Purchasing an experience gift is not easy.

You could be forgiven for thinking the experience gift market is all the same.

Well think again…

Whilst the pricing of experiences has normalised to a point where each experience gift company offers very much the same, the features offered by each are very different.

It’s these features that are going to impact you. Or worse still, the person the gift is intended for.

Who would want to do that?

The first time you’ll find out about the differences is when you reach a point when you’ve invested plenty of your time in researching all the options.

You’ll be at the final page of the checkout when something hits you. For most it is a surprise administration fee, tacked onto the end of the process.

Yet the thought of having to go through the entire process again for the sake of a $4 admin fee, is enough for most, so you continue on.

But as you complete your purchase, you begin to think what else there may be built into the product that you didn’t consider.

This is where our quick summary graphic comes in.

This graphic has been built to make your life easier. It makes the difficult task simple and even if the information is not right up to date, you’ll know what to look for.

Let’s take each of these differences separately…

Refunds

It’s always good to know that if you change your mind about an experience, you can still obtain a refund.

After all, you may have had a few ideas down the pub to dress up in glam rock fashion, only to find the next day that perhaps it wasn’t such a great idea.

Refunds under Consumer law are available but these laws aren’t applicable if you simply decide that the gift is no longer what you want.

Look out for the length of the ‘change of mind’ refund policy. Some don’t offer it at all so you’ll be stuck with your purchase regardless.

Exchanges

Although you may feel that you’ve found the right experience gift for your loved one or even yourself, it can always happen that you’ve got it wrong.

Perhaps the thought of a shark dive sends shudders through the spine or the thought of an adventure is far better than the sedate massage that was planned.

Or you’ve broken your leg and abseiling is just not an option.

Well you’d want to be able to exchange your experience for another at any time. That’s a great thing but be careful of the fees involved in exchanging. Exchanges are not always free.

If you do exchange the experience, then may want to extend the time you have to take the experience.

For some that’s just plain hard luck. You’ll have the time that remains on your original gift voucher to take your experience.

Here, Gifts That Thrill is the only one that stands out. It charges no fees for exchanging and also resets the time you have to take the experience to 12 months.

Admin Fees

Don’t you love admin fees? It’s because these fees can include a group of items that businesses are allowed to put them at the end of a process.

The hope is people will not notice them. Sshhhhh!

Let’s face it, these fees are a part of the overall price. You don’t see them shouting about it.

Indeed, often the fee is in the very tiny print of the terms and conditions, if you dare look! Or right at the end of the checkout process just before you click that magic pay button.

Next time you are about to click the Pay button, ask yourself “Why is the fee not clearly displayed?”

It’s the principle that matters. Businesses like to act consistently with their principles and beliefs. Choose one that has good principles. Happy?

Free Shipping Options

Shipping costs are a pain point, right?

They can add a big cost to a purchase. A cost that most of us would rather not pay if only we had the chance.

We’ve known for a long time that people buy based on emotion, not logic. And this is one of them.

The shipping costs come after the emotional investment is made to purchase a gift experience be that a shark dive, V8 hot laps or a tall ship cruise.

People will go to great lengths to finalise their decision even if it means paying 5% on shipping costs.

If you’re one of these people, make sure you are aware of the shipping costs before you invest too much emotional time into choosing your gift.

Add any item to the cart and the shipping costs will often raise their head.

Extend Voucher

The final check is the voucher itself, and it’s about a classic human trait.

In plain terms, people accept a gift voucher and after the initial celebrations are over, the voucher is quickly forgotten.

Placed inside a drawer, stuck to the fridge or left lying around the lounge. It can stay there for a long, long time.

About to reach it’s expiry date? Even worse, has it already expired?

If you learned a few things from this article, I strongly encourage you to care about this one.

Not all gift vouchers are created equal. Some experience gift companies enable you to extend the life of a voucher, even if it has expired.

This can make all the difference to you and your loved one.

Ultimately, it avoids the embarrassment of an expired gift voucher.

“How was your experience?” you’ll ask. “Well, umm… it expired.” – wrong answer.

If it’s a happy, thrilling experience you want for your loved one, for you or your family. Make sure the voucher can be extended – people do forget.

What other tips have you got when buying an experience gift? Let me know in the comment below because we’re curious.