Submitted: Lakewood Resident Seeks Help Navigating Turo Rental Car Saga

Hi, I am hoping TLS can publish this so others can be aware of similar potential issues and so I can perhaps find someone who went through this and can help.

With both my wife and I now working from home, we don’t really have a need for two cars anymore, leading to one of our cars sitting in my driveway, collecting dust.

I was recently made aware of Turo, a platform which allows car owners to make extra cash by renting out their vehicles while providing a convenient and quick way to rent a car to those needing transportation.

So, I listed my Nissan on Turo, and things started off pretty well. People were renting it for various durations, from a couple of days to even a month.

It wasn’t making me rich, but it covered the costs of the car just sitting there, plus a little extra. Of course, this “side hustle” did require some effort. I had to manage scheduling, hand over the keys, and occasionally take the car for cleaning.

Everything was going smoothly until one customer, who had a poor reviews of returning cars with an empty tank and a smoking habit, booked my Nissan.

Despite my reservations, I went ahead and rented the car to him. He then wanted to extend the rental, but my settings didn’t allow bookings to start or end on Saturdays, so I couldn’t accept the extension.

Trouble started brewing when the rental period was up, didn’t return the car and started ignoring my messages.

This was also problematic because someone else was supposed to pick up the car in a couple of days, and I had plans to go on vacation with my family. So I reached out to Turo and reported the situation. They assured me they would look into it.

Fortunately, I had a tracker installed in the car, and Turo was able to track its location.

Turns out the car was tracked to the Tinton Falls Police Department.

After calling TFPD, they informed me that the person who had rented the car had been arrested, and my car was impounded. I was then advised to contact the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for information on when I could retrieve it.

However, because there was an ongoing investigation, my vehicle could not be released.

Turo provided some assistance by assigning an investigator, who had experience in such matters. This investigator tried reaching out to the relevant parties, but progress was slow due to the legal intricacies of the case.

Meanwhile, I was left wondering about the legality of holding my car during an ongoing investigation. It seemed like a gray area that I wasn’t entirely clear on. Despite my efforts to get information, both from Turo’s investigator and the prosecutor’s office, it was apparent that the process would take time. The case was still in its early stages, and it was uncertain how long it would take to resolve.

So, as of now, my car remains impounded, and I’m navigating the complexities of this situation, trying to determine the best course of action while hoping for a resolution that allows me to regain possession of my rental car.

If anyone has experienced a similar issue and can advise accordingly, please contact me through TLS, as it would be a great help.

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  1. Goose suggests pursuing legal action against the PD for income lost as a result of the time the car has been impounded.

    Contact from an attorney always gets things moving.

    Although Goose does not have experience so the more educated folks in the field may take presidence here.

    Goose is typing this while sitting in a publicly used facility in a city park hence the reason to disregard my legal advice.

    Gossage out!

  2. You need to get hold of a chief of police or commanding officer and explain that it was a rental vehicle.
    Turo should be helpful in creating a letter to that effect with precise vehicle information.

  3. I have no personal experience with this. But I would think you can bill the renter the entire time the car is not back in your possession. I can imagine Turo has it somewhere in their T&C to have the ability to do this. Even though it’s impounded, in the end of the day the renter never returned the car to you.

  4. The car was impounded likely because it is evidence now for a crime. It can be impounded for a long time and most likely till twh present the evidence. Poor you.

  5. I wonder what happens in such a situation by regular car rentals. Make a phone call around to car rental places what their policy is in such situations. I’m sure it happens to them too.

    • I’d assume they’re big enough that occasionally getting a car impounded is factored in to the cost of doing business. Just like people defaulting on credit card debt is part of doing business for credit card companies.

  6. I also have a problem with Turo.
    When I enrolled & chose Medieval Jewish history as my major I was told it’s a very in demand career.
    But so far the only jobs I’ve been able to get is speaking at Reform & Conservative sisterhood luncheons where I am “Paid” with all the free (kosher) danishes I can eat & coffee I can drink.
    I don’t have an answer to your problem but if you resolve it please tell us so I can possibly use it to help my situation.
    Something must be done so Turo can’t promise future income based on false claims.
    Menachem Velvel E.
    p.s. My friend who went to a Non-Jewish college & majored in Women’s studies is doing very well. He’s the Chief Diversity Officer in a major company mostly involved in pronoun rules & arguments. Perhaps I should’ve followed in his footsteps…..

    • I did not attend a Jewish college or a non-Jewish college. I simply waited until the right father-in-law showed up, and I have been in Kollel for almost 6 years.

      I have been called a “Lecha Dodi ‘Masmid'”. Whenever the chazan begins to sign “Lecha Dodi” on Erev Shabbos, I push my Siddur away and open up my Gemorah. Gives my in-laws Nachas.

  7. Is this even legal to rent out a private car? I would think you need additional insurance to cover an incident like what happened to you. Personally, I don’t trust family to drive my car around here. Good luck. And when you do get your car back, maybe just sell it since you don’t need the extra car.

  8. I rented out my car on turo and had a similar story – the guy refused to bring the car back…

    I have some advice, can you please contact me through the lakewood scoop?

    • I rented my car through Turo to a Kollel guy who didn’t clean it before returning it.
      The dashboard was covered in Parsha sheets. I found a crushed black fedora under the driver’s seat. A jug of spoiled Cholov Yisroel milk in the console (he claimed it was already spoiled when he bought it) & Breslov “Literature” on the back seat.
      Never again.

  9. What happened is the renter committed a crime such as trying to buy drugs while driving the car. The Police seized the car as a civil forfeiture. The way it works is the police take the car the owner negotiates for return of the vehicle. Car manufactures who hold title of leased vehicles pay anywhere from $1K to $10k to get them released. If you try to sue them in court it will take years until you win and the car by then maybe missing a few parts.

  10. Slightly different but my car was stolen and impounded by Trenton police.
    It took them a while until they let me know I can pick it up. By then charges at storing garage was close to $1000, the price of the car.
    I gave them the title and lost my car for the 2nd time.
    First time to a robber, 2nd time to tow truck company in cahoots with Trenton Police dpt!
    They told me there’s nothing they can do!
    I hope you have better luck than me.

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