11344

Refunds update #6: 31 March 2017

Hey folks - we are so pleased to have some movement of funds at last! You've been so amazing! Thanks for sticking with us on this!!!

So... a significant, but by no means complete, amount of money has been returned to us from the insurance provider which means (and this is important to note) that by topping this amount up with our cash reserves, we can now begin the ticket refund process! (We promise we are not jumping the gun this time - it's really happening!)

So what's happening?

If you're in the majority of people who bought a ticket direct from the ticket provider (Quicket) you'll receive an email from Quicket in the next few days confirming the refund has been sent back to the account from which it came. As usual with electronic funds transfers, the refund will likely take 3-5 business days to land in your account, so please remain patient 🙂

'Unconventional' refunds

Approximately 5-10% of ticket holders will have circumstances that require manual processing i.e. you bought tickets from someone else (ticket transfer) or the bank account/credit card you purchased with has closed. We need to be rigorous in making sure we direct these manual refunds correctly so these will take a little longer and we will need you to work with us.

We are committed to clearing all refunds as quickly as possible and your patience is appreciated if you are in this group. We will contact anyone who we cannot refund directly.

Please see the ticket refund FAQ for full details and instructions on how we need to handle these refunds.

What are the “cash reserves”?

OK this is really important. Some of you may be asking "What? Reserve cash? Why didn't you pay us out of that before?"

Well, Burning Seed has been been working hard to put away a small amount of money each year to allow for pre-production costs that grow as the event grows, as well for unforeseeable circumstances like the proverbial “very rainy day”...

The cash we had in reserve alone wouldn't have been anywhere near enough for us to pay everyone back their refunds immediately. So we're using the portion of the insurance that has been returned to us together with what we have saved over the years to cover the cost of the refund. It's cleaned us out folks!

We're banking on the rest of the insurance monies coming in soon and of course we are banking on YOU wanting to come back to Seed in 2017!!

Using the savings was no small decision to make. We've thought long and hard about this. We considered staggering the refund process - that is, somehow prioritising refunds with what money we had received from the insurers.

But honestly this would have been an incredibly messy and potentially divisive approach. How would we choose who got refunded first? Too messy - that's why we've been pushing so hard for the insurance monies.

Everyone is a priority and we feel the right thing to do is what we've done - to wait until we had enough in the bank from the insurance to refund everyone's ticket.

But don't you need the reserves?

Well, yes of course we do. But with the portion of the insurance we've received and the reserves we have we're able (just) to cover the cost of all ticket refunds and we feel that's the priority right now.

It will mean that we cannot make any purchases until we have the rest of the insurance money in, and until we open ticket sales for 2017 (look out for this soon).

Another really important reason why we are using the reserve cash is to do with tax. Our tax year ends 31 March- like TODAY! Although we haven't received all the insurance money, there is a significant sum sitting in our account and if it stays there we could be liable for a pretty massive tax bill which would put us even further behind.

It's a no brainer. It's a much bigger risk for Seed to bear these tax costs and wait for the remainder of the insurance monies before we start the refunds than it is to deplete the cash reserve and get the payments to you underway. However, this is still a risk and it does leave us in a pretty precarious financial position.

How much has been returned and how much used from the reserve cash?

We'll break it all down for you in the regular annual financial statement which will be published in the next month or so once we've finalised the refunds and had time to do the work to complete the accounts.

More questions?

OK we know you have more questions - check out the ticket refund FAQ we have prepared which should hopefully answer most of them - if not then please email ticketing@burningseed.com and we'll do our best to help.

Once again folks - thank you so much for being such a cool crew. This kind of stuff can test any community in terms of their resolve, resilience and willingness to stick together and just wow did you pass with all the colours. We really love you for that.

Burn Bright!

11309

Refunds update #5: 10 March 2017

OK folks - so it does look like we may have jumped the gun a little with our last update at the end of January... Throughout this process of trying to get the refunds sorted, we've been mindful to be super careful about raising any expectations.... but we've also had to balance that with the need to let you know about any movement in the process.

Positive Signals

When we got positive and clear signals in January that the funds were indeed moving, and moving quickly, we just had to let you know. It's been 6 weeks now since we got that news and, if it wasn't already clear, we need to let you know now that there's been an unexpected delay. We're really, really sorry. This is a crazy complex issue and the TL:DR version is that there's a dispute within Lloyd’s of London, our insurer, as to the share of liability between two of their syndicate partners. We've been in touch with our broker almost daily and each time the message is that we're expecting this to be resolved soon.

Blue Chip Dispute

Now Lloyd’s of London is no bucket shop - it's a blue chip global insurer with a reputation they fiercely maintain. They're now addressing this partner dispute directly after our broker made an official complaint about the delay in payment. It is clear - and we can confidently say - that our broker, our underwriter and Lloyd’s of London all agree our claim is proper, documented and valid and needs to be paid. All these parties are confident full payment will happen - it just relies on when an agreement can be reached between these two syndicate partners at Lloyd’s of London.

Applying Pressure

Our underwriter is now putting pressure on the lead syndicate partner to pay us in full and then sort out the issue with the other syndicate partner. They say this is a highly unusual situation and that everyone all the way to Lloyd’s of London is doing what they can to resolve this dispute between the partners.

The Man, The Irony

It is kind of ironic that our little Burn is being pushed and pulled around the desks of City financiers on the other side of the world but there it is.  As mentioned, our broker is in touch with us almost daily on this and when we have any more concrete information to pass on we'll do that. For the time being, we're so, so grateful for your patience and understanding. We've never had to deal with an issue like this and while we're learning on the (volunteer) job, we're realising much of the solution lies outside of our control. We've done and we are doing all we can to get that cash back in your pocket.

Seed 2017 - a question for you

The delay with the refund is actually impacting Seed more deeply than we might have expected. We've been super conscious of getting the refund situation resolved and behind us before kicking off shenanigans for 2017, but we're getting to the point now where we have some critical dates we need to meet - so we have a question for you.... How do you feel about us pushing on with plans for Burning Seed 2017 in parallel with the refunds process? Does that feel OK?

Planning for Seed

We don't feel we can hold on for much longer - we have some key announcements and decisions to make around art, theme, tickets and new ideas on insurance (which will be tougher to get now) for 2017.

As a community we know we all want to start getting excited, getting involved and making plans for this year's event - as much as we can with this still hanging over us. One of the most urgent things we need to do is recruit, recruit, recruit for some lead positions on the core organising team. Whatever your skills, interests, experiences or preferences, we're looking for people to crew some of our team leadership positions including at Centre Camp, Comms, Kitchen, PEER, Rangers, Traffic and Mutant Vehicles! - if you're keen to get involved or find out more visit the website TODAY!

So let us know what you think. We'll keep posting updates on the refunds and we'll try and do that as regularly as makes sense.  Again, thank you folks for your incredible patience and understanding.

Burn Bright!