TURO, formerly RelayRides, is a peer-to-peer car share system, a la Airbnb for automobiles. This sharing is only for the car, and allows customers to rent cars from other people. TURO is an alternative to the traditional rental car agencies such as Hertz, Enterprise, etc. It may be an attractive and less costly option, but there are several factors to consider when renting a car. If you’d like to check it out, get $25 off your first rental here.
My Turo Experience
A last minute trip to Reno necessitated a car rental in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, due to the crunch in time and holiday season, prices were significantly inflated. For a comparable minivan/SUV, I was looking at about $540 and up for a four day rental. I searched alternative sites and came across TURO.
It was a revelation. Prices were much more reasonable, and with a $25 promotional credit I was able to score a midsized SUV for just $120 for the four days! We did spring for the full insurance package which brought the cost to a still-reasonable $180. The “premium” insurance includes $1 million in liability insurance, with a maximum out of pocket cost of $500. I felt this would bring a level of comfort for a long drive in unfamiliar terrain. Note that no insurance from TURO covers mechanical or interior damage. There is also a cheaper basic package with the state minimum liability insurance and a $3,000 deductible.
Once you’ve communicated with a lender and he or she has approved your rental, you can negotiate car delivery (for a fee), or pick it up from the renter’s address. When the trip is completed, you can likewise negotiate where to drop it off.
I used to use Flightcar, which was also a similar daily model. Flightcar has since closed, so the only peer-to-peer one I have found is TURO.
Agency – $540 and up for four days, insurance not included, with unlimited miles. Fill up your own gas.
TURO – $180 for four days, which was $145 before $25 promotion and $60 insurance. 800 miles included. Fill up your own gas. Most cars I saw on TURO had 100, 150, or 200 miles included per day. Many options were unavailable (due to the holiday) but their response time was very quick.
However, we did experience some issues with the car. It was not as clean as you would expect, both inside and out. There was random garbage around, and we experienced a major tire pressure issue midway in our rental. This was compounded with the difficulty in finding the tire gauge – as it was not in the middle area or the glove compartment. We found it afterwards, but that was not as useful. Having to rely on the gauge at a gas station, which may be inaccurate, was troubling. These issues would easily have been avoided at a traditional rental car agency – with cleaned, reliable, recently-serviced cars. I would not go as far as say you get what you pay for, but understanding these belong to other people helps set expectations.
TURO’s customer support experience was quite poor or nonexistent. I did not feel it right to spend time and money to get the tires checked during my holiday vacation. However, after multiple calls to TURO, who shuffled me around from department to department, I ended up nowhere. Twice I was put on hold with no one picking up, after fifteen and thirty minutes. Service was unacceptable, so my only recommendation to you is don’t have any issues you need to call about.
Not sure why I paid $60 insurance for 24/7 customer support if their customer support is neither 24 hours nor 7 days nor available. In the coming days I will be messaging TURO with my concerns.
1/10 EDIT: They finally responded to me after a couple inquires and over a week later, offering a paltry $25 credit but refusing to refund any charges. Frankly, that’s unacceptable.
As a customer, I would hesitate before trying it again. I would be more conscientious to check the quality of pictures of the car, to try and ensure fewer issues. I would also be open to renting out my car since I can set the pricing, TURO as little as a 10% commission, and my car is fully insured. If you’d like to check TURO out, get $25 off your first trip by signing up through this link and support my blog in the process.
Featured image from Unsplash to mirror our SUV trip towards the mountain snow.
What do you think of my review? Have any questions about my experience? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at TheHotelion@gmail.com! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram: @TheHotelion