Can’t afford the latest gadgets? Why not rent them for a monthly fee? A new US website offers a ‘try before you buy’ service for all manner of expensive electronics. Would you like to rent gadgets in the UK?
It seems that if you want a full membership to the world of technology, you’d better have a good relationship with your bank manager. Today’s shiny new tech toys might have gadget fans drooling, but their high price tags can leave them out of the reach of many.
It’s understandable. With rising food prices and energy bills, dreams of owning an iPad or the latest digital camera are often put on hold for more vital spending. But, this means that many people feel short-changed in not being able to play with the latest technological wonders.
That could all be about the change thanks to US website Ybuy.com, which allows shoppers to rent must-have gadgets instead.
Renting the latest gadgets
Like a 21st Century Radio Rentals, Ybuy.com has launched a service in the US that lets you rent the latest tech for what looks like perfectly sane money. For $24.95 per month – that’s around £16 – you can choose a product from a fanboi’s wishlist to use for 30 days.
The range of products is impressive – and all would cost an eye-watering amount to buy outright. Renters can pick from products like an Apple iPad 2 (£399), Breville Barista Espresso Machine (£400), Dyson Hot Fan Heater (£250), Fujifilm X10 camera (£425) and even a robot vacuum cleaner.
I’ve checked the T&Cs, and the process seems refreshingly fair. There are no shipping fees, you can cancel at any time, and if after 30 days you decide you actually wouldn’t mind buying it, you can – and even have the $24.95 deducted from the purchase price.
The return of renting?
So, with the skyrocketing cost of consumer electronics, is renting gadgets the way to go?
The UK has a rich history when it comes to renting electronics. With the growing success of television after World War II and the high price of early sets, Radio Rentals enjoyed a boom in renting electronics and popped up across Britain’s high streets.
By the 1980s, it had over two million customers and 500 stores. While it eventually stopped trading – the dramatic fall in the cost of electronics meant shoppers preferred to own their TV sets – it’s still doing well in Australia.
But are we set for a renting resurgence in the UK? While TVs and recorders have tumbled in price, a new wave of gadgets – from iPads to digital cameras – are still costly purchases, making renting a sensible option.
And perhaps renting actually serves more than simply getting your hands on the latest technology. A service like Ybuy might actually scratch that ‘must-get-it-now’ itch that many people feel when a new iProduct launches, just without the credit card hangover.
So, would you be happy to rent gadgets – and could this be the answer to getting the latest tech without splashing out the cash?