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San Francisco files suit against rental car startup

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The city of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against FlightCar, a business ran by three teenagers who want to change the airport car rental business.

The idea behind the startup is simple: when traveling, allow others the use of your vehicle rather than leave it mouldering in an airport parking bay. In exchange, the company will give you a slice of the profit, free airport parking and a car wash.

The owners, 18 year-old Rujul Zaparde and 19 year-olds Kevin Petrovic and Shri Ganeshram said:

"How does it make sense that there's one parking lot at the airport where there are thousands of cars sitting there and people are paying for them to sit there and do nothing, and there's another parking lot with thousands of cars owned by Hertz?"

FlightCar has proven popular. With a range of vehicles from a Lotus to family cars, roughly 1,400 customers have used the service in recent months. This type of "sharing economy" -- goods that are shared for a profit -- may be popular with customers, but local officials are not so sure.

San Francisco city and airport officers have lodged a court case against the company, saying that the company is undercutting other firms by acting like a rental but ignoring the regulations that come with the title.

The city hopes to close down FlightCar until regulations are adhered to. These include using special drop-off and pick-up areas, paying 10 percent of earnings to the airport and a fee of $20 per rental.

Read More: Huffington Post

Image credit: Flickr

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— By on June 30, 2013, 6:17 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure