Coronavirus Update - 15th April 2021

We've made some temporary changes to the way we operate so that we can keep safe and keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Hiring

1.1 How do I calculate my hire period?

Simple. You count the number of days when you need the equipment in your possession (because you'll be using it, or travelling with it) and that's your hire period. You don't pay for the time the equipment is in transit from us to you or back. For example, suppose you're going away for a long weekend from Friday to Monday. Your hire period is Friday to Monday, which is 4 days; we'll get the equipment to you on Thursday and you need to send or bring it back on Tuesday.

1.2 Can I extend my hire period?

Maybe. If you want to extend your hire period before it ends, please contact us ASAP and we'll see what we can do. If there isn't another customer waiting with a reservation for the equipment, then we'll quite happily extend your hire. You just pay the difference between the advertised prices for the original and extended hire periods. But if there is another customer with a reservation, then we're afraid you're going to have to return it on the originally scheduled date.

1.3 What if I return the equipment late?

Unfortunately, you're going to have to pay a late return fee. This is 20% of the 7 day rental cost, for every day late, as determined by when you post the equipment back to us. (If the post is delayed, that's not your fault.) Note that you can easily avoid late return fees by extending your hire period.

1.4 Can I return the equipment early?

Yes, of course. However, you'll appreciate that we might have turned away other customers because you had that equipment booked, so we can't offer a refund or credit for the unused portion of your hire period unless the circumstances are exceptional.

1.5 Can I hire for a period not listed on the web site?

Yes, with some restrictions. Firstly we don't hire for periods shorter than 3 days - the cost and hassle of postage means it just isn't worthwhile. (But please tell us if you disagree!) And secondly, if you're a consumer, consumer credit regulations dictate that the maximum hire period we can offer is 3 months. If you want to hire for a period that isn't listed on the web site, please contact us.

1.6 Can I reserve a lens or camera?

Yes you can. You can place an order up to 999 days before your hire starts.

1.7 What is the availability calendar telling me?

For each type of equipment we publish a calendar showing its future availability. Green boxes show dates when we have plenty of this type of equipment available. Yellow boxes show when we have some available, but not many. Red boxes show when we don't have any available. The availability calendar updates automatically every time we accept an order.

Please remember to allow for transit time when reading the availability calendars. You need to ensure the equipment you want is available, not just on the days when you want to be using it, but also on the days at either end of your hire when it's on its way to you or back to us.

1.8 I'm going on holiday outside the UK. Can I take hired equipment with me?

Generally, yes. We need to know where you're taking it for insurance reasons, so please use the 'Any other information' box on the order form to tell us. Our insurance covers you overseas, but you won't be covered if you plan on using the equipment in a war zone. (There's a clause in the insurance about taking 'reasonable precautions'...)

1.9 Can I cancel an order?

Yes you can, so long as we haven't already dispatched the equipment out to you. If you cancel an order within 14 days of placing it, there's no cancellation fee (mandated by consumer regulations). After the 14-day 'cooling off period', if the cancellation is requested at least 14 days before the dispatch date, there is no cancellation fee, because we've probably got enough time to get a new booking on the item that was reserved for you. If you cancel 7-14 days before dispatch, there is a 25% cancellation fee because we're limited on time to get a new booking. If you cancel within 7 days of dispatch, there is a 50% cancellation fee because we may not get a new booking. We think that's pretty fair.

1.10 Can I hire more than one lens at a time?

Yes.

1.11 Do I get a discount if I hire more than one lens at a time?

A customer asked us about this. At the time the answer was no. We think our prices are pretty good to start with, and multiple-lens orders don't actually save us much work compared to single-lens orders, so we didn't see much justification for a discount. But he must have caught us at a weak moment, because we thought, what the heck, why not? So we now offer 5% off the listed prices when you hire 3 or more lenses in one order. This discount is applied automatically on the basket page.

1.12 I'm under 18. Can I hire a lens from you?

No. Sorry. Our lawyers advise us that contracts are generally unenforceable if one party is under 18. This means that if you forget to return the lens, there's not a lot we can do about it. If you're under 18, it might be best to persuade a parent to hire the lens on your behalf.

Payment

2.1 Do you charge a deposit?

Generally no. We trust you to look after our gear. Please help us to maintain this policy by repaying our trust. If we can't satisfy ourselves that a customer is genuine, or if the transaction looks unusually risky for other reasons, then we may ask for a deposit. (That's why we ask so many questions.) There are a number of situations in which we will routinely ask for a deposit though:

  • If you live outside the UK.
  • If you're a foreign visitor to the UK.
  • If you want us to deliver the lens to an insecure location such as a hotel where you're staying.
2.2 What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept credit and debit cards - MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Solo, Visa Debit, Electron, and American Express. But NOT Diners Club.

2.3 When is my credit/debit card charged?

When you place the order, we'll validate your credit/debit card and place an authorisation for the total amount of the charge (including a deposit, if applicable). This doesn't actually withdraw funds from your card, but merely holds them for us. We'll usually charge the card on the day we send the equipment out to you. And when we confirm that the equipment has been returned safely, we'll refund the deposit, if you left a deposit, which you probably didn't.

2.4 What currencies do you accept?

Pounds Sterling only. If your credit card account works in a different currency, the amount you pay will be converted from Pounds Sterling into your currency by your card provider. (OK, we know, that seems to be a rather strange question. But we're required by law to tell you.)

2.5 Do you charge VAT? Do your prices include VAT?

Yes, and yes. All our prices include VAT, though when you get to the checkout you'll also be shown the VAT component separately. If you're a professional photographer or a business customer, you may be able to claim back the VAT from HMRC.

Delivery and Return

3.1 How does delivery work?

For the vast majority of weekday deliveries. we'll use DPD, who are very reliable and offer 1-hour delivery windows. If you live in a remote location, such as the Scottish Highlands or a remote island somewhere, then we might use Royal Mail, as they tend to be faster and more reliable for those areas.

We can deliver on Saturday, but that's more expensive for you and we'd always rather deliver to you on a weekday. We're closed at weekends, so there's not a lot we can do to resolve Saturday delivery issues.

Please note that all deliveries require a signature from someone inside the delivery address.

3.2 How much does delivery cost?

Our standard pre-12:00 courier delivery is £12 for any number of items. The 'premium' (early morning) service is bit more; the 'budget' service is a bit less. Deliveries to remote and off-shore locations cost more, and RMSD has a completely separate per-item tariff.

The easiest way to find out, really, is to put one or more items of equipment in your shopping basket and take a look at what delivery options you're offered. That's much easier than trying to wade through a complicated explanation here.

3.3 How quickly can I get a lens or camera?

We always recommend planning at least a couple of days ahead. Orders placed by 2pm Monday-Friday can be sent out for delivery the next day. If you'd like to collect from our office, you can usually do that the same day. We can also do same-day delivery if you're really desperate, but that's quite expensive (a bit like taking a taxi somewhere).

3.4 Do you deliver outside the UK?

No, sorry. Since Brexit came into effect in 2021, we can no longer deliver any equipment outside the UK. The potential delays to both the delivery and return processes are simply too risky for us.

3.5 Do you deliver to Northern Ireland? To the Isle Of Man? To the Channel Islands?

Unfortunately we no longer ship to the Channel Islands. The new regulations and potential delays to both the delivery and return processes are simply too risky for us to manage. If you live in NI or IM, there are some new Brexit related regulations coming into effect throughout 2021, so it's best you ask us to look into what the current rules are before you place an order.

3.6 Do you deliver to British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses overseas?

No, sorry.

3.7 Can you deliver to my workplace?

Yes. We generally prefer to deliver to the address at which your credit card is registered. That's much safer all round. However, bearing in mind that all equipment has to be signed for on delivery, we appreciate that this isn't always the most convenient option for everyone. So we can deliver to your regular permanent workplace if you specify it on the order form. Always bear in mind that you are responsible for the equipment from the moment it's signed for, even if it's someone else doing the signing. So you need to be confident that you know what will happen to the equipment after it's signed for, and that the process is adequately safe and secure. Please use the 'Any other information' box on the order form to confirm this. If we're not convinced, we reserve the right to charge you a deposit equal to the value of the lens.

3.8 I'm visiting the UK. Can you deliver to my hotel?

Well, we can, but we're not convinced it's a good idea. When our equipment is delivered it has to be signed for, and once it's been signed for it becomes your responsibility. The trouble is, at a hotel you don't necessarily know who's going to be signing for the parcel when it arrives, and if it goes astray then you've got a problem. This feels pretty risky to us, so if you really want us to deliver to your hotel then we're going to have to take a deposit equal to the value of the lens. Sorry about that.

3.9 What if a lens or camera that I've ordered arrives late?

No delivery service is perfect, and late deliveries can happen. If it's really really important to you to have the equipment on a particular date, then we'd suggest hiring it a day earlier than you need it; that way you've got a built-in safety margin at little extra cost. But if it does arrive late, you have several options. The first is to go ahead with the hire and return it as scheduled. That means you'll have had it for a day less than planned, but we'll make it up to you by refunding some of your hire charges. Another option is to cancel the hire contract; return the equipment directly to us and we'll refund all your charges. Or, if there isn't another customer waiting for the equipment, you can extend the return date so that you end up with the same period of hire that you'd originally planned. Basically, if something is late in being delivered to you, let us know immediately. The sooner we know about it, the sooner we can try to work out a solution for you. (Incidentally, none of this applies if the reason it's delivered late is that you weren't there to receive it on the scheduled day. We have to judge late deliveries according to the day the postman or courier first attempted to deliver at the correct address.)

3.10 How do I return a lens or camera to you?

You'll get full instructions in the box with the equipment. But, basically, first of all:

  • pack up all the bits (lens, hood, case, etc.; camera, spare battery, memory card, etc.) in the box, re-using the original packaging materials;
  • tape the box securely closed and put it in the mailing bag provided;
  • stick the pre-printed return address label on the bag.

Then, once the box is packed and ready to go, you have several options. If you've pre-paid for return delivery, we will book a collection with DPD and you just need to be in when the courier arrives. Otherwise, you need to take it to the Post Office and send it back to us via Special Delivery, making sure that you get a tracking number. Or you could return it in person to us in in Maidenhead.

3.11 How much does it cost to return a lens or camera to you?

For most of the UK our courier collections cost £19, regardless of the quantity or weight of the parcels. Royal Mail Special Delivery costs about £11 per parcel for items weighing under 2kg (e.g. small/medium lenses such as a 24-70mm f/2.8), and about £26 per parcel for items weighing over 2kg. (All the packed weights are listed on our web site.) So if you have one small/medium lens RMSD is cheaper; if you have two, there's not much difference in cost; but if you have more than two, and/or a large item, then the courier will be cheaper. However we always offer you both options, because convenience might be more important to you than price.

Lenses and Other Equipment

4.1 What comes with each lens?

Generally we send each lens out with all the accessories it came with when it was new. Lens hood, front and rear lens caps, and in most cases a protective filter and some sort of pouch or case. If you have any questions relating to a specific item, it's easiest if you call us.

4.2 I've never used a sophisticated lens like this before. Can you help me?

We used to supply instruction manuals with every item, but that used up a lot of paper and ink for something which we don't think many people actually read. If you do need help, there is a wealth of information on YouTube these days. Of course, if you'd like a copy of the instruction manual, please let us know and we can email you a copy.

4.3 What if I want to hire a lens that you don't currently offer?

Let us know which lens you want and we'll see if we can justify getting hold of one. If other people have asked for the same lens then that's a good sign there will be demand for it, and we'll find it easier to justify. But we won't know if you don't tell us!

4.4 What if the lens I want to hire is always out of stock?

We aim to have the lenses you want, when you want them. If there's more demand for a particular lens than we're meeting, we do try our best to get more copies. But we won't know about it if you don't tell us! If your hire is for a number of weeks, please let us know. We may even buy a lens specifically for you to hire.

4.5 Do you hire things other than lenses and cameras?

We hire out flash units and some lens supports. We're always thinking about whether we should stock any other items. Please feel free to make suggestions.

Loss and Damage

5.1 What happens if I damage a camera/lens?

Let us know immediately. We include insurance in our hire prices, which does cover you against accidental damage with an excess of £150 + VAT. For further details about insurance and care of goods, please see our terms and conditions.

We can send you a replacement for the remainder of your hire period, provided we have the availability and you're within the UK. You wouldn't pay any more in hire costs, but we will probably ask you to cover the postage.

5.2 What happens if I lose a camera/lens, or if it's stolen, whilst I've got it on hire?

Let us know immediately, and please refer to our terms and conditions. Insurance is included in our hire prices, which covers against theft with an excess of £250 + VAT, but it doesn't cover against loss because nobody just 'loses' something the size of a camera/lens without being negligent! If you're negligent, then you're not covered by our insurance.

5.3 What do you consider to count as damage, as opposed to normal wear and tear?

Whilst we expect you to look after our gear as if it were your own, we expect you to actually use it rather than just keep it wrapped in cotton wool the whole time. So we will treat minor scratches or marks on the lens barrel and/or hood as the results of ordinary wear and tear. However scratches on the glass, or damage to the mounting or any other part that affects the lens's performance, will be considered damage.

5.4 Is the equipment insured?

Yes. Insurance is included in the pricing and it covers you worldwide. For more details about this, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that the insurance cannot be removed from the hire. If you find anything confusing, then please do call us for clarification.

Personal Data and Small Print

6.1 Why do you ask so many questions at the checkout stage?

Three reasons. Firstly, it gives us an opportunity to help you avoid choosing an inappropriate lens. Have you heard the one about the man who hired a Canon lens for his Nikon camera? (It didn't fit.) Have you heard the one about the guy who hired a fisheye lens to take some photos at a family reunion? (They all came out... distorted.) We want you to be happy with the lens you hire from us. Secondly, it helps us learn a bit about who our customers are and what they want. We want to grow the business - and that's good for you too, because a growing business means a wider selection, more equipment in stock, and lower prices. Understanding our customers is clearly part of that. And finally, the way we can manage to offer lenses for hire without a deposit is by being quite careful about who we hire them to. We want to know a bit about you because we want to hire out our lenses to photographers who'll look after them.

6.2 What will you do with all the personal data you collect from me?

Full details on this are in our terms and conditions. In short, we use it for the administration of the hire contract. That means we have to give your information to the likes of our couriers and accountants, etc. We will never sell of give your data to any third party, except in situations where we are legally obliged to or where it's necessary for the operation of our business (e.g. if you don't return a lens, we'll be sharing your details with solicitors, police, and anti-fraud networks). We won't send any non-transactional emails to you unless you specifically want them. You can opt in via the ordering process, or from the preferences within your user account.