My Turo rental was repossessed with valuable items inside

My Turo rental was repossessed with valuable items inside

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I rented a car from Turo in Baltimore recently. My family met our host at Baltimore/Washington 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, when we could not find our rental in our hotel parking lot.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter

We called all surrounding hotels to see if it had been parked incorrectly and towed. I texted the host of the car and asked if he had picked up the car. The host did not know the car’s whereabouts. I then called Turo, and a representative told me to report it stolen.

So, I called the police. An officer asked for the owner’s address and then informed me the car had not been stolen, but repossessed by the lien holder.

I called Turo to report this, and they again advised me to report the car stolen. I called the police officer back. She told me that if I said the vehicle was stolen, that would be considered fraud.

I called Turo for days and days asking for assistance. They gave me absolutely no support. I missed the last two days of vacation trying to track down our rental car to get our stuff out of it. The biggest problem was that my son had left his epilepsy medication in the vehicle. I do not understand how Turo can hold no 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 has done nothing to help me. They refunded the last day of our rental — that was their only offer. I want my son’s medications, our other belongings and our rental fees returned. Can you help me?

— Michelle Marshall, Franklin, North Carolina

ANSWER: Turo bears some responsibility for your rental disaster. But the question is, how much? Technically, Turo isn’t a car rental company. It connects users to hosts who have vehicles they want to rent out. Think of it as Airbnb for cars. The rental agreement between you and Turo makes it clear that it’s just an intermediary, which is why it initially offered a small refund and didn’t cover the $850 worth of epilepsy medication left in the vehicle.

Turo’s terms of service contain a limitation of liability clause that lets it off for such losses.
But, let’s talk about that. I’m sure you already know that leaving valuables in your car isn’t the best idea. And, if it’s someone else’s car, parked next to a hotel hundreds of miles from home, you definitely don’t want to leave valuables, including prescription medications, in the vehicle.

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