded by the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK’s Bonded Coach Holidays [BCH], said it can now financially protect customers across their full product range, including self-drive breaks and gift vouchers, which were previously not covered.

Shearings joins a growing number of travel companies choosing the trust account method of customer protection.

Leger Holidays acquired the Shearings name, website and customer database for an undisclosed sum last June after former owner Specialist Leisure Group went into adminstration the previous month.

Leger Holidays and Shearings’ commercial director Liam Race said: “Whilst Leger Holidays was delighted to resurrect the iconic Shearings’ brand last year, the collapse of the company under the former owner left a nasty taste for some customers left out of pocket due to some holiday components being uncovered by the BCH bonding.

“Shearings has a loyal, repeat business customer base and we wanted to reassure them that this would never happen again and that they could continue to enjoy the same Shearings’ holidays they love, whilst being 100% covered for every penny they spent on their holidays.

“In the current environment we want Shearings’ customers to be confident that if for any reason our tours do not go ahead, for example due to tier restrictions or lockdowns, then the customer can choose a refund, which they will receive within seven days.”

He added: “Travel agents can assure customers that Shearings has chosen the most robust financial protection for their holiday payments.

“By switching to a secure trust account we cannot touch our customers’ money until after their holiday – we can’t use it, for example, to prepay suppliers.”

The change follows Shearings introducing another change from the former owners.

A new ‘One Price Policy’ means that holidays are priced according to the package selected and date of travel and not by availability and time of booking.