My First Experience with Turo – Both Online and Real-time flaws.
I have been following Turo for a few years now, Always was enticed with the idea of getting a choice of Car I will like to drive ( unlike the rental counters). But there is one fundamental flaw in Turo Business model, which can be partly corrected by improvising their workflow a little bit.
- Registration Nightmares: I can be partly blamed for being overtly enthusiastic and hurrying through the sign up. To my dismay, it took me at least 4 tries and few support sessions to get registered. The issue was related to Postal code Validation error. I tried from various devices to be sure it’s not me. Kept on getting same error till I was informed that its something related to the bank Validation and My zip code is not being matched with whats in the Bank records. Innocent Mistake, But why the hell the Error message does not say that. Just a simple tweak in the error message
‘The address you mentioned doesn’t match with what your credit card company has on records, Please make sure your address information matches’.
- The Onboarding: Once we passed the initial hurdle of getting verified and registered (approved), we moved on to the exciting part of having to choose the CarCar. Which was a quick and easy process, Just a quick note that the rental prices mentioned in their infinite scroll are not the final price you pay? Its X + Turo Fee + Insurance ( which is understandable)
- Once I chose the vehicle, the process was smooth until I discovered one major flaw. I took an uber to my Host’s address and Called him once I was near my CarCar of choice ( Subaru Forester – For those who are interested). The transaction was smooth, formal exchange of greetings and I got the car keys with the Guy telling me that the gas is half full, etc. So within a few minutes of getting off the Poster child of disruption (read Uber), I was about to board the new kid on the block.
- So I started my Forester, and I was on the road. Just a quick note that it started raining heavily at the same time. Which gave me a little pleasure knowing I am riding the legendary Symmetrical all-wheel drive and nothing better can handle the weather. I was in for a not so nice surprise, I just drove a few blocks to my first stop sign and guess what the CarCar had terrible brakes, that when the nightmare began. I kept on driving thinking it might be just spongy brakes, I should have stopped then. But I was in for a lesson, I kept on driving, and it started pouring, I turned on the Wipers and guess what, they made the visibility worst because they were worn out. So am in a car with poor to no brakes, with no visibility and Evening Rush traffic of GTA. The adventure continued for the next 20 minutes where I kept on following the straight road and managing to keep the safe following distance with the Car in front which was barely visible and flexing my Calf muscle on the brake paddle. It did give my plantar fasciitis much-needed stretch.
- The Agony ended with me getting the CarCar towed away after 5 long phone calls with Turo and 3 unpleasant calls with the owner. It was a real life-threatening experience, and I just realized how quickly things can move south. The Turo Executives were really helpful during this entire episode so a thumbs up for them to try to keep their chops while I was screaming in anxiety.
- Now time for the ultimate problem I see with Turo’s business model. How can they stop incidents like this from happening? Yes, you can flag the users, but since you don’t control the fleet, there is no way for you to know whether the CarCar is safe or fit for the road. I am intrigued by How will they go about solving this.
- Meanwhile, I am back on the road with another Turo rented truck, which is so much better ( A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV) and the Host was ever so courteous. So back on the happy technology train.