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Renting LEGO

dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
Just saw a coupon for this in my 2012 Entertainment book.

looks like it hasn't launched yet, but they purport to be offering a netflix-like subscription service whereby you "rent" a set for 2 days then send it back. Interesting concept, but I'm not sure how well it's going to work out - i.e. lost/damaged pieces, etc.

Not to mention, unless they have a deal with LEGO, which seems suspect at best, they better get ready for the trademark violation beatdown that is coming their way...


  • melissacurranmelissacurran Member Posts: 15
    That does seem like an odd concept to me. Dealing with ensuring that the sets remain complete and clean would be incredibly labor intensive.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 833
    I've heard discussion of that prospect before, but not on a per-set basis. I think when I heard it discussed, it was more on a "big swath of LEGO" basis. So, you'd rent out a huge box of LEGO for a kid's birthday party, or other event, and then send it back when you're done.

    Of course, AFOLs scorned the idea, since there are things like sanitary issues, and questions about how to check how much was lost (and *what* was lost) after a rental. But an interesting concept, nonetheless.

  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    oops. the rental time is 2 months at a time, not 2 days.
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    This seems like a tough business to get off the ground. Let's say you try to rent the Battle of Endor for $30 for two months (about 1/3 retail). Shipping would cost min $7 each way. So that's $14 cost per rental, plus the time and effort to ensure all the pieces are there. Lets say minimum wage + 50% for dealing with employment issues or $10/per hr. So lets say 1 hour per set, inspecting, repackaging for next rental. So your upfront costs are $100 and each rental is $24. That means you would clear $6/rental. So to recoup your initial investment, you would need to rent the set 17 times. 17 times 2 months is 2.8 years. Payback time is significant plus there are other costs such as replacing lost pieces, billing, management costs. But there would be other savings such as probably lower costs/set. Maybe these would offset each other. Overall still a tough business to make a lot of money in.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    I really don't get the concept. I can't see it appealing to adult collectors or builders, because well, they collect sets or bricks for MOCs. I can't see it appealing to kids because they would want to build the set then absorb the bricks into their collection to build other stuff, not give them back.

    I can't get see the target market for it, perhaps others can.
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,735
    I don't think that can be authorised, because it uses 'LEGOS' and there's no [R] symbol after either of the uses of LEGO.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    edited September 2011
    ^ yeah, that was my initial thought as well. I'm going to follow this just out of pure curiosity on how it will end up working, price points, etc. The flyer in the book mentioned that they would have a variety of different monthly price levels. I'm assuming the different price levels equate to different sized sets.

    As far as target, it does seem pretty niche. i could actually see it as somewhat interesting for myself - I really enjoy the building aspect of different sets, but either don't want to spend the money to collect everything I might want to build, and/or aren't really interested in keeping certain themes in my collection. For example, the larger Ninjago sets, most of the non-OT star wars sets, etc. I could seem myself enjoy bulding these and then not keeping them. but I'm not willing to pay 1/3 to 1/2 the price just to "borrow" them, so unless the price is really good, I don't see how that pencils out.

    the other potential is some kids. kids quickly tire of a new toy and discard it in favor of a newer one all the time. other than non-hardcore LEGO fan kids, I can see this as an appealing alternative for parents, who would be able to "buy" their kid more LEGO sets than they can now, and instead of the old set rotting away in the bottom of a closet, it is essentially traded in for a discount on the new one.

    We shall see...
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    I occasionally receive email requests from TLG to participate in online surveys - I assume many of you do too. One survey a few months ago had a strong focus towards renting LEGO sets, so it appears that TLG has been considering the idea. There may be people who are only interested in the construction of a set who would be interested in a rental, but I suspect those people are few and far between.
  • ParkGradesParkGrades Member Posts: 106
    I actually had a similar idea to do something like this, but as a non-profit (aimed at kids). Haven't had time to go over the logistics, though...
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 2,062
    I dont think this is aimed at us why would collectors want to rent a set? This looks like the plan is to rent to retail or fairs or exhibtions who want sets to attract people but dont want to buy it or dip into stock for a display
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    the advertising I saw was definitely direct-to-consumer. it was an ongoing monthly subscription, with several different price levels to choose from. You get the set for 2 months, then send it back for the next one in your queue.

    still trying to figure out who the target market is, and how this can possibly be profitable given the overhead involved...
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,018
    LEGO won't let that URL be used, so it won't last long, or even get off the ground...
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    yeah, im surprised they haven't shut it down yet
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    so, update. The site has launched.

    LEGO still hasn't acted on the domain name, although the site clearly states that LEGO doesn't endorse the site, etc.

    Basically, you pay a monthly fee to rent each set for two months. depending on how long you sign up for, your monthly fee is discounted. if you return the rentals early, they will send you the next set, but you can't get an unlimited amount of sets.

    6 month subscription = $40/month, 3 sets (total of $240 or $80 per set)
    8 month subscription = $37/month, 4 sets (total of $296 or $74 per set)
    12 month subscription = $30/month, 6 sets (total of $360 or $60 per set)

    Sets range in value from about $40 RRP to $180. Most seem to be in the 70-100 range. They do have some out of print stuff as well.

    they advertise that they clean and inventory each set after receiving it back. Users are charged $1.25 per missing piece!!!!. Any set that needs replacing is charged a MINIMUM of $150 - quite a deal if you lose that $40 set...

    Basically, this makes no sense at all to me. Why on earth would anyone rent a LEGO set for 35% to 250% of the value of actually buying the same set? (and most of the sets available would be closer to the 100% range. "hmm, let's see, I can rent the airport for $80, or go buy it for $100 (less than $80 on sale....).

    Wow, I just don't get how they think this is a viable business model. But this is America, I'm assuming there is probably enough suckers out there I suppose.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    slightly revised. looks like the lower-priced stuff is combined. so you get 2 or more sets at the same time, which counts as a single rental. it appears the target price point for each "package" or single item is in the $100-$150 range.

    Still makes out to be paying half or more to rent the sets, which isn't good value at all by my math.
  • MartinMartin Member Posts: 375
    The site content misuses a number of trademarks so they will have LEGO lawyers all over them if they haven't already.
  • Corwin12Corwin12 Member Posts: 30
    I bought the Lego Castle on sale at Amazon for $80.00. I bought the Hogwart's Castle on sale at Amazon for $90. Lastly, I bought the Millennium Falcon on sale at TRU for $109.00. So, I spent a total of $279.00 for the three sets and they are mine to keep.
    I wish I knew I could have spent $240.00 to build all 3 sets. Although I would only get to keep each for 2 months - I would have saved $39.00.
    (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)
  • TownTown Member Posts: 68
    You know the price of Lego is too damn high if people need to rent them.

    This feels suspicious though. Imagine if the "post" "lost" your set? What if they claim they don't get certain pieces back? I guess I'm not a gambler.
  • rchaddrchadd Member Posts: 187
    Just seen this today on ebay - never seen this before!

    Can't afford an XWing? ok for 15 quid you can "rent" it for 2 weeks!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,365
    £19 plus you probably need to pay the return postage, which takes it to £23. You might as well pay the extra tenner and buy one, and get to use the minifig.

    I can imagine it is a nightmare to check inventory. They'd need to check that small parts had not been exchanged before sending it to the next person.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,156
    ^ and ^^. It gets better, for £12 (+ postage) you can rent a Hoth battlepack still available in Smyths to buy for £10 or 2 for £15. You get to play with the minifigs on the battlepacks - where do I sign up?
  • coachiecoachie South WalesMember Posts: 476
    These are basically sale prices with the £15 deposit - return postage is included.

    I can only see someone wanting to rent a huge set like #10179, even then it is probably more economical to buy and resell once built/enjoyed.

    Still good luck to seller, whatever pays the bills.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,365
    Not that I'd ever do it, but is the return postage included?

    It says:
    6: At the end of the 2 week rental period, please package the Lego Set up in the original packaging and return to the address shown on the return address label included.

    It doesn't say it is a paid return address label, just a return address label.

  • jockosjunglejockosjungle Member Posts: 701
    Sounds a really poorly thought out idea. If it was the larger sets I suppose there might be some pleasure in building tower bridge and then returning it.

    They haven't thought it through, they're going to have to build it to check it is OK, in my experience some bricks don't want to come apart.

    It sounds like a scam to be honest, just trying to decide exactly what the scam is. To not return your deposit? It seems priced too high, or maybe they hope people will buy and not realise its a rental

  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,742

    It seems priced too high, or maybe they hope people will buy and not realise its a rental


    Is this even legal on ebay? I thought ebay was about selling items? If they sent the set, then the person failed to return it after the 'rental' I can't see them having much of a leg to stand on other than keeping the deposit.

  • SherlockbonesSherlockbones Member Posts: 411
    ^ Agreed, if someone 'rented' a #10179.

    I don't think it would be returned
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 613
    Hahaha, I wonder if this is the person that tried to jumpstart a Lego Set rental service here on Brickset a while ago? I seem to remember a big discussion being generated from that idea, with a mostly negative assessment from members here.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    I do give this guy credit for trying, if it is legit.

    I'm not the guy that mentioned it on Brickset, but I had thought about it. As I'm sure there are a fair number of moms/dads who get frustrated when they buy a $100 set for "Johnny". He builds it in a day, puts it on a shelf, never to be played with again.

    There are so many logistical and time issues with a rental program, that it would not be worth it. It only could work in a major metro area with a store front, IMHO.

  • JosephJoseph Member Posts: 651
    edited February 2013
    ^^ It wasn't actually run by someone on the forum, but as you say, it was mentioned here:
    That said, the site doesn't seem to be working for me right now, so it could be the copyright layers finally caught up with them.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Fairly sure its not allowed on ebay, although oddly renting is one thing that isn't mentioned in the T&C at all - at least that I can find.

    The listing itself does fall foul as its not a tangible item - just a booking fee. So one would assume it will be gone soon just for that. It probably also falls foul because of the deposit payment made outside of Ebay.

    Its also just a stupid idea. What counts as reasonable use/damage? Is there a rental agreement?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,365
    This is why I wouldn't want to do it ... (nsfw)

  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    I'll just wait for a "BrickBox" to appear next to the movie rental kiosk.
  • NicksBricksNicksBricks United StatesMember Posts: 292
    LEGO rental service called Pleygo.
  • ludzikludzik US (SoCal)Member Posts: 430
    Seems hokey..... they talk about not worrying about missing a piece and also offer ordering a replacement piece from Lego @ No charge... considering the sets are not new, I don't think the replacement should be coming from Lego.....

    What happens if the set is missing a piece? Do I get charged for it?
    You will not be charged for any piece that might be missing from your set. We make sure that our sets are leaving our processing center with all their pieces. If you can't find a piece, please check the Spare Pieces Bag that includes the most common 25 brick replacements. Alternatively, email us and we will send you a replacement part or you can order replacement parts for free at at
  • dejavudejavu USAMember Posts: 235
    I never thought people would rent purses, but it's common now. The missing pieces is an issue, but if they make enough profit, maybe not a big one.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ not sure how that's going to work out. even at only 1 set/month, shipping costs both way are going to take 60%-75% of the gross revenue. a customer turning sets around twice/month is a money losing customer month in and out.

    Everyone is trying to be the "Netflix of X", but LEGO sets honestly just lend themselves terribly to this model - expensive/bulky to ship and a labor intensive inspection process with each turn.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Shipping gets cheaper once you scale in volume.

    Quick processes to inspect returned sets can be developed, that also scales in volume as well.

    Expensive to start, but I can think of several ways to make it more profitable once there is volume. The question is, do enough people want to do this at a high enough price point to make any sense of it.

    I have no idea...
  • Dread_PirateDread_Pirate Member Posts: 184
    I could see it for some one that wants to build a set but not exactly want to own it or have to purchase the said set. I would love to build the Death Star but I am not really interested in owning it. I would love to build and own the Super Star Destroyer but I seriously have no room for it and honestly right now $400 pays for a lot of food for my family. To get the chance to build the SSD for pennies off retail sure! to pay $200 to build it... Sorry I have better use for $200 like buying sets I can keep.

  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    My issue with this company is that they are telling people TLG will replace parts for free, when free replacements are intended for new sets, not rental sets or used sets. This practice will only serve to raise the prices to all of us. Don't know about the rest of you but I'm not interested in helping to pay for their replacement parts, and I consider myself to be a pretty generous person.
  • emilewskiemilewski CT, USAMember Posts: 477
    ^ +1. I agree wholeheartedly. They need to build that into their business model.
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    I think LEGO needs to sue them. This is abusing LEGO's customer service and can have no good outcome for those of us who are buying sets from LEGO and legitimately need replacement parts. It will either result in draconian measures to prove that you purchased a set, or LEGO ditching the whole system entirely.
  • ludzikludzik US (SoCal)Member Posts: 430
    Lawsuit is an extreme... I'd rather see Lego first draft a letter and send it to them THREATENING of a lawsuit (if appropriate). Going sue happy costs also us: taxpayers...

    Btw, after thinking about it some more, I called Lego Customer Service and told them about the site. They were highly concerned as the way that one question is phrased it almost implies that they're "related" to the Lego Group somehow.

    Anyways they took a note of it and will pursue it as they feel is appropriate.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129

    ^ Shipping gets cheaper once you scale in volume.

    Quick processes to inspect returned sets can be developed, that also scales in volume as well.

    Expensive to start, but I can think of several ways to make it more profitable once there is volume. The question is, do enough people want to do this at a high enough price point to make any sense of it.

    I have no idea...

    Even if they cut the shipping costs in half - dubious at best given they are using USPS - that is still 30% or more if gross revenue. That's not a great business model

    As far as inspections, I was referring to inventorying the returned set for missing pieces, which will also include major dis-assembling of it for inspection, inventory, and cleaning. People are going to leave this in chunks for returning Hard to see any practical way any of that scales other than not doing it at all, which is going to lead to a less than desirable experience for the next customer

  • PoochyPoochy USAMember Posts: 479
    Apparently they have GG for rent:

    I wonder how they're going to replace those missing sand green pieces ...
  • jeremy1973jeremy1973 Member Posts: 50
    They also have the Taj Mahal in the Eiffel Tower. And that's just the name a few retired sets.
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    I wonder how much you could make on a Mr. Gold rental?
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,678
    Was checking the site today, they removed from the FAQ : "or you can order replacement parts for free at at"
  • ludzikludzik US (SoCal)Member Posts: 430

    Was checking the site today, they removed from the FAQ : "or you can order replacement parts for free at at"

    Wonder why :D
  • Darthhenry1Darthhenry1 Member Posts: 13
    LegoMom1 said:

    I wonder how much you could make on a Mr. Gold rental?

    It wouldn't be returned though :P
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