Quick disclaimer: I use TURO a few times per year to review cars for the AvtoWow YouTube channel and in some cases, I rent cars for special occasions. TURO is by no means a perfect company, they definitely have issues they NEED to improve on. Like many companies that grow quickly, they can forget about customer service and their resolution skills can get rusty.
Over time, I have come across multiple statements from people that claim: TURO is a SCAM.
The definition of a SCAM is: “a dishonest scheme; a fraud”. If this was TURO, they would go out of business very quickly and the word would spread like wildfire.
This is NOT to say that poor customer service and poor handling of the issue from both ends of a rental agreement can be frustrating. This seems to be the BIGGEST issue coming from people who loan out their cars on TURO (and even renters). I’ll cover this in further detail, below. Let’s address the BASICS and find out IF Turo is a scam, as a whole.
Table of Contents:
A Guide for Turo Hosts
Turo is like an AirBnb, but for cars. That’s a simple way to put it.
The company has two sides to its operations. There’s the host and the renter. In between those two, you have Turo’s customer service that mediates questions, concerns, and issues that arise.
Hosts can rent out their vehicles if they meet a few basic requirements. The vehicle generally can’t be more than 12 years old and/or have more than 130,000.
As a renter, you can rent out anything on Turo. Restrictions and additional fees apply if you are under 25 years of age. Additionally, security deposits apply to some vehicles if the host places a age restriction (25+ years of age) on their vehicle. A refundable deposit is made prior to renting. In some rare occasions, there’s vehicles that are only available for 30+ years of age renters.
Should You Be Concerned?
There’s every reason NOT to be concerned when it comes to Turo. The majority of issues that happen when people transact between one another has a lot to do with both parties not being punctual with the reporting they are supposed to do.
In addition, individuals sometimes don’t (or probably never) read the fine print of what is covered and is not, what time frame people have to resolve issues, and who to get in touch with.
If you want to rent, find out ALL the details about how much coverage you are getting with your insurance plan, how many miles you can drive, what the host wants from you before you return the vehicle and so forth.
As a host, in the event something happens, follow up with Turo ASAP. Message, photo and video documentation of any issues can speed up resolution processes.
By NO means though, is Turo a scam. Below, I broke down some scenarios both hosts and renters may encounter and how to go about resolving them.
Common Issue for Hosts & Renters
HOSTS: Renter damages my car
This is an obvious one. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Ford Fiesta or a Porsche 911, nobody wants their car wrecked.
The truth is that anytime a car is on the road, it could be involved in an accident. So what happens if someone decides to check their Twitter feed just for a second and end up rear-ending someone?
You’re covered. Turo offers $1 million dollars in liability insurance through Liberty Mutual. They also insure against damage to your vehicle in two levels of protection:
- Basic: Turo will cover 20% of the first $3,750 in repair costs to your vehicle, and 100% of additional costs up to $125k.
- Standard & Premium: In both of these plans, 100% of damage-related costs are covered up to $125k.
If someone wrecks your car, you can work out the issue with the renters insurance company. The other option is going through Turo and taking advantage of their insurance coverage on YOUR end and on the RENTER’S end.
Either way, you have options. For more specific details, it is IMPORTANT to read Turo’s terms of service.
HOSTS: What if someone makes a mess in my car?
There’s always a chance that your renter could make a mess. What happens when your car is returned and there’s mustard smashed into the seat, or worse, the car stinks of cigarettes?
The guest pays for any and all cleanup costs.
The key with claims such as those are to have BEFORE and AFTER photos uploaded to the app. In addition, you NEED to report the issue immediately after getting your vehicle back.
To get an idea of what kind of reimbursement you’ll get, there are different levels:
- Moderate Cleaning: $50. Dirt on the car’s exterior, food or dirt that needs vacuuming, light or sticky stains, ect.
- Heavy Cleaning: $100. Large stains on hard-to-clean surfaces, like cloth.
- Severe Cleaning: $150. Anything that requires a steam cleaning or full-blown detail.
- Pet-Hair: $150. No dogs allowed. No cats, either.
- Smoking: $50-150. Scent removal, physical debris cleanup (ash, cigarette butts, ect.)
- Maximum: $250. Anything beyond the previous conditions, or multiple issues combined.
HOSTS: Will my car insurance be affected?
As far as I am aware, renting your car to other people does not cover the RENTER nor YOU of any damage. Your personal car insurance will be useless (unless you go after commercial driving insurances).
If your car gets wrecked, you either settle this with the renter, Turo, or you pay out of pocket.
RENTERS: Host claims I damaged his/her car, what should I do?
Before this happens to you, DOCUMENT YOUR RENTAL from all 36o degrees, inside and out.
This can usually be avoided by providing clear evidence of when you got the vehicle and when you returned it.
If you ended up getting insurance (highly recommended) through Turo, things like rock chips, curbed wheels, paint scuffs, and so much more, can all be taken care of for little to no money out of pocket.
When there is NO agreement between both parties, take it to Turo and see where it goes from there. When inadequate evidence is presented, the favor tends to lean towards the renter.
RENTERS: The host cancels at the last minute... what now?
This can be avoided to a large extent before you pick up your vehicle by: verifying with the host by asking if there would be any issue or delays they he/she are not aware of. Then, you tell the host exactly what time you’ll be there and inform them if there are to be any changed, to give you an advanced notice.
When hosts cancel, they pay a penalty. Turo created a system to where it not only financially hurts the host to cancel (especially early) but it also the host can lose their account privileges if they do it too many times. This of course is handled on a case-by-case basis.
If your host cancels within 30 minutes to your scheduled booking, you will receive a full refund into your Turo account OR, a full refund back to your bank.
The most useful page on Turo’s website is their cancellations policy page. It breaks down the most common scenarios and what to do.
In Conclusion: Is Turo a Scam?
No, Turo is NOT a scam. Turo is legit. They are the middleman of both parties, agreeing to rent a piece of property for a pre-determined price. When issues are addressed immediately and properly, there tends to be few issue if any.
As long as you follow the rules, you will not have a bad experience. Turo is by no means a sketch company..
While regular rental companies do service a purpose (one-way trips, always new models available), they lose the “personal” touch of customer service. Individual hosts usually have one or two vehicles to rent out. The feeling of being “special” is far more present by going through Turo, than by most mainstream rental agencies.