When Michelle Marshall’s Turo rental is repossessed, the car-sharing company offers her a partial refund. But what about her son’s expensive epilepsy medication? Is Turo responsible for this?
Q: I recently rented a car from Turo in Baltimore. My family met our host at Baltimore International Airport and he gave us the keys to the vehicle. Everything was going well, and we were enjoying our trip until a few days later we couldn’t find our rental in our hotel parking lot.
We called all the surrounding hotels to see if it had been improperly parked and towed. I texted the car host and asked if he had the car picked up. The host did not know where the car was.
I then called Turo and a rep told me to report the theft. So I called the police. An agent asked for the owner’s address and then informed me that the car was not stolen but repossessed by the lien holder.
I called Turo to report it, and they again advised me to report the car stolen. I called the policeman back. She told me that if I said the vehicle was stolen, it would be a fraud.
I called Turo for days and days asking for help. They gave me absolutely no support. I missed the last two days of vacation trying to find our rental car to get our things out. The biggest issue was that my son had left his epilepsy medication in the vehicle. They are expensive so I don’t understand how Turo can shirk any liability. They know their hosts are breaking the rules with their finance companies and they let the customer suffer when things go wrong.
Things went very wrong in Baltimore and Turo did nothing to help me. They refunded the last day of our rental – that was their only offer. I want my son’s medicine, our other belongings and our rental costs reimbursed. Can you help me? — Michelle Marshall, Franklin, North Carolina
A: Turo is partly responsible for your rental disaster. But the question is, how much? Technically, Turo is not a car rental company. Instead, it connects hosts who have vehicles they want to rent. Think of it like Airbnb for cars.
The rental agreement between you and Turo makes it clear that they are just a middleman, which is why they initially offered a small refund and did not cover the $850 worth of epilepsy medication your son had left in the vehicle. Turo’s terms of service contain a disclaimer that allows it to hold harmless from such losses.
But let’s talk about it. I’m sure you already know that leaving valuables in your car isn’t the best idea. But if it’s someone else’s car, parked next to a hotel hundreds of miles from your home, you definitely don’t want to leave valuables, including prescription drugs, in the vehicle. .
Ultimately, your host was responsible for maintaining their car payments and adhering to all of the rules set by Turo. You could have relied on him, but somehow I doubt he would have paid for your son’s epilepsy medication. The next step would have been to contact someone at a higher level at Turo. You can easily find their names and emails online.
Even though you weren’t entitled to reimbursement for your son’s medication, or for that matter, for your rental, I think it was the right thing to do. I contacted Turo on your behalf. “Since the incident, we have been working toward a resolution with this guest, including providing travel reimbursement and offering reimbursement for lost items,” Turo spokeswoman Catherine Mejia told me.
Turo has offered to reimburse you for your son’s medication and your missing personal effects.
Christopher Elliott’s latest book is “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Get help by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help