A few months ago I went to a festival in Devon. Keeping with the festival spirit, we decided to camp in a picturesque campsite with reasonable rates. But there was a £200 ‘good behaviour bond’… are such bonds fair?
Being a well-behaved bunch, we didn’t have any money swiped from our credit cards come the end of our stay. But I was curious as to what would’ve constituted a break of the good behaviour bond. Would we really have had £200 taken from us if we’d broken it?
When I phoned the campsite, they told me that £200 was the ceiling amount that would have ever been taken. Examples given for deductions included damage to their property or excessive noise. They told me taking any money would have been a last resort and they’d never taken any money from anyone before.
Bountiful examples of behaviour bonds
A little bit more digging around showed good behaviour bonds being used elsewhere. A couple of hotels in the West Country include bonds for ‘single sex groups’ on their websites (perhaps to protect against rowdy stag dos or hen parties).
Comedy bars also use them. One London club says ‘groups of 10 or more (or smaller groups at the management’s discretion) will need to sign a behaviour bond and pay a £40 deposit, which will be refunded at the end of the night as long as the terms and conditions of the bond are followed’. Another comedy club goes into further detail, citing persistent talking, texting or tedious heckling as reasons for bond breakage.
Bound by your behaviour?
So, can establishments actually take money from you with good behaviour bonds? Well, for any money to be taken from you, said company would need to show that they had suffered financial loss as a result of your actions.
Taking money off for noise or drunkenness could be difficult to justify, as what’s too loud or too drunk can be subjective. It would certainly be reasonable to be ejected from a venue for anti-social behaviour, but it could be tricky to take money from them.
I’m personally not sure what to think about good behaviour bonds. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any club or accommodation should have to put up with bad behaviour. If people act anti-socially I think they should be told to leave the premises, but I’m not sure what I think about docking money. What about you? Do you think good behaviour bonds are a reasonable way to make clientele behave well? Have you ever been asked for a good behaviour bond?