April 7, 2020

Fat Llama - Is it worth risking your gear?

I am a keen photographer, small YouTuber and podcaster. This means that I have quiet a lot of photography and filming gear. Some gear I sell on sites like eBay once I’ve had my use of it and there are some pieces of gear that I’d never sell for various reasons.

I came across Fat Llama a few years ago. Fat Llama allows you to rent your gear out to people. Typically, the renting is to local people. You set a daily, weekly or monthly price and people can rent the item off you. In principle this sounds great and ticks boxes for being green, making some money from your gear and helping others out too. I’ve used the service enough to consider this a thorough review.

The borrower gets to rent an item at a much cheaper rate than if they used a commercial renting company. As the rental is local, they don’t get stung for delivery. Both factors make renting via Fat Llama much cheaper than renting from a commercial company. Potentially the range of items available to rent through Fat Llama will be greater than offerings from commercial renting companies too.

Both the renter and the borrower pay a Fee to Fat Llama. The renter has a fee deducted from their income’ and the borrower also pays an additional fee to Fat Llama on top of what they pay to the renter.

I’ve borrowed a single item and rented many of my items. However, I’ve now stopped using the site altogether as my experiences have been less than great and I have big concerns about safety.

Should the item being rented become damaged or not returned then Fat Llama claim that their insurance will pay out. However, based on my experience of their customer service and reviews/stories I’ve read, I have huge misgivings about if the insurance would actually pay out. This is my biggest reason for stopping to use the service.

My concerns are:

  • When renting out gear, I’ve never wanted people to know where I live nor to turn up at my door for a rental. Fat Llama requires you to enter your postcode. While a postcode is specific to a street, an unscrupulous person would only need to ask other inhabitants of your street a few question to track you down and know where your gear is located
  • People are late - For some reason most of the borrowers arrived late for pre-arranged exchanges. On one occassion, I actually left a prearranged drop off as the borrower was over 40 minutes late
  • The customer service is very poor and when there has been an issue to resolve Fat Llama’s response has been poor
  • Based on my interactions with their customer services and reviews/stories I read, I’m not convinced that if my gear was damaged or not returned that I would be correctly compensated by Fat Llama

After reading my review, would you rent your expensive gear out for £10 a day?

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