Sunday, 13 December 2009

Tips for Buying Photography Gift Vouchers

Christmas is here and that means gifts. Of course we all enjoy spending time with the family, seeing relatives and enjoying some down time but … like I said, we get gifts. I love gifts.

It seems nowadays my Santa sack is nowhere near as bulky as my childhood memory remembers it. I think this new slimmer form is less from fad dieting and more a direct result of the popularity gift vouchers are enjoying today and I can see why. They are a great way to ensure our money isn’t wasted on something that the receiver doesn’t want or need – we’ve all gotten those gifts (no, really mum, I love that vase )

Gift cards and vouchers are a photographer’s best friend … er… gift. We’re able to get what we really want – photography gear, equipment, courses, and the list goes on.

Let’s be honest, our families often have no clue about photography especially about what we’d really like to learn in relation to courses or what gear we want, therefore they really don’t know where to start buying for us.

Many head to Mr Google, he has become a good friend, and while it does often cut out the middleman you can also be ripped off. Before we go requesting vouchers from Santa we should be aware of the pitfalls to safeguard yourself whether you shop online or in a bricks’n’mortar store. We call it ‘awareness insurance’.

To minimise the risk:
Ask if gift vouchers can be combined from one outlet to get larger purchases – that’s one big pressie! Like a Bluedog trip to Vanuatu that one lucky person has been bought by a group of friends and relatives this year.

Always try to use the voucher as soon as possible (which for me is never a problem – I have the list all ready to go)

Look for a gift voucher that has a clear expiry policy – and use it before it expires, no second chances on this policy.

While most of us hate fine print, indeed some of us are lucky to be able to even see the fine print these days, it is worth giving it a quick look. It generally covers the details about such things as what happens to the unused portion. Where and when you can use it and what happens if you accidentally wash it in those favourite jeans pocket or the dog eats it ... well these things can happen.

Do your research! Read reviews, ask advice. It’s a bit like buying a new car you need to kick the tyres so to speak. And only deal with reputable sellers – these will have a physical address.

Check out the return policy and their privacy policy. If the don’t have one the onus is on you. And if the retailer is OS the returns may be costly.

Common problems occur with buying online such as delivery delays and poor after sales service. Not to mention the product does not match the description offered by the seller or your credit card is misused. A good tip here is to have one credit card for on line purchases with a low limit.

Don’t judge an online retailer by their website – just because it looks good does not mean it is safe, though an old and outdated website should also ring alarm bells.

Here’s a couple of tech tips you can do with your computer to safeguard your online purchasing:

1. Ensure your computer has the latest updates from your operating system provider.
2. Download the most recent version of your browser to stay up to date with encryption capabilities.
3. Install a firewall, virus scanner and spyware detector.

Now that we have given you a few useful hints, it’s time for a little plug. Why not hint to Santa to consider a Bluedog Photography Gift Voucher. It is valid for 12 months and can be made out to any amount and guess what? If it does go through the wash, gets thrown out with all the Christmas wrapping or the dog does eat it, that is no problem at all. All voucher are kept on file so you can always reclaim them AND as a special bonus this year everyone buying a voucher and the person they buy for go in a draw to win a $100 canvas print voucher from WOW Prints!

Gotta love giving :)
Merry Christmas and happy shopping to all!

Just thought of another reason Bluedog Photography vouchers are so great for Chrissy – no searching for a car park in a crowded shopping centre :)


avagdro said...

Thanks Danielle Lancaster for the tips in selection.Wish you n all a Happy Christmas Shopping n a joyful New year too.

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Nicholas said...

Gift vouchers used to be seen as the 'opt' out version of a present from people who were either too lazy to get the old grey cells working or for the person who couldn't stand the crowds at the shops!

That was when most vouchers would only get you a book or possible a record (yes the vinyl ones!) Now that has all changed as just about everybody in business can see the merit of getting in on all those needy present buyers! It also helps to offset the lack of spending going on in January due to everyones flexible friends needing the chiropractor!

I think getting a bluedog voucher is an excellant idea as Danielle said most partners or family have no idea of what we want with our photography.It's just too dangerous to leave our hobby to chance! And as I found out with my wife's $300 Air Balloon ride a couple of Christmas's ago, trying to sort out lost vouchers with some companies can be more stressful then the alternate trip around the shops! At least you can bank on Bluedog.

Merry Christmas Danielle and Nick,hope to see you in the New Year.

Nick Alcock

Mick Leyden said...

I agree with Nicholas about vouchers being seen as an 'opt out' by a vast majority of the population.

My family have since come around to my way thinking...finally! Why buy something for someone which may never be used or worse still is re-gifted because they don't like the gift.

If you know what a friend or family member has an interest in, let them decide what they want. Go the Gift vouchers/certificates I say.

Keep the tips and advice coming.

Jenny said...

The other good thing about gift vouchers is that a lot of shopping centres now have vouchers that can be used in a wide range of shops. so you are bound to find what you want. Also you can get credit card gift vouchers so that they can be used online anywhere at anytime. That is helpful if you would like to buy something online but don't have a credit card. keep up the good tips
kind regards

Julie Brown said...

Hey Danielle
Love the tip. Not just one tip, but plenty. The Bluedog voucher is a goodie because we LOVE them, but also the long expiry date and the fact if you lose it, it doesn't matter. How much better can it get??
Julie Brown