Lender Beware – Sharing Economy Camera Transaction Ends in “Legal Theft”


The advent of the sharing economy has revolutionized everything from where we stay on vacation to how we get around while in town.

Image by Robert Shunev

And, for the most part, everything seems to be working out in the consumer’s favor. Sure, there is the random, odd incident where an AirBnB rental turns into a nightmare, and it has almost become a right of passage to have one Uber ride from hell. But that doesn’t mean that when things go bad they can’t go really bad, as is the case in point with this story picked up by PetaPixel about camera equipment lending gone sideways.

Thankfully, the company behind it all did take responsibility and helped the guy out, but he still lost his camera in what was called a “voluntary parting” by the company’s insurance. The thief, for his part, got a $4500 kit of equipment for $95.

Peter H. dabbled in the sharing economy using a service called KitSplit which rents out your camera equipment to people who need to use it for a short time. Peter initially had a lot of success with KitSplit and rented out a variety of equipment to many different users. One thing he noticed that made him feel better about it all was that KitSplit seemed to offer a lot of expensive equipment. He even recalls asking a customer service rep in a chat about what would happen if his gear was stolen.

Long story short:  His “Canon 5DS R camera with my 24-70mm f/2.8L lens and accessories” were stolen by a KitSplit user named Dev and the insurance company didn’t reimburse him because it was a “voluntary parting.”

You see, the policy only covered the event in which the renter had the camera stolen from them, not the event in which the renter steals it himself. The author of this tale of woe does admit that Dev didn’t have any feedback on KitSplit. He also admitted that most of his previous rentals to other users had gone well.

This time it did not.

Not one to rest on their laurels, KitSplit even put an NYC detective on the case and there is an arrest warrant out for Dev because of other thefts he had committed in the area according to the PetaPixel story. Surprisingly, Peter said that Dev is using his camera to record his adventures all over Mississippi, New York, and Los Angeles and posting his feats on Instagram.

Somewhat desperate, Peter even went to the police himself since he had all of Dev’s personal information. But the police basically told him the same thing that KitSplit’s insurance company did: It was a “voluntary parting” and that there isn’t much they could do to help him.

Since publishing his story on PetaPixel, KitSplit has fully reimbursed Peter and stresses the rarity of this occurrence. Peter continues to rent out his equipment on KitSplit though he has personal insurance to cover voluntary parting and is much more stringent in his vetting.

What do you think? Have you had a bad experience renting out camera equipment to others? Let us know in the comments.

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

I cannot imagine renting out my camera to a stranger. It would feel like renting out my dog or wife. My camera is too personal for me. A room in the house, yes. Just me though.

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