By Ami Cholia
Posting in Technology
Getaround allows car owners to rent out their own vehicles to strangers for cash.
While companies like Zipcar and Hertz's Connect have made the rental-car process more convenient, a new startup -- Getaround -- aims to avoid the middleman altogether and let car owners loan out their personal vehicles to strangers. Owners pick their hourly rental rates and schedules through this peer-to-peer system — while Getaround installs a free carkit, that includes a GPS tracker and key mechanism.
Once approved, renters can pick up the car from the owner and unlock it using an iPhone app. Berkshire Hathaway will provide insurance for all cars under the system and 24-hour roadside assistance comes with the rental fee.
Considering the point to entry is incredibly low -- Getaround has the potential to catch on across the country very quickly, especially since it makes car-sharing viable in rural areas as well.
Getaround, of course, isn't the only company getting into peer-to-peer car sharing. RelayRides, which has investments from Google Ventures, is working towards the same goal. Though Getaround just won a $50,000 grand prize at TechCrunch Disrupt last week.
Clearly there are issues that need to be ironed out -- for instance what happens if a renter gets a ticket and doesn't pay it, or returns the car filthy (but not damaged enough for insurance to cover it). While Getaround says the renter will be responsible for all of it - we do see insurance problems coming up in the future.
May 31, 2011
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Well I guess this is a considerable point that must be taken into notice that what should be done if the renters return the car filthy or damaged. http://www.bestautolenders.com/guaranteed_auto_financing.php
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Yeah, I'm going to rent my car to strangers, who will trash it, crash it, and steal it. PS: Ami, please get a grammar checker, or a proof-reader.
Considering that most of the people I know won't even loan their car to friends and/or relatives even on a dare, why would anybody loan/rent their car to a total stranger? I can see the logic in car rental for a large corporation (or Jay Leno), but how many of us own a fleet of cars that would allow us to scale up to a business? Who is going to vouch for the condition of the car before and/or after it is picked up.
Perchance there are a very high percentage of men that would rather prefer to hire out his wife, then his pride and join! Btw NOBODY drives my car. Full stop. lol
So, as the car owner, who do I go after if my car is damaged by a customer? As a renter, who do I sue if the vehicle fails due to a mechanical issue? There is truth to the statement, "drive it like you stole it" People don't respect other people's property!
It will be fascinating to see how this works out. I'm kind of skeptical that it will, however, considering the way that people tend to treat "rented" things that are not their own. I really don't see the long-term upside for the owner. Even if the liability issues can be addressed, will the money the owners receive offset the increased depreciation and unexpected "surprises" that loaning your car out to strangers will inevitably entail? After all, isn't the whole point of owning a car so that you don't have to deal with those kind of issues?
If I need a new car, but I can't afford a new car, and I don't need to use the car every day, it could work. In effect, I could end up with a part-time car or even a second vehicle, at no net cost to me.