Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow consumer champion and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! provides advice on your rights and how not to get fobbed off. In this Loose Change post she looks at the growth of the hiring market.
More and more people are renting and they are renting a wider range of products. These vary from large and well-established areas such as DIT tool hire, through digital markets such as Spotify, down to new niche businesses.
The biggest and most obvious reason is that people are becoming more spending conscious and more money savvy. The last few years have seen household incomes squeezed and so consumers are having to look at ways to save money.
People are becoming more creative in business too. Seeing the gap in the market and filling areas where traditionally people would have to splash out for essentials, such as when having a baby. No longer do families need to buy expensive cots, pushchairs and other equipment that has little resale value after they are needed. With baby clothes now following suit and being available for rent it is a real no-brainer!
When it comes to interviews, some people will not want to invest in a suit unless they are sure they’ve got the job. So, hiring one is a perfect solution, particularly if there is more than one interview over a couple of days. In a similar way, hiring DIY or outdoor equipment for that one-off event gives people a chance to see whether they want to ever do more DIY(!). as well as testing out different gear before making a choice.
For that one-off event (one hopes at the time!) a wedding, the rental market gives the bride an opportunity to wear an otherwise out-of-reach price wise designer dress. In fact the rise in designer hire companies shows that it is not just at weddings people want their posh frocks, jewellery and watches. It gives us the feeling that we are special and can act like a celebrity for the day/evening. One won’t forget to take the selfies for social media either! Some people don’t need to know that the Channel frock or Armani watch are one-offs rented for the night!
As more people use auction sites like eBay and Facebook selling groups rise the resale value of many products has gone down too so the level of return on a resale is now lower.
If ever it was stigmatising to choose renting over purchasing, that certainly seems to be going out of fashion, if not gone. For watching the pennies it is a great idea, but mainly it seems just common sense.
Remember when you hire from a business you still have consumer rights! Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 products must be of satisfactory quality and services carried out with reasonable skill and care. Which means, that should you hire something and it isn’t what you paid for, or it didn’t last the length of time it should have done, you should get a refund.
What have you hired? How much has it saved and what tips can you pass on?