Dying to get your mitts on a Keurig, but too gun shy to spend the hundred bucks? YBUY.com, a try-before-you-buy gadget site that launched in mid-January, might be the solution.
The site lets subscribers pay just $24.95 in exchange for a month’s time to test-drive the latest electronics, home and kitchen gadgets before deciding whether to buy or return them.
And no, the products aren’t the sort of junk you’ll find in Sky Mall. The site features a well-edited selection of high-end products ranging from iPad 2s and Keurig coffee brewers, to Sous Vide Water Ovens and iRobot Roomba’s self-operating vacuum.
“With the economy the way it is, people don’t want to waste their money on junk,” said CEO Stephen Svajian, who conceived the site when Amazon wouldn’t refund him for a bulky breadmaker that was taking up too much space on his kitchen counter.
“You want to try things before you buy them, and with the bricks-and-mortar showroom going away, why not make the showroom your living room? The only reason we visit stores nowadays is to check out the product.”
To sign up for the service, simply enter your email address and zip code on YBUY.com. Wait time is about a month, Svajian said, but the company is working to speed things up.
Shipping both ways is free, and the site accepts “reasonable wear on tear” with use of the products. Of course, if it breaks, you buy it, or pay up to the full price of the item’s repair, Svajian said.
If you don’t want to try an item for a month, you won’t be charged. And occassionally, the site will offer 10 to 15 per cent discounts on whatever you’re trying.
If you decide to buy the product, the $24.95 fee will go toward the purchase.
Svajian wouldn’t disclose how many subscribers the site has enrolled, but YBUY was named Best Tech Company of 2011 by men’s lifestyle site Thrillist.com and having received a whopping $750,000 in angel financing, it seems like a solid venture so far.