Andy Tran

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How To's & FAQ

Videos, Infographics, and everything you need to know to borrow from us!

About Borrow Don’t Buy

Are you open?

YEAA, we are open for pick-ups and drop-offs on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am until 6:30pm. Due to the extra procedures to prep the items, before they are checked out, booking is mandatory for pick-ups.

Are you a shop? Can I pick up / drop items at a different time?

No, we are a pickup/drop off location. We have our inventory online and an awesome system for you to browse, pick and select what day and time slot you want to collect your items.

Unfortunately, you will have to return the items during our opening times to make sure that one of BDB’s team is in to checkout/checking the item.

Where are you based?

We are based at THINQTANQ, a co-working space in the city centre (Fairbairn House, Higher Lane, PL12AN). It’s in the city centre, just across the Magistrates Court.


How can I get in contact with you?

If you have any questions you can use the contact form on our website, send us an email to, or send us a message via Facebook.

What are your opening times?

We are open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am until 6:30pm. We hope to expand our opening hours once the Covid-19 crisis is over.

A brief history about Borrow Don't Buy



Do you take donations?

Short answer is ‘Sometimes’. We’d love to say yes to everything BUT… we have limited space and funds, we have a Wishlist of items that we think will be great for our inventory. We cannot take donations of broken items but you’re welcome to bring them along to a repair café and get them working again.

Member-ship and Items

How do I become a member?

Here’s a shortcut to our Sign-up form: Link HERE

What items can I borrow?

Everything that is in our catalog can be borrowed. We had to temporarily remove some items due to our new cleaning procedures. But we still have loads! 

What happens if I break an item?

If the item breaks then please do get in touch with us as soon as possible, we understand things happen sometimes. There’s a good chance we can repair a lot of the things in the inventory but if we can’t then we will work with you to decide if it was a fault or user error. We want to make things work for everyone.

How do you sanitise the items?

When an item is returned to BDB, it’s handled by a volunteer wearing PPE. It is taken to our workshop where we disinfect it with either rubbing alcohol (80%) or a bleach solution. We then place it on a shelving unit/area dedicated to quarantine items. Once the item has been isolated 36 hours, we put it away. The item will be disinfected one more time on the day it is booked to go out again. (See our cleaning procedures HERE)


Booking & Payments

How do I book an item?

Here’s a short video on how to make a reservation. If you have any issues, please drop us an email at or contact us via our Facebook Page

How can I pay for my reservation?

We are currently only taking online payments through our platform (the platform where you book an item). You will have to save your card details on your account to be able to book and check out items.

When do I pay for my reservation?

You will not be charged when you make a reservation and check out your cart. You will be charged when you come and collect your reservation. Due to the extra procedures needed to operate in a Covid-secure manner, all the reservations will be charged on the pick-up day, even if the borrower does not turn up. 

How can I save my card details for online payment?

If you don’t have a card save on file, here’s a short video on how to do it:


Can I come pick up my reservation at any time?

You will have to come and pick up your reservation during the time slot selected by you when booking the item. Time slots are in place to make sure we avoid gatherings and operate on the safest manner.

What will happen to my item if I don't pick it up?

A lot of work behind the scenes goes on to make sure we have your item ready for you. We will charge every reservation, even if they are not picked-up. Thanks for your understanding.

Do you deliver items?

Unfortunately de are not doing deliveries at the moment. We have pilot a delivery service for a couple of months during 2020 and we are now working behind the scene to resume it when possible. We are still not sure what times would be most useful. If you have a preference, please let us know HERE

Can someone self-isolating get someone else to pick up their items?

If you are experiencing ANY symptoms of COVID19 or have been in contact with someone who has, do not borrow tools from us, and do not come to THINQTANQ. Please let us know if this affects a reservation you have made (we can free up the tools for someone else to use), or if you have an item to return.




Do I need to clean the item before I return it?

Yes, you have to return your item clean, in the same or better conditions than you got it. Otherwise, we will have to charge you a cleaning fee (£5). More importantly, you will be putting our volunteers at risk by not returning the items clean. Thanks for helping us look after our volunteers and members!

What do I need to do to return my item?

There are no time slots for returns. Just come to THINQTANQ within our opening times and ring the Borrow Don’t Buy doorbell. One of our volunteers will come to the door and receive your items. 

Do you have late fees?

Yes, we have late fees: £2 per item per day. Yes, this includes days that we are closed and yes, they are high late fees. We do not like having late fees, and we enjoy even less having to enforce them but we have them in place to encourage our members to return their items on time so that other members can enjoy a reliable and professional library of things. With our new procedures to make sure we are Covid-19 safe, late returns put our items out of circulation for days before being able to go back into our inventory and create big inconveniences for our volunteers and members.

I cannot return the item on my return date, what should I do?

Contact us ASAP, either sending us an email or contact us on our Facebook Page. Our volunteers will be waiting for the item to prep it for the next loan and late fees will automatically start accruing in your account.

Student Membership

Which forms of student ID do you accept?

We accept photo student IDs or NUS cards.

Which universities do you accept?

Any UK university or Higher Education Institution.

Can I borrow more than one item for the first-borrow-free offer?

Only one item and one transaction is valid for the first-borrow-free offer. The item must be under £10.00.

When do I have to use the first-borrow-free offer?

Within six months of creating the membership.

Which items can I get my 10% discount on?

The 10% discount is valid for all items and is taken off the total price.

If I want to use my first free borrow but the item is more than £10, what happens?

You will be discounted the value of £10.00 from the reservation and just pay the difference, and yep, your student discount will be applied! 

How long does the membership last?

This membership is valid for one year. You can renew your membership yearly but must bring in your ID when you renew.

Do late fees still apply to student membership?

Yes, the same rules apply to all of our extra fees.

Covid-19 Related

List of documents we used to get ready

Plymouth City Council Coronavirus (Covid-19) information (link)

Guidance: Staying alert and safe (social distancing) (link)

Covid-19 Toolkit (*pdf)

Working safely during the Coronavirus outbreak – a short guide (*pdf)

Working safely during COVID-19: Offices and contact centres (link)

Working safely during COVID-19: Shop and branches (link)

High Street Task Force (link)

Can I learn more about how you have adjusted your procedures due to Covid-19?


You can read more about our re-opening operational plan HERE and our Post-Covid-19 procedures HERE



How do we wash our hands?

Here’s a link to how to wash your hands (link)



Where can I read your Terms and Conditions?

When you create an account with Borrow Don’t Buy you’ll be asked to sign our T&C and our Liability Waiver. You can download a copy of them and have a proper read (a second one, of course, you read them before signing them) from here:

We have a temporary update on our procedures, terms, and conditions due to Covid-19 crisis:

I find your documents (a bit) boring to read, soz... Do you have something shorter?


What do we do with your details?
Absolutely nothing! They are stored in a secure GDPR-compliant site and your details are not sold, distributed or passed on to any other entity. We will analyse our anonymized data to make sure we are providing you with the best borrowing experience possible, that’s all.


Or send us an e-mail to

Borrow Don't Buy Plymouth