Globe article about Bag, Borrow or Steal


The Boston Globe had an article today about purse rental companies like Bag Borrow and Steal, and there were a number of things about the article that really bothered me.

First off, who is doing the PR for BB&S? They are good! I have seen a number of articles about this company in some major publications recently. I guess the Globe article was supposed to be focusing on the “phenomena” of renting high end designer bags but it really came off as a two page add for this company.

Second, as TBB readers know there are few things I love more in the world then bags and talking about bags but way is this a topic that really need to be on the front page of New England’s largest newspaper? I think the Living/Arts section would have been more appropriate.

Another annoying thing is the picture that accompanied the online version of the article. One of the things that bothers me about a bag rental company is that I know I would be constantly worried about anything bad happening to the bag. YET in the picture Maura McGreevy is wearing hers out in the rain! Now I know it has been raining almost non stop here in Boston for the past couple of weeks and the Globe photographer might not have had a choice of where to take the pic. But it was just another reminder as to why I’m not comfortable with this kind of service. It may be perfect for some people, but not me.

Plus, this line is kind of weird: “She said the company introduced her to new designers such as Tano and Baby Phat, which she said she probably wouldn’t have discovered on her own.” Now Tano I can see, since it is a cool line but not one you see on the street very often. You may remember my brush with Tano this spring. But Baby Phat??? If you want to be introduced to the Baby Phat line of bags then just check out your local Marshall’s bargain bin, which I am frequently found rooting through. It is a line that is easy to find at my local stores, you really don’t seen to sign up for a designer service to see it.

If you like to join in the discussion: What do you look for in a handbag?

36 thoughts on “Globe article about Bag, Borrow or Steal

  1. I’m not sure about Bag, Borrow, and Steal. The concept seems great, but the few times I’ve gone over to check it out, they have very few bags actually available, and it’s pretty pricey to rent the higher-end designer bags. Maybe I should go check it out again, things may have changed.

    Honestly, I think I’d rather carry a knock-off – or at least save up for a small designer item.

  2. The dent in that Louis Vuitton makes me twitch.

    The problem I have with BBorS is that it is still too expensive to borrow any GOOD bag. And they need a larger selection, my real dreams aren’t on there.

    P.S. Wasn’t the weather horrid, today? Ugh, I am now in jammies with hot cocoa!

  3. I absolutely adore your site!! I agree with you that I would be uncomfortable using a service like BB&S because the person renting my bag might do something to harm it!
    Anyway, about the Tano bag that you saw, did you get it yet? I saw one in a bronzey chocolate pewter combo and absolutely thought…”this bag is perfect!” Just like you did. Ended up not buying it that day because I did not have enough cash but I’m still thinking about the bag even 2 weeks later….

  4. Hey there,

    Agreed about the rentabag companies–the cool designers aren’t there and I am pretty hard on my bags, even when I try to take care of them. Figure I’d end up buying most of the ones I rented just ’cause I messed them up.

    Back to the Tano Streaker bag–That bag is excellent! I have the brown/pewter. The gold one is a little too flashy for me but the bags are comfortable to carry and slouchy and flashy all at once. The Streaker bag was just featured in this week’s Life and Style mag–one of girly girl starlets bought one.

  5. I absolutely love BBOS! This site has allowed me to carry several bags that I couldn’t afford otherwise. Plus, they don’t have every bag, but they must have a hundred designers. And they have introduced a new line of Couture that has some very hot bags. Hey, it’s not for everyone, but it’s perfect for me!

  6. The whole BBorS disturbs me. I mean, I would rather buy a nice lower priced designer bag than to pay to borrow a bag. I have issues with this. Isn’t it better to own? And what does it say about us socially when we would opt to pay for such a service.

  7. As a warning, DO NOT order bags from this company. This company has been – since there is no other way to put – stealing from my account. I signed up for a free trial never used it, before the trial expired I told them I was not interested, I was told no problem my trial would be canceled. A month later I received an e-mail thanking me for my order for “some” bag that I did not order. I contacted customer service, again explained to them I signed up for a free trial, however I was not interested, but yet I receieved an e-mail confirming an order I did not place. I was told again, fine this would be taken care of and my free trial would be cancelled. A few weeks ago I come home to a package. I open it to find a hideous white/gold Baby Phat bag a letter saying thank you for your order, etc. I contacted customer service the very next day. Explained to a representative named Vicki, who I will soon learn is the only one I ever seem to speak with when I call the customer service. I explained to her I received a pocketbook which I did not order and I had cancelled my free trial months ago. She indicated their records did show a phone call in July, but no record of what it was about. She also told me I had another bag out, however she could not quote me the name of the designer, only that the bag was “blue” in color. I asked if I was being charged, I was told yes, they had been charging my account on the 9th of each month $99.95. I told the representative the only bag I received was the white/gold Baby Phat bag, which I was returning. I explained AGAIN that I wanted the account cancelled. I was told it was cancelled, I verified this by trying to login to the site while on the phone with BBOS. I was unable to logon to the site, the representative assured me again the account was cancelled and no further charges would come from my account. Needless to say, after this incident I began tracking the transactions on my account – on the 9th of December two unaccountable transactions hit my account. I contacted my bank I had been charged yet again $99.95 + $75.00 – two seperate transactions. I can go on forever with this story, my experience with BBOS has not been a pleasant one. When I contacted BBOS I spoke with the same representative, she remembered my call and told me she did cancell, but someone must have re-opened my account. Huh?…I asked to speak with a manager, the manager was not available. I left me contact information. To make an already long story a little shorter. I had to keep calling, my 6th phone call 2 days later. I was finally given a “manager” to speak with, who was not in my opinion very pleasant. I was told once I returned this Baby Phat bag I would receive a credit for the monies debited from my account. When I asked why an additional $75.00 was debited from my babnk account, I was told because I had two bags out at once (remember the “blue” which I never received) Agreed. Bag is returned still no credit – they have to do an “audit” of my account and will get back to me. In the interim I did a search online with the Better Business Bureau and found a couple of complaints issued with the Florida branch – I also discovered a complaint on describing my exact experience with BBOS execpt I was taken for alot more money. I am not the type to make a huge deal, alot of time I have let smaller things slide even thought I knew something wasn’t right. This incident however is the final straw, we as consumers spend money and get treated as though good quality service is not important. BBOS treated my as though whats the big deal…over $600 wasted and no merchandise to show for…THATS the BIG DEAL…no sense of urgeny in trying to get this issue resolved…when I told the manager about the other complaint I read about her reaction was “So”…we so there it is…if BBOS plans to survive they better learn quickly how to treat their customers…better form of advertisement is word of mouth…everyone that I told about this site (initially I though this was a wonderful concept and still do if managed professionally) I am now telling them to avoid this site.

  8. Bag, Borrow or Steal HORROR STORY!!!!

    I signed up with them over a year ago when they were pretty new and still “working out the bugs”. The first time I returned a bag, they LOST it and I had to jump through MAJOR HOOPS to prove I’d sent it back. (I did fed ex it back vs. using their UPS label. THAT made them unable to think.)

    Then after that, every time I went to borrow a bag – they didn’t have it.

    I finally borrowed two more bags and sent them BOTH back about a year ago. Of course – they say they NEVER RECEIVED THEM AGAIN!!!! This time, I wasn’t quite so thrilled about spending 5 hours on the phone with Fed Ex – trying to get proof. I tried reasoning with them. No luck. I blocked them from automatic debit with my bank. That worked for a few months. Now they’re BACK – hitting me for over $150 bucks a MONTH for two bags that I returned a YEAR AGO!!! I can never get a human on the phone there and frankly, they don’t care. Why should they? They’re still making money off of me!!! I am now going to have to file SUIT against them to get this to STOP!!!

    Do yourself a favor and RUN as fast as you can away from this company. Their bags aren’t even that great. They don’t carry many of the top lines and it always seemed that the “good” bags were “checked out” – literally 4 bags in a row. –
    Use this company at your own peril and be prepared to close your bank account/move your bank in order to end the pain!
    Lady Somers

  9. I once rented a LV and it ended up costing me AUD300.00 I have heard of even more costly situations and also some that have ended up costing a lot less. The bottom line is, I could have bought a really nice Kooba or Mulberry bag for only a little bit more money. I think next time I’ll find an A1 replica on ebay, pay $300 and own it outright. Yeah, I know it wouldn’t be the real thing, but if it’s an A1 replica for $300 at least I’ll have something to keep rather than paying some other company’s authentic bag off!

  10. Wow…so sad to hear the stories of you guys. I would recommend using frombagstoriches. They don’t require any membership so you can borrow a bag for a special occasion, keep it a week, and then return it. They also only carry only name brand purses like Louis Vuitton, Coach, Balenciaga, Kate Spade and Gucci. A lot of the bags on BBOS are brands I have never heard of, and wouldn’t want to pay a monthly fee for them, especially if it was 5th on my list since everything else was checked out. i have friends that used BBOS and we have all switched to because they are much better provider and carry a better selection. i have heard rumors that bbos was sued by gucci for carrying fakes – i wouldn’t waste my money to get some knock off that i could have just paid for and owned it.

  11. Very interesting comments about BBorS. I saw them featured on Fine Living and thought I would check out their site. However, after reading all about the horror stories I won’t even bother. Thanks for spreading the news.

  12. I have no idea what the above people are talking about, especially the first one. BBOS does not even REQUIRE a credit card or anything else for a FREE membership. Only for the monthly “able to borrow” membership. With a free membership,You can then purchase bags from their outlet. They carry many great bags, including Chanel & a cute Dior line. I have always owned bags but I am “borrowing” a few brands that I do not own, like the Dior & a Judith Leiber, to see if I then want to invest in buying them at a later date. It sounds like the people here have a grudge & are defaming the company, which has had many positive reviews of late. And the prices are not outrageous. I bought a Chanel recently (from boutique)for 1535.00 If I had rented it for a few weeks to try it out, or just to enjoy it with some of my outfits & put a jaunt in my step, it would come to about $80.00
    They also state in their agreement that you are paying for a roundtrip ticket, & that if you choose to use another carrier, etc. it basically invalidates the agreement & you are then responsible for the outcome. If BBOS has an agreement with UPS, it is to ensure uniformity & a process of being able to easily recover losses should they occur. UPS at this current time has the ability to look up on line who signs for your package as well as the precise time. If you use the service & check the signature required box, there is no way for a company to then deny they received their package. ALso, if UPS ships a package, all you have to do is ask them to verify the time & place it was delivered. Then of course, a company could not legally claim it was delivered to you. These are simple steps. I would say give BBOS a chance. Try out a bag for a week you may someday want to buy. As for a $300 replica, a purse afficionado knows a replica will probably fall apart in a year or two. Or less. They are simply not well made. I have Gucci’s from the early 90’s. But every Nine West, mediocre-name, etc I have bought has ended up in a yard sale. happy shopping.

  13. I tried to shop in the outlet at BBOS and the site won’t let me with the free membership, says I have to join now to take advantage of the outlet shopping. If the person above could shop in the outlet with the Free Membership…please let me know how you did it!!!!
    I’m a little leary to sign up with a credit card after reading all the above stories.

  14. Thank you so much for the heads up! I was considering joining BBOS, but after doing some research and reading your horror stories, I’m steering clear! No business, whether tangibly located or online, should be able to continue to operate if it is proven that they are ripping consumers off!

  15. I took out a rental agreement with Bag, Borrow, Steal and cancelled it 24 hours later. They still sent me a bag, and have taken money from my account twice without my authorisation. I have had to file suit to stop them withdrawing funds; I notice that their company accounts are six months overdue, and that letters I have sent to their company address are returned as undelivered. I suspect this company is a scam, with good PR and a website to lure customers in…Beware!

  16. I was interested too before reading the horror stories. I think it’s free to browse, but anything more than that and you have to pay a monthly fee. To me, in light of all the stress BBorS is causing, it ain’t worth it.

  17. I borrowed a pair of earrings and a necklace for my sister’s wedding in October.

    The jewelry was a disappointment.

    And ~~ Instead of sending both items in one shipment, they insisted on mailing them separately ~~ costing me $20.00.

    I returned the jewelry IMMEDIATELY after the wedding at my own expense ~~~ because their return arrangement was not FREE nor INCLUDED and it was easier & cheaper just to send them USPS Priority.

    I did NOT open a membership.

    I just realized today that they have been billing me $9.95 a month since November.

    Stay away from this company ~~ rip-off.


  18. I received a $50 gift certificate from BBorS and I didn’t use it for nearly a year because I never found any bags worth borrowing for the money. But, I didnt’ want the gift certificate to expire, so I redeemed it with them and they wanted my credit card number. I resisted but they said they needed it in order to open my account. I gave them the number relunctantly and within 1 week, they charged my account $19.95 for a month membership…even though I had a $50 gift certificate. It took several calls to reverse it with them telling me it was taken care of twice. I decided at that time to cancel my membership and that I would just lose the $50 gift. That was February, 2006. Now, here’s the worst of it….BBorS did a RANDOM CREDIT INQUIRY in October, 2006 and now I have it on my credit report. When I called, they told me it had been random and they chose 50 customers in their database. I shouldn’t have even been in their database. I am very upset and am trying to contact their CEO, Mike Smith but he has not responded. They have not given me a reason as to why they did a random credit inquiry. And now, I have this inquiry on my record which affects my credit and I can’t get rid of it. Don’t bother doing business with this company.

  19. Bag Borrow or Steal recently started taking $100 per day out of my checking account for four days in a row, despite my screaming at them on the phone to stop it. My account had been cancelled a month ago, and no bags were outstanding. They said it was a “systems glitch” and sorry, but the next day — another $100 was deducted from my debit card visa. Please do be aware that these people are over their heads in terms of technology, and possibly fraudulent in their business methods. Be prepared to lose your bank account not from adoring their bags, but rather because they may be thieves. I am hoping they will refund my money — they said they would fax me some evidence that they had, but I have yet to see the fax, or my money.

  20. I have also had several problems with BBOS regarding the same issues mentioned above. However I did find another bag rental company that’s actually very good, and the customer service is excellent. They also sent me a small Thank You gift for renting, and I rented as a guest! Try them out, its better than carrying a knockoff, now they make me itch!

  21. I wish I never heard of BBOS. They’re really good at taking my money, but their customer service SUCKS. I’ve been an unhappy member since December 2006. Pretty much every month I have an issue with them charging me for a bag I returned on time, or charging me for a bag on my list, and I never get the bag. I strongly discourage anyone from joining.

  22. Do NOT shop with Bag Borrow or STeal! I had the same nightmare experience with BBOS last year. I found out they were charging me outrageous rental fees for bags I never ordered and in all cases but one, I never even recieved these bags! Months after I had canceled my membership they continued to charge my account. It would be too kind to call their Customer Service clueless and ignorant. Their CEO, Mike Smith, better step up to the plate and make some major structural changes within the company and find competant employees or the company will go bankrupt. It’s important for people to read stories like mine. I encourage anyone else out there to write their own personal experiences with this unethical company.

  23. I was just considering becoming a member of BBOS, But after reading these horror storys i do not want to go through that. Thanks for taking the time to warn us

  24. I was just considering becoming a member of BBOS, But after reading these horror storys i do not want to go through that. Thanks for taking the time to warn us

  25. thanks, sooooooo much after reading this I will not buy into any of the rent a bag scams….. I just knew this was to good to be true. BBOS is very wrong for this and should be closed for good. once AGAIN THANKS !!!!!



  26. All theese stories are absolutely true! I experienced a similar situation. After renting my first bag and returning it, I was told they never received it and I was charged 300.00. I tried numerous times to contact them with the proof that I did indeed return it but I was always told someon would call me back and they never did. About a month later I had another charge on my account for 250.00 for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! When I called they said I had rented another bag which I DID NOT! I am still fighting for my $550.00 and I also plan to file suit against theese theives.WATCH OUT!!! DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH BBOS!

  27. I’m very suspicious of the service as well. Their customer service is bad, they charged me for year membership yet didn’t send the bag because they had to check out my identity. Funny how they didn’t need to check it when they charged my card the yearly fee which btw is already showing up on my statement. I told them to cancel my account since they had me wait 5 days without a word as to why the bag did not ship, but they charged me the fee..hmmm..I think I’ll go to the Chanel store in the city and just buy my bag outright since I don’t want to risk wearing someone’s funk all over a bag I’m carrying.. O.o

  28. Will people please email me if you have been scammed by BAG BORROW OR STEAL. They are screwing me and have stolen serious amounts of money from me. My email is

    Label it BBORS SCREWED ME.

    I would like to send a letter (much more professional title of course) to the major magazines and possibly file suit.

    Thank you


  29. I have borrowed a couple items from BB&S in the past–a coach purse which I loved so much I subsequently purchased for myself, and a gorgeous Dior trotter romantique purse I seriously considered buying before deciding that perhaps I should pay my tuition instead–however, when I attempted to borrow the perfect Vera Wang necklace for my wedding they informed me that I would have to build up a 3 month continuous borrowing history prior to doing so (not possible since the wedding was 2 weeks away).

    This fact was not advertised on the website and is clearly inconvenient for those wishing to sporadically borrow for special occasions, which financially, is the best use for this site (for the borrower of course, not BB&S).

    My previous experience with BB&S was pleasant enough–quick shipping, decent customer service, nice packaging but after this experience I will not be borrowing again…a shame, since my borrowing would have only increased now that I’m done school.

  30. STAY AWAY FROM THE THIEVES @ BB&S. We have been charged a $9.95/month for a year after borrowing and returning a bag and never using their services again. They blame the charges on the customer being irresponsible not to read the small fine print only accessible thru a link at the bottom of the webpage. After a long discussion, they agreed to refund 7 months out of the 12 but the truth is that they need to refund all the money they took from our account.

    The word about this company should get out. What a rip off.

  31. Wow..I am NOT surprised at all to see all these negativity towards Bag Borrow or Steal/Avelle. Today I spoke to a customer service representative and they are no help at all. I borrowed a Gucci handbag since Aug of 2008 and until 2 months ago I have accrued so many points with them that I can pay off $150.00 and keep the bag. I just issued a new card so my current card (that was on file) was not able to be charged. So they contacted me ONCE by phone, left a voicemail. Told me to update my account. I guess they also sent 1 letter as well saying I need to update my account. As days are going by, sometimes people like myself forget to call/hop on online to update my info. Today I checked my e-mail and they are saying my account balance is $1,095!!!!! I called to reason with them because I believe that it is so ridiculous that they are charging me for the entire bag price. I only had a month left to pay it off & I am willing to pay for the $150 but they said no I have to pay the entire balance of $1,095. They said they couldn’t help me. I am so frustrated. They could’ve given somebody at least 10 phone calls before they charge somebody that much!! I looked into my bank account and they had already charged to my account last month. I am going to investigate and if they are scamming me. I am going to file a suit. NEVER AGAIN BBOS.

    PS – Be careful when you return your items, they’ll say they’ve never received your items and still charge you in the mean time!!

  32. I found it laughable how they are trying to rent out Juicy Couture bags. Don’t get me wrong it’s nice stuff but not too pay $80 a week for! I can walk into marshalls and buy a brand new large in demand style juicy bag for $129.00. I was just on the website and it does seem like the prices have gone down alot. Probably because of the bad economy. I wouldnt want to do it now because of all the bad experiences everyone on here has had. I know a lot of you have lost a bunch of money but if you have bank of America all you have to do is file a dispute and will get all your money back within 20 days. It’s a pain if you need the money now but they always take the customers side……I was really thinking about renting a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses for 2 weeks at $42 a wk but after reading this I dont want them having my debit card #. I suppose a solution to their horrible banking methods would be to have one of those pre-paid debit cards and just put exactly what is needed on one. I just feel like even $80 a wk for a designer bag is too much. I think if they charged $25 a week they would actually get more business. In my opinion if someone can’t afford $675 for an authentic speedy they cant afford a few hundred to rent a bag. The only point I see of renting a bag from them is if you are thinking about buying the bag and want to try it out. That’s what I wanted to do with the LV sunglasses. but what if you loose them? Then what? I can only imagine the fees!

  33. I went through the process to rent a Prada bag through BBOS, provided all information requested, and I even took the time to read their ENTIRE Terms and Conditions page, which indicated I might be asked for a deposit. So I was fine with that. After reading all of this, I went through with my purchase, secured the bag with a credit card (which was charged 30 seconds later for the full amount of the rental) and received a confirmation email stating I should expect the bag on February 8th, five business days later. Everything was going as expected, until the next day when I received an email from Avelle stating the bag I rented had a required credit check, and their attempt to pull my credit had been unsuccessful using the information I provided. I was to call their Customer Service number and provide them with my Social Security number.

    Avelle, you realize that’s illegal, right? You can’t pull a copy of my credit report without my express consent. Your “Terms and Conditions” page says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about credit inquiries needed to rent bags. The reason you couldn’t find me with my address information (thankfully!) is because I recently moved. And it will be a cold day in hell when I give you full access to my identity to rent a damn purse (which I already paid for!) As of this moment (ok, give me 5 minutes to finish this sentence and navigate to the website), I am filling a complaint with the BBB. And I see I’m not alone, 21 other people have filed complaints against Avelle in the last 36 months. Do business with this company at your own peril.

  34. This business is super shady and probably have monkeys working in their authentication department for their Private Sale stuff. They lowball you on offers for their handbags and then reject authentic bags even with receipts. Please beware of renting or selling with this business. They are VERY SHADY and don’t know much about limited authentic handbags besides what info they can find on the internet!HORRIBLE

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