- Is there a catch in Borrowingcircle's free offers?
- Where does the stuff on this site come from?
- Hold on a minute. What happens when Fred doesn't return my item?
- Can someone from out-of-town borrow my item?
- This sounds like a library to me. Why should I use BorrowingCircle and not my local library?
- My library charges me late fees when I don't return their stuff on time, what about BorriwngCircle.com?
- You've been talking about tools a lot, and I don't see a way to borrow tools on the site. What gives?
- How many items can I borrow at a time?
- Your site is ugly
- What if somebody damages my stuff?
- What if I damaged somebodies stuff and I don't pay for it or replace it?
Is there a catch in Borrowingcircle's free offers?
There is no catch. You can borrow anything on the site for no charge. No membership fees, no rental fees. We don't make money at this, not yet anyway. We are what you call a startup. Here is how we plan to keep memberships free and borrowing stuff free in the future and still make money. We thought you should know so you could quit thinking this is a scam.
- A "buy it at amazon" link appears next to every item. If you follow that link the stuff you buy doesn't cost you any more, but Amazon gives us a small amount for sending you there. You don't have to use those links ever if you don't want to.
- We plan to give lenders the option of adding late fees (see farther below in the FAQ) to some items. There will always be free stuff to borrow that have no late fees. There will be no charge for items that do have late fees if you return them on time.
- We plan to give lenders the option to offer their lendable items for sale as well. So if you are borrowing an item that is also for sale you could decide to pay for it and keep it instead of returning it. Only borrowable things will be listed for sale. We will charge a small fee that will be included in the listed purchace price.
Where does all the stuff on the site come from?
We require everybody to have at least 3 items available to lend out. The items don't have to be anything special. 3 old books that you don't even like would do. You don't have to list anything else beyond the 3. That alone is enough to keep the site stocked with stuff you can borrow. What we find is that people like to list more of their stuff than the required 3 items. We've started asking why. Here's what we have learned:
- It turns out almost everybody already lends out stuff to their friends, and they would like a place to keep track of who has what so they could get it back.
- Some people list more items for the socialization aspect. You can meet people with similar interests as you. For instance our founder folds origami books. For him meeting other origami folders is well worth the trouble of listing his origami books.
- After we add late fees (there will still be items to borrow without late fees after we do) we expect lenders to lend out more stuff because they could collect half of the late fees. It's a small amount of money that only will happen when the items are returned late. But we expect that a little money now and then is better than no money while the item sits on a shelf collecting dust.
- Reprocity. People are generally willing to lend you more stuff if you have more stuff to lend.
"Hold on a minute. What happens when Fred doesn't return my item?"
If somebody you don't know very well is going to borrow something of your's you might see if they have something you'd like to borrow. Then they are encouraged to return your stuff because they want their's back. This also works with good friends who are just forgetful. Also, that's why we have you register your PayPal account. It's to protect you and others from losing your possessions. When an item is returned late or not at all, we can help you resolve the situation. All the items lent out have either been returned successfully or the lender has been reimbursed.
Can someone from out-of-town borrow my item?
Yes, they can. If "Fred" is from out-of-town, when he requests an item you arrange with him how to get it to him, whether it be by mail or driving or whatever. Probably the out-of-town feature is not so good for big and heavy things, like tools. But it can be very cheap for books and CDs and videos.
"This sounds like a library to me. Why should I use BorrowingCircle and not my local library?"
That's a good question. Most libraries do have more books than regular people, but what about tools? Do you know of any libraries that lend out tools? Also, if you really like origami, for example, you've probably already checked out all the origami books from your local library, and they probably don't have too many. You'd like to read some new ones. There's probably someone else in your town who collects origami books, so why not borrow from them? Now you know someone near you who can talk about origami with you! That's pretty cool. There aren't many non-origami folders out there who want to hear about mountain and sink folds all the time. So BorrowingCircle is a library. It's just cooler. And you are helping build your community in a positive way!
"My library charges me late fees when I don't return their stuff on time, what about BorriwngCircle.com?"
Libraries charge late fees to encourage you to return their books. We think that is a good idea, but is not for everyone. We plan to add optional late fees in the near future. The lender will be able to determine if they want to charge late fees or not. You will be able to see if they charge late fees before you request the item. These fees will be 10 cents a day for books and 20 cents a day for movies. The lender gets half and BorrowingCircle gets half.
"You've been talking about tools a lot, and I don't see a way to borrow tools on the site. What gives?"
We are just starting out here, and so we have limited areas of lending. In the near future we hope to be able to have music, tools, kitchen items, toys, basically anything you want to borrow, listed on the site.
"How many items can I borrow at a time?"
To start off, you can only borrow 3 items. We need to make sure that everyone's items get returned in a timely manner. So we're limiting new users. After 5 transactions are completed, you can borrow up to 10 items at a time.
"Your site is ugly"
Not really a question, but we agree. A prettier redesigned site is in the works.
"What if somebody damages my stuff?"
If somebody damages your stuff we expect them to either replace it or pay you for it. If your stuff has been damaged and the situation remains unresolved please contact us and we will help you resolve the situation. We have not had an unresolved situation yet.
"What if I damaged somebodies stuff and I don't pay for it or replace it?"
We believe most people when given the chance will do the right thing. But, on occasion a minority of people will misbehave. First of all anyone who damages an item and doesn't pay for it or replace it is likely to get a bad rating, which will damage their ability to borrow anything from anybody. We reserve the right to suspend accounts of anyone who is behaving badly. We will also potentially bill for damaged items once we have given both sides a chance to explain the situation. Just because this is the internet does not mean there is not accountability.