Anyone used Pleygo which is a website advertised as A Netflix-like rental service for Lego® sets? What are the pros and cons?
I guess I'm too stunned (I mean, is this for real?) to answer anything remotely meaningful, although some obvious cons come to mind:
But of course I've never used (or even known about) the service, so maybe I'm unnecessarily harsh about it.
However, I have some related experience with this: when I was a kid, there was a library in the village which doubled as a toy library on Saturday, where you could rent toys for a week. While this was great to play all sort of different board games and they made a very good effort to ensure they were always complete, I have some memories of one particular game which smelled kinda funny. We liked the game though, so we played it quite often, but it did smell funny.
So that would be one thing to be wary of - how exactly do they sanitize blocks? How do they deal with blocks which are rented to smokers, or people with pets (considering some people are allergic, it's a very valid question).
Of course inventory of the set would tend to be an issue too - as a matter of fact, they did have a few LEGO sets at said toy library, and I can tell you they were far from complete (since the library was at the school, we could sometimes play with the toys when waiting for our parents, or something like that; in any case I never rented LEGO sets as I had my own LEGO bricks and the sets weren't complete anyway). In any case, considering how easy it is to lose a LEGO parts, and seeing pleygo claims "No charge for lost pieces", it's bound to happen a lot that pieces are indeed lost. I assume they'll try to replace them somehow, but I'm extremely curious about how they'd do that.
If you're willing to try the service, I would at the very least recommand you get answers to these questions (they may be on their site somewhere, I didn't check), and more importantly, check if you can get a trial somehow. It would be nuts to have to pay one full year to realize the service is sub-par.
But in my opinion, it's probably always better to buy sets. Keeping in mind LEGO usually keeps its value rather well, is it wise to pay 15$ a month and not get anything you can keep in return?
Edit: it seems Pleygo is getting some momentum these days, and I assume the fact they're still in business speaks in their favour. Also, the owners have been kind enough to answer some questions to Brickset, which is a very interesting read and provides much needed answers to questions you may have (In particular, cleaning). Still not for me, but it seems they're quite serious and professionnal about it all. They do seem to offer the first month for free, too.
On the whole, the service is aimed at families with children rather than AFOLs. As such, it appears to be gaining ground and meeting a real need.