Frequently Asked Questions
On this page we’ve tried to answer all the questions you might have about buying from us. You may also want to take a look at our Terms and Conditions for our ‘Small Print’ (which isn't scary, promise!). If your question isn't answered here, then please don't hesitate to email us or phone us on +44(0)1303 278 137.
You’ll find information relating to the following topics on this page:
- Ordering online: setting up your account, passwords & security
- Your Order: refunds, returns, your invoice, sold out stock
- Making Payments: payment methods accepted, delayed payments, interest free split payments
- Postage Charges
- Other products & services
- Signed Covers
- Our Charity Fund-raising
- Cover Club Membership
- Making a Complaint
Ordering From this Website
Is it secure to buy online from this website?
Yes! But you’ll probably want a little more assurance than that! Many people are suspicious about typing their financial details into a website: they’re right to be. The main problem is that wrong-doers can quite easily snoop on data passing between your computer and the internet. If that data contains your credit card details, you are in trouble! To stop this from happening the industry has devised a system for encrypting sensitive data as it travels around the net. This system is called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). When you visit a webpage which features SSL protection you will notice that the little padlock icon (in your web browser’s window) will click shut, showing that the information that you submit from that page will be transferred securely. Given the security offered by SSL we would advise you never to enter sensitive information into any webpage where the padlock icon is open.
It is worth noting that SSL technology, while very powerful, is only one tool in helping to keep your computer safe. The truth is that there are many other problems, such as viruses, trojans and worms, lurking ‘out there’ just waiting to get into your computer and it is important that you take steps to keep them out. It is an unfortunate fact that the world’s most used web browser, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for Windows, is, many experts would argue, the one that leaves you most open to attacks of these kinds. So, if you wish to improve the security of your computer you should consider installing another web browser, such as Firefox or Opera, and using that to surf the net instead. Many of these alternative browsers are free and offer extra features over the one that came installed with your computer. The website browse-happy has more details.
How do I open an online account on this website?
You need to go to our login page to set up a new account. Fill out your name and address in the boxes at the top of the page, then follow the instructions. Hopefully it will all be smooth and easy! If you are finding it difficult to set up an account, however, please click here for help setting up your account.
I'm trying to set up an online account but your website will not accept any of my password ideas!
Sorry! We know this is really annoying but for your own security your password needs to be hard to guess. Our website is a hard task master and won’t accept passwords it thinks are guessable! Please make sure your password is acombination of letters and numbers or symbols, for example: "r@ts!" or "iou20".
What do you mean by a "password reminder question"?
This is to help you, so if you ever forget your password, you can still access your account because the website can ask you a secret question that you know the answer to. Make sure it is something reasonably hard for a stranger to guess but something that you easily know the answer to - such as "what is the name of my dog?", "what is my favourite food?" or "where did I go to school". You then give your secret answer below (e.g. "Buster", "bacon", "Folkestone" etc).
I've forgotten my password. What now?
No problem! Don't we all? Click here to visit our password retrieving page! It will ask you for your email address first, then ask you your password reminder question which you told us when you set up your account. Once you've answered this, our website sends you an email with a link inside it. Click on the link and it takes you to a page on our website where you can set a new password. Sorry, it is a bit long winded but all this is for your protection to make sure your address and card details are safe.
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What happens if you send me a cover and I decide I don’t want to keep it?
If you return it to us undamaged within 30 days of receipt, you’ll be given a full refund or replacement. You can return covers to us free of charge by using our freepost address:
BUCKINGHAM COVERS LTD
Please remember to return the original invoice with the goods and fill out our return form on the back of your invoice. The return form allows you to say why you are returning the item and most importantly, if you want to swap it, get a credit to your Buckingham Covers account, ask for your card to be refunded or receive a refund cheque.
How long after an issue comes out will it take me to receive my cover?
At the end of each product page on our website, you'll find a list of options in a blue box. Under each option, we put a rough guide for when we expect to send it out (this is in italics, after the description and the "add to cart" button).
We usually receive the covers back from the handstamp centres (who apply the postmarks) within a few days of the issue date although obviously there are sometimes unexpected delays! Once the covers are back with us, we run off the invoices and put them together with the covers. They are sent out by 2nd class post so usually take a couple of days after leaving our offices to land on your doorstep!
However, each issue is different and each version of a cover involves different processes. For example the signed covers usually take longer to produce. We try to get them signed before they are postmarked but this isn’t always possible. In these cases the covers are sent to the signatory as soon as they come back to us from the handstamp centre, but we then have to wait patiently for them to be signed and returned to us. Then they have to be numbered before they can be sent. Additional stamps and cachets are added to some covers too and each process obviously adds a little more time to the production time.
I haven’t received my cover yet but I ordered it ages ago. Where is it?
We like to provide you with as much advance information about covers as possible to give you the chance of reserving them before they all get snapped up! So it may be that the stamps on the covers you have ordered aren’t actually being issued for several months!
If you have ordered a signed cover it is more than likely that it is still with the signatory and we are waiting to receive them back.
If you ever have a query about the whereabouts or status of your order please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to give you as much information as possible. It is also worth looking at our delays page which gives details and updates on any covers or stamp sheets which we know are running late. It also gives more information about why things run late.
I’ve missed out on a cover I really wanted. Is there any chance you’ll be able to get me one?
If you let us know that you want a cover we will keep a record of this on our computer and then if we manage to buy one in or if a customer decides to return theirs we will know to offer you first refusal on it. The chances of a cover becoming available varies for each one. For example if the cover you want is a signed version and we still have unsigned ones in stock we may be able to arrange for more of these to be signed. However, this is dependent on the agreement of the signatory! For really popular covers which have simply all been snapped up, all we can do is wait to see if anybody is willing to part with theirs! But rest assured we will always try our hardest to locate an item for you. Sometimes it may take years but we still honour our waiting list and give you first refusal. Please note thought that we cannot promise to hold the original price as often we end up paying far more to buy a scarce cover in than we first offered it for!
My invoice has DR next to the amount at the bottom. What does this mean?
This indicates a debit (outstanding) balance and means that you owe us money. It could be that we are sending the items out to you on approval and that you have arranged to pay for them on receipt. If you are worried, why not give our customer service team a call on +44(0)1303 2378 137 or email Betty so we can help you sort it out.
My invoice has CR next to the amount at the bottom. What does this mean?
This indicates a credit balance. This usually means that you have other items on order, which aren’t ready to be sent yet, but for which you have already sent payment. This credit will be used towards your next order unless you ask us to refund it to you directly.
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What payment methods do you accept?
We accept all major credit/debit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Maestro as well as Cheques and postal orders. We do accept cash (pounds sterling, Euros and Dollars) but would prefer you to give this to us in person as it is extremely risky to post it and we cannot be held responsible for cash lost in the post. Please note: if you are purchasing from overseas we DO NOT accept US Dollar cheques due to the large bank charges incurred - sorry.
I want to pay by cheque. Who do I make it out to?
Please make your cheque payable to ‘Buckingham Covers’, write your account number or postcode on the back of the cheque and send it to us at: Buckingham Covers, Warren House, Shearway Road, FOLKESTONE, Kent CT19 4BF.
I’d like lots of different covers but I can’t afford them in one go! Can I split payments over a longer period?
We’re happy for you to split the payments of larger orders over a number of months INTEREST FREE using our FlexiPay service. All you have to do is let us know which items you’d like, how many months you’d like to spread the payments over (maximum of 12) and how you would prefer to pay for each instalment. We’ll then set up a reservation for you. You’ll receive a confirmation letter which explains what has been reserved, the exact amount to be charged for each instalment and when the goods are going to be posted out to you. There is no extra charge for this service but there are a few terms and conditions. Click here to find out more.
I know this cover is going to sell out but I’m dithering! Would you reserve it for me for a short period to give me some thinking time?
Yes! We have very limited numbers of our covers and they often sell out very quickly so if you think you might like one, but just need a while to think about it, give us a call and ask us to put it to one side for you. As you’ll appreciate though, if a cover is very popular we will probably have a list of people waiting for it so we wouldn’t be able to reserve one indefinitely, but a couple of days is fine.
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Why do I have to pay a postage charge?
There is no ‘hidden’ charge in the price of our covers to include postage costs so this is charged for separately. We want to ensure that everything you receive from us arrives in perfect condition so all covers are placed in a clear faced bag or more often our special cover pockets and then put onto a stiff black board, which then goes into a high quality envelope. All your packing is done by Vi who takes excellent care of everything. Our postage cost also includes an element of insurance. If your cover is damaged or lost in the post, we’ll replace it at our expense. If we can’t replace it, we’ll refund you in full.
What are your postage charges?
- Our standard UK postage charge is £1.95
- Our standard overseas postage charge is £2.95 (airmail)
- Orders over £100 are sent by recorded delivery £2.95
If you wish to upgrade your UK postage, the following charges apply:
- Recorded delivery (first class, signature required) £2.95
- Special delivery (next day guaranteed delivery, signature required and extra insurance) £4.95
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Other products & services
Do you sell stamps?
We offer our own brand, extremely popular Royal Mail mint stamp sheets in the form of presentation packs. But we no longer sell antique stamps since we sold the Folkestone Stamp Shop in 2008 back to Richard Kennedy, who had run it alongside us for many years and on his own, with the late Brian Uden, before that. If you would like Richard's contact details, please email us.
Do you sell older covers?
We have a fantastic selection of older covers, which we feature in our regular magazine Cover Lover ranging from Victorian first day covers through to modern slogans and definitives, plus thematic and signed covers. We are very proud of the high quality and broad diversity of our stock and believe it has something to suit every collector. For a free copy of our magazine, please email Betty. We'd also recommend that you sign up for our weekly email called The Chairman's Report which spotlights high quality and rare older covers every Monday. Visit our Join the Family page to subscribe.
Do you buy collections?
Much of our stock comes from the purchase of people’s collections and we’re always on the lookout for quality selections. Any collection would need to be viewed before a purchase could be agreed. Please contact Brian Austin for information.
Will I be able to sell my Buckingham collection back to you in the future?
Yes! As you’ll see from the online shop, we are actively looking to buy many of our earlier covers which are now completely sold out. We will always be interested in any Buckingham Cover collections for sale in the future. Please contact Brian Austin in the first instance.
Do you value collections?
We are happy to value collections. Please contact Brian Austin for details.
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How do you arrange to get your covers signed?
Judging by some of the letters and comments, all we have to do is ask the Queen, the Pope, Tom Hanks and David Beckham to sign and they will jump to it. Sadly, this isn’t the case!
Arranging signatures starts off by Tony or Ellie writing hundreds of letters to
celebrities or figures in the public eye. Many never reply. Most send a polite decline (and if we’re lucky, perhaps a facsimile autograph). And then, about one in every hundred, SUCCESS! We’ll get a positive response.
People usually sign in return for a donation to ChildLine. (our official company charity) or to their own favourite good cause. Most signatories get nothing out of signing for us personally and do it purely from a generous nature.
Once someone has agreed to sign, we work directly with them, either delivering or sending them the covers and often collecting these back ourselves. Usually, we leave it to the signatory to decide whether to sign in pen, biro or pencil although occasionally we provide a gold, silver or white pen if the cover has a dark background. Often the signatory is faced with a blank envelope as we’ll put the stamps on later, so we have to explain carefully where to sign ...and when we need them back!
Lots can go wrong with getting covers signed. Sometimes people change their mind, forget to sign or lose the covers! For more on the fun of what can go wrong, see Tony’s article ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ Mostly the signatories are really lovely. We are often astonished and touched to see the trouble that such busy and successful people will take - right down to writing extra messages next to their signature, packing up the box with extra care or sometimes even personally delivering or posting it back to us. We’ve been very lucky to work with these professional and caring people. Some have even become personal friends.
How can I trust that your signatures are genuine?
We can vouch that each signature is genuine because we arrange the signatures ourselves. We keep all correspondence with each signatory so, if challenged, we can prove that they have personally signed each of our covers. As explained above, most people sign covers to raise money for charity and you can see which charities have benefited from their generosity. We are a well-established company and pride ourselves on our integrity. Earning and keeping your trust is essential to the success of our business. Tony Buckingham has been arranging signed covers for 30 years (before he founded Buckingham Covers, he produced signed covers at Benham) and during this time, he has built a reputation for honesty. Buckingham Covers is a name you can trust.
Do you provide Certificates of Authenticity with your signed covers?
We are happy to provide Certificates of Authenticity on request but we don’t provide these automatically. As far as we are concerned, the Buckingham Cover logo acts as your guarantee that the signature is genuine.
Will you tell me the address of my favourite celebrity?
With regret, we won’t give out any celebrity contact addresses, even though we realise that there are many good reasons why you might want to contact them. We owe the people who sign for us a great deal and want to respect their privacy. We hope you will understand this.
How many covers are signed each time?
The number of covers signed varies for each design, depending both on how many covers the celebrity is willing to sign and how many customers want their signature. It is the latter point rather than the former that is important when considering a cover’s future value. If the signature is relevant to the cover and the signatory is popular, then even thousands of signed covers still have good potential. To learn more about how numbers produced affects future value, see Tony’s article How Many is Too Many?.
How are your signed covers numbered?
In January 2005, we introduced gold labels for the back of signed covers - which were replaced by clear labels in January 2008. These tell you the name of the signatory, the total number of covers signed by them and the individual number of your cover. Before 2005, we experimented with different ways of numbering signed covers. Often they were numbered in with unsigned covers, making the figure appear higher than it really is. If you buy earlier covers, you will see different methods used for numbering - and in the very beginning back in 2001 we didn’t always number covers at all!
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Our Charity Fund-raising
How do you raise money for charity?
Our main way of raising money for charity is through our signed covers. We donate money either to ChildLine. or to the charity of the celebrity’s choice in return for signatures. This scheme is very successful. Tony Buckingham has raised over £1,100,000 for good causes this way by producing signed covers and £600,000 of this is since he began the Buckingham Cover series in 2001.
I work for a charity. Could you help us raise funds?
If at all possible, we’d love to! See Working with Charities for more information.
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Cover Club Membership
I’m a club member. What happens if I want an extra cover one issue but I don’t want any covers for the next?
Club Membership is very flexible. You are not committed to buy anything. When your latest covers arrive, you’ll find a list on your invoice telling you what has been reserved for you next, with estimated despatch dates. You can also find this information online at our Clubs Reservation page. If you give us your email address, you will also be sent an automatic monthly email listing everything due to be sent to you over the next couple of months. This gives you plenty of advance notice to cancel, change or add to your order. We want membership to be fun! For more information, see our About Clubs page. To cancel anything reserved for you, just email Betty or call us on +44(0)1303 278 137.
I’m in the Platinum Club but I’ve seen a cover advertised that I wasn’t automatically reserved. Why was that? I thought Platinum Club members get everything!
Platinum Club members get every new issue First Day Cover reserved for them automatically, providing there are enough to go round. However, if we don’t have enough covers for everyone in the Platinum Club (for example, perhaps only 50 covers have been signed), then we can’t send one to everybody. In this case, we will write to Platinum Club Members first, before anyone else, and give them the chance to buy the cover on a first-come-first-served basis.
Platinum Club members do not automatically get any Commemorative Covers reserved for them. This is because we don’t want to abuse your custom or credit card by assuming that you want every single cover we produce; there are hundreds of new covers every year! If you are in the Platinum Club you will always get plenty of advance notice and hear about new commemorative covers before anyone else. You are welcome to order our Commemorative Covers. However, you won’t get any commemorative covers automatically reserved unless you join one of our themed clubs as well.
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Making a Complaint
How do I make a complaint?
We aim to give you the very best possible service. If we’ve upset you in any way, we’d like to hear about it and will do our very best to make amends. If you wish to make a complaint, you can contact us in the following ways:
By phone on +44(0)1303 278137, by fax on 01303 279429, by email or by writing to Buckingham Covers, Warren House, Shearway Road, FOLKESTONE, Kent CT19 4BF
Ask for Sue Knox, our Customer Service Manager, in the first instance. Sue will listen carefully and do her very best to put things right. She will also make sure your complaint is reported at our weekly company meeting, so we are all aware of what we have done wrong and can try to make changes to stop anything like that happening again. The meeting is always attended by our company directors, so your complaint will go right to the top.
If you wish to speak to a Director about the problem, Ellie Hopkins, our Sales Director, is responsible for Customer Service and is more than willing to talk to you. However, during 2010 she will be on maternity leave (although still working from home when she can!), so again, please talk to Sue first who will make sure Ellie is informed.
We will always endeavour to resolve any complaints as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Collecting is your hobby (there’s enough stress elsewhere in life) so we want you to enjoy shopping with us!
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Buckingham Covers Limited, registered in England No. 03877048 is part of Internet Stamps Group Limited, registered in England No. 03497867. Registered office for both: Warren House, Shearway Rd, Folkestone, Kent CT19 4BF, UK.
Tel. (+44)01303 278 137. Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
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