Why you should trust me...
The reviews I write are brutally honest. I'm a busy millennial mother who has an eye for quality. Pley reached out to philandmama.com and requested for me to write a review of their service. Aside from receiving a voucher to rent one toy, I was not financially compensated and these opinions are my own. I have almost three years of buying and playing toys, and over a year of experience writing popular honest reviews on philandmama.com.
Story behind Pley (4.5/5)
"Pley aims to enrich and delight the next generation while conserving the planet, by offering a world-class, curated toy rental service."
Parents built and own this "socially responsible" company and its mission is to reduce landfills of discarded toys, inspire kids to play with toys rather than devices, and to donate a toy to an "underprivileged child" for every new Pley sign-up. Pley also states that a single rental saves 10+ pounds of carbon dioxide emission. That's pretty sweet! (You can also save the planet by eating less meat and animal products!) I do have to add here that Pley does offer toys that you have to use with devices like an iPad, so that does clash (just a bit) with one part of their mission.
Think Netflix with toys instead of digital video, and with less bang for the buck. For 12.99USD, you get one credit, which allows you rent one toy per month, and most toys cost one credit. For 29.99USD a month, you have access to the "premium toys" and you get three credits. So you can get three one-credit toys, or a one two-credit toy and a one-credit toy. The math is simple.
With Netflix, however, I can watch all the shows and movies I want for 7.99USD a month. I wish Pley employed a different model, one where you can rent as many toys as you want per month, one at a time. Return a toy, and rent another one. Phil gets bored with toys so fast! Only renting one new toy a month just won't satisfy him... Also, many toys that I wanted to rent cost two credits, which means you would have to upgrade to the $29.99 plan. You might as well buy a toy then, though the two-credit toys are more expensive than $29.99...
Pley does state that a year of Pley rentals can save you around $800... I haven't tested this claim, so I can't comment on this.
Pley.com Navigation (3.5/5)
I'm a web designer and artist and I had to navigate the site for around 15 minutes before I got the hang of it—such as how to browse the toys, how to pick one and order it, how to update my "Pleylist" and so forth. I do like the Dashboard and the ability for members to earn credits through referrals. You can also become an affiliate of Pley through ShareSale and earn money through affiliate referrals.
Our Pley toy came in a cute, Pley-branded baby-blue box. The toy came in a red bag. Pley also included two gifts in the box. One is a Lego brick separator and the other is a cute bracelet that Mama kept for herself. Note to Pley—if the toy rented has nothing to do with Legos, keep that plastic Lego separator! All Lego fans have plenty of separators themselves, and the blue one from Pley doesn't feel as sturdy and substantial as the orange one from Lego...
Each rental comes with prepaid postage for you to mail the toy back, in the very same box. I just stuck on the USPS sticker and dropped it into the local mailbox. The Pley box was easy to open, and it was a joy to receive. I have no complaints here. If you want to keep the toy, you have the option of paying for it. The toy I rented would have costed me $39.99. I am not paying that price for a used toy... (I checked and saw that I could get the same toy, completely new, for $32.00 on Amazon).
Toy Variety (500+ toys) (4/5)
Pley began as a Lego renting company. Now while I love Legos, and Pley offers a lot of them—from the complex models to Lego Friends to Duplo—I did not rent a Lego toy for Phil. I read some reviews of Pley where parents say they received Duplo and Lego sets with missing pieces. Also, as a Lego collector, I can't bear to part with any completed sets! I know the true joy rests in constructing the Lego sets, but I also love staring at the end product, over and over again. And again... After looking through a lot of toys (like how I'd look through the lists of shows on Netflix for an hour before settling on something to binge on), I rented Magformers Magnets, pictured below. It's one of Pley's most-rented toys!
Toy Quality and Cleanliness (4/5)
The toy looked and felt clean and they are sanitized at Pley after every use; however, the instruction manual was worn. Perhaps it would be better if each toy came with digital instructions. Scan a code and access the PDF instructions on the website. Or perhaps send with each new rental a new copy of the instructions. (Okay, that's not environmentally friendly.) I like my digital instructions idea, though some parents may find that cumbersome. The poor quality of the instruction turned me off a bit. Phil didn't mind though. He (and his amused parents) really liked playing with Magformers.
During my review, I did not have to contact customer service. We received the toy, Phil played with it, and then we shipped it back a few days later. I am unable to comment on the quality of Pley's customer service, but we have a few comments below about the customer service, so check those comments out!
Final Verdict: 4 out of 5 Pandas!
Pley allows you to rent a relatively expensive toy for your child, allow them to try it out for a month, and help you make an informed decision: buy or just try? In the end, you do save money and you won't end up with a neglected toy or a toy you'll have to discard. I know we look down on re-gifting, but consider giving away toys to children who want them before filling our landfills with your unwanted toys. Or give Pley a try! I will consider renting another toy from Pley when Phil's older and less likely to throw a tantrum when his toys disappear. I admire Pley's mission and really enjoyed receiving the toy in the mail. Their toy rental model is great but can benefit from tweaking and improvements: enhanced Pley.com user interface, improve rental model different from the one credit per month system, increased variety of toys to include Mattel dolls, Thomas and Friends trains, etc..., no Lego separator in rentals that do not include Lego play sets, and digital instructions or play manuals if possible.
Pley, I believe you guys are great and are on the right track, so keep on trekking and upholding that beautiful mission of yours! Thanks for the cute bracelet!