A rental shop
is a business that allows a consumer
to temporarily obtain a reusable good
for a specified period of time in exchange for payment, a process known as renting
. Typically, a rental shop will conduct business with customers under conditions and terms agreed upon in a rental agreement
, which may be implied, explicit, or written.
Typically, a customer must sign up for an account with the shop and give billing information like a credit card
number. If items are returned late, the shop usually charges late fees
, which typically accumulate day by day. Some shops now have policies where instead of late fees, they will treat overdue items as a sale after a certain date, and charge a price equivalent to a standard sale of that object (with appropriate deductions for the rental fee already paid and for its pre-opened condition).
The most common type of rental shop are video rental outlets, offering primarily movies. Many such rental shops also offer music or computer games as well. Some video rental outlets use a kiosk or vending machine to dispense and collect rentals. Other types of rental shops include car and truck rentals, construction and heavy equipment rentals, sporting goods and recreational rentals, television and domestic appliance rentals, and costume rentals.
Rental and copyright
The rental of books, CDs and movies is covered by copyright law
. Copyright owners sometimes put warning notices on the packaging of products such as DVDs
to deter copyright infringement. In some cases, the rights of consumers
in the US and Europe are in fact significantly broader than described in such warnings.
Many motion pictures
that do not perform well in movie theatres
depend on the rental market for success, and some movies are released direct-to-video
. Until 1998, movies were released in three phases: theater, rental, retail. There would typically be a two to three month delay between the time a movie was available for rental, and when the movie could be purchased by the consumer. (In reality, the video was available, but priced between $75 and $125). This started changing with the advent of movie release on DVD. Blockbuster
video refused to use the VHS strategy for DVD, so the studios began releasing DVDs at an initially lower price. During 1998, retailers would have the DVD version of a film available for sale the same day the VHS version was available for rent. This later changed, with release dates for VHS and DVD coinciding.
In some rentals, particularly in the United Kingdom, the boxes are on the shelves, but the actual media (Tape, DVD, or video game cartridge) is kept behind the desk, therefore minimizing any risks of theft (since the most someone can steal from the shelves is the box). The media is put into the box at the same time that the rent is signed.