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GM Car Owners With OnStar Now Can Be Their Own Rental Agencies

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the what-an-enterprise dept.

Transportation 195

The Los Angeles Times reports that the world of micro-rentals just got a whole lot more crowded, with the introduction of a nationwide partnership between GM and ride-sharing company RelayRides. RelayRides has been arranging short-term car sharing in just a few cities for several years; car owners can sign up to make their own cars available for short-term rentals to others, so their expensive investment (especially in cities where parking is like a second apartment's rent) isn't sitting idle. Now, the two companies are rolling out that system in a much larger market: the rest of the U.S. Owners of GM cars new enough to be equipped with OnStar monitoring systems will be able to sign up to take part with the OnStar system providing the ability to unlock and track those cars remotely, which might make the bargain more attractive to many owners who'd like to earn money from their cars (and reduce the total number of cars needed in a given area), but reluctant to hand the keys to a stranger. (Cars without the system can still be enrolled, but will require a key hand-off.)

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Still Evil (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#40672985)

Even though this seems like a good thing, there is a corporation involved so I'm sure there is evil involved.

Gentlemen of Slashdot, affix your tinfoil hats and let's start dissecting this!

Re:Still Evil (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40673051)

Even though this seems like a good thing, there is a corporation involved so I'm sure there is evil involved.

Gentlemen of Slashdot, affix your tinfoil hats and let's start dissecting this!

1) Find car you'd like to steal or strip.
2) Social engineer the car to be a part of this "rental agreement".
3) "rent" car using the usual fake ID stuff (or just tell them you're an illegal and they're not allowed to discriminate against you).
4) Drive to steel walled warehouse or just strip the parts you want, after all they have fake ID.
5) Profit!

I am virtually certain GM is not prepared for the security implications of this.

Another interesting topic is I rent the Home Depot truck when I'm transporting garden manure etc. I wonder how they handle borderline situations where its not illegal or wrong, but...

The last topic I've never been able to understand is there used to be intense publicity about civil forfeiture, where you'll lose your car non-judicially just because a cop wants it. Now this could happen to anyone walking down the street, but how do these rental deals handle having the cops steal a car from a renter?

Re:Still Evil (2)

Kokuyo (549451) | about 2 years ago | (#40673151)

"2) Social engineer the car to be a part of this "rental agreement"."

Uh-huh, because if you want to strip a car, you're not just going to smash the window and hotwire the car with the little box you bought off of e-bay in under 5 minutes. Riiiight.

Re:Still Evil (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40673859)

"2) Social engineer the car to be a part of this "rental agreement"."

Uh-huh, because if you want to strip a car, you're not just going to smash the window and hotwire the car with the little box you bought off of e-bay in under 5 minutes. Riiiight.

Of course not. That little box you bought on eBay likely came from some sweatshop in China and, for all you know, contains lead (a product known to the State of California to cause Cancer).

A little social engineering is pure, American made goodness (or maybe Nigerian, but hell, we're all free marketeers here, right?).

Why do you hate America?

Re:Still Evil (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40674405)

"2) Social engineer the car to be a part of this "rental agreement"."

Uh-huh, because if you want to strip a car, you're not just going to smash the window and hotwire the car with the little box you bought off of e-bay in under 5 minutes. Riiiight.

Seems like a lot of risk to take on in public which you can avoid with just a little paper and social engineering.

This is sounding like why social engineer yourself past the front desk guard when you can just crash a car thru a ground floor window?

Now you could have fun by setting up your enemy as a new renter so as to trash their car.

Re:Still Evil (0)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#40673181)

3) "rent" car using the usual fake ID stuff (or just tell them you're an illegal and they're not allowed to discriminate against you).

Just because you're a stupid bigot doesn't mean the rest of us are.

Re:Still Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673359)

you mean like sell ads?

Re:Still Evil (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#40674245)

Correction: I am not a stupid bigot. I probably shouldn't have spoken for the rest of Slashdot.

Re:Still Evil (5, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | about 2 years ago | (#40673189)

Seems like a lot of trouble. Wouldn't it be much easier to steal the car the old-fashioned way? Presumably your method would result in the organisation having a picture of you (from your fake id), and the monitoring system would reveal the car mysteriously disappearing when entering your steel walled warehouse. So basically the police now know your face and your hideout.
Even if that does not lead to your capture, they can put your picture in a database and the next time you attempt to steal a car you'll get flagged and arrested.

better to stage a fake accident with the rented ca (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40673371)

better to stage a fake accident with the rented car and have the deep pockets of GM / on star / RelayRide pay out.

Re:Still Evil (3, Insightful)

danomac (1032160) | about 2 years ago | (#40674077)

What I was wondering is in the case of legitimate rental use, I don't think regular car insurance will suffice. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the car owners finds that out the hard way.

All you need to do is rent the car to a guy nicknamed Crash that can't afford to acquire/insure a car for his/her own use...

Re:Still Evil (2)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40674175)

1) Find car you'd like to steal or strip.

Okay you found a generic GM car. Now why is this "GM" car special that you want to steal it?

2) Social engineer the car to be a part of this "rental agreement".

Why bother?, if you want this particular GM car, just steal it. At a minimum, you probably need the get around having vehicle account verification information to social engineer adding the to the rental system, So if you think you do this, just social engineer Onstar unlock the car instead of adding them to this rental company agreement. That's probably easier to do, since if you want to sign-up, they'll probably will have to send you snail-mail forms you need to fill out and send back to authorize it, where as if you just want them to unlock the car, they probably can just do it right away...

3) "rent" car using the usual fake ID stuff

At this point, I don't think there is much difference between this rental and a typical car rental...

As usual, people making it harder than it needs to be.

Also, social engineering stuff like this isn't as easy as people think it is. In the old days all the call centers were staffed with nice, trusting midwestern USA employees that you can sweet-talk. Nowdays, you are calling into a boiler room where people barely know how to do what they are trained to do (including speaking english) and punt to a supervisor anytime strange comes up since they are rated on how fast they can hand off or terminate the call and are constantly being watched by keystroke loggers, so they generally not interested in being engineered by you, they are more interested in upselling you some additional product.

Re:Still Evil (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40674447)

At this point, I don't think there is much difference between this rental and a typical car rental...

However, I could trash the car of the supvr who fired me with this scheme, as opposed to generic Enterprise renta-car model.

Also I've heard in Vegas you can rent a Ferrari, but around here I've only seen the worlds most boring 4-door commuter cars, with the exception of a couple heavy duty trucks (but that's bordering on ripping off uhaul, not enterprise rentacar). Privately owned cars seem much more interesting.

Re:Still Evil (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#40674581)

Yes in Vegas you can rent a Ferrari as well as a host of other sports cars. When I was out there with my wife a few years ago I rented a Lotus Elise for a day. Of the fancy cars it was the cheapest and only like $10 more than a Ford Mustang but I like little roadsters so it was worth it for a day of driving around seeing some of the other stuff in the area. As much fun as getting something like a Lamborghini of Ferrari would be I still wanted the Elise.

Re:Still Evil (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40673157)

welcome to Straw Man City.

Re:Still Evil (2)

hsmith (818216) | about 2 years ago | (#40674611)

Strange, because in the 1900's governments killed 100's of millions of their own citizens, through intentional famine, war, and genocide.

Not sure the last time GM killed 40,000,000 people like Mao in the Great Leap Forward.

But yeah, fuck evil corporations!

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40672987)

First!

Important reminder (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673013)

This is NOT covered by your car insurance, so when an accident happens, you will be sued and end up broke. For example, the person driving your car runs over a rich old woman crossing the street? That's gonna cost YOU!

Re:Important reminder (5, Informative)

vortechs (604271) | about 2 years ago | (#40673027)

Erm...no, it's covered by RelayRide's car insurance.

Re:Important reminder (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673033)

RelayRides will take a 40% cut and provide a $1-million insurance policy for the owner and $300,000 for the renter.

Re:Important reminder (1, Informative)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 years ago | (#40673045)

Really? Because on their web page, they say the provide a $1 million liability insurance.

Re:Important reminder (3, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 2 years ago | (#40673073)

You don't sue cars, you sue people. That old woman crossing the street can sue the driver of the car, not you. It is him who has been negligent by running her over, not you. Otherwise it'd be sort of like lending your brother your gun and then being liable for any damage he did with it.

And you can also sue the driver of the car for negligence in damaging your car.

How much you'll get out of him is another question, of course. You might like to check that he is insured before you rent your car to him.

Re:Important reminder (1)

squizzar (1031726) | about 2 years ago | (#40673425)

You're right, driving is the driver's responsibility and that's who should be insured. One question though: If the car is not maintained in a roadworthy way, or has a dangerous fault known to the owner but not something the person renting the car would be able to detect then I would have thought the owner would be liable. I don't mean things that a reasonable inspection of the car would uncover (Like the BOLTSS bikers get told to do: Brakes, Oil, Lights, Tyres, Steering, Suspension), but things that are known to the owner and potentially dangerous to a renter. I presume most rental agencies keep up with maintenance partly for this reason, to not do so would surely be seen as negligent. So if you're renting out your own car it doesn't seem unreasonable that you would be held responsible for ensuring it was safe to drive.

Re:Important reminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673457)

RelayRide say:

One of the ways we protect you is by providing a $1 million insurance policy that protects you against lawsuits for injuries and property damage while your car is being rented through the RelayRides service.

The cost of, for example, lifetime care for a paraplegic is greatly in excess of $1 million. If RelayRide thinks you might be liable to such lawsuits and aren't offering enough to cover them, this doesn't look like a good deal.

Re:Important reminder (1)

flonker (526111) | about 2 years ago | (#40673493)

In Florida, the burden of proof is on you to prove that you were not driving your car if you get a red light ticket.

The owner of the motor vehicle involved in the violation is responsible and liable for paying the uniform traffic citation [...] when the driver failed to stop at a traffic signal, unless the owner can establish that [...] The motor vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody, or control of another person;
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.0083.html [state.fl.us]

(It's been challenged under the due process clause of the Constitution; I'm not sure of the details. )

Also, parking laws in New York are similar.

Re:Important reminder (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40673513)

...unless the owner can establish that [...] The motor vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody, or control of another person...

Like having rental details available from RelayRide that says the renter was operating the car?

Re:Important reminder (1)

flonker (526111) | about 2 years ago | (#40674125)

Like having rental details available from RelayRide that says the renter was operating the car?

I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. My point was that you can and would get a ticket in the mail, and you would have to prove that someone else was driving. The need to prove that would be a punishment in and of itself. Also, you would be rolling the dice to see if they believe you.

And my other point is that in New York, parking tickets are given to the car, not to the driver. So, the owner would be responsible.

While I'm sure that rental companies have all sorts of loopholes and outs, doing this as a private person could get expensive in terms of time and/or money.

Re:Important reminder (3, Interesting)

karnal (22275) | about 2 years ago | (#40673597)

I was in a collision scenario around 10 years ago where the driver was definitely not the owner. Someone hit me at a red light; all 3 passengers got out of the car QUICK and bolted from the scene. The passengers all got rounded up in front of the local police department (why, oh why would you run towards the police lol) but they could not easily determine the driver of the vehicle. Neither could I, as I only had an instant to relax before the hit - I saw them coming in the rear view and my immediate concern was for the service manager who was in the passenger seat on a test drive to help solve an intermittent misfire. The car that hit me turned out to be an over due rental - and none of the occupants were the renter of the car; it was one of the passenger's sister who rented the car. Eventually the insurance company covering the rental (turned out to be a dealership across from the location I was getting my car looked at) paid for the damages to the car.

In any case, I would be very leery to rent out my car unless I had additional insurance protection to cover this scenario - and I would have to think that between the extra hike in insurance costs plus GM's cut of this process, it would probably not turn out to be a whole lot of money unless I was renting a few cars at a time.

Re:Important reminder (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about 2 years ago | (#40673901)

Why didn't the police just fingerprint the steering wheel? Running from an accident is a crime.

Re:Important reminder (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 2 years ago | (#40674409)

That would involve "Actual Police Work (tm)". Can't have that. Why didn't the police fingerprint the stuff that I know the intruder touched when I had a break-in some years ago? Too much trouble.

Re:Important reminder (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about 2 years ago | (#40673885)

Owners of vehicles are, in most jurisdictions, jointly and severally liable for the injuries caused by the negligent operation of their vehicles.

It might be that GM assumes liability for you, but since they provide $1 million of coverage, that implies to me that dollar $1,000,001 comes out of your pocket, not theirs.

Re:Important reminder (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#40673947)

Actually you sue the driver first - then when they are dry you go after the registered owner of the vehicle. I know it sounds stupid but as long as the tags are in your name you are responsible for it.

Re:Important reminder (2)

cdecoro (882384) | about 2 years ago | (#40674517)

You don't sue cars, you sue people. That old woman crossing the street can sue the driver of the car, not you. It is him who has been negligent by running her over, not you. Otherwise it'd be sort of like lending your brother your gun and then being liable for any damage he did with it.

And you can also sue the driver of the car for negligence in damaging your car.

It is true that you sue the driver of the car; however, in some states (e.g. New York) the owner of the car is "vicariously liable" for the negligence of any driver of that car who was driving with the owner's permission. This means that, so long as they can show that the driver was negligent, they do not need to show anything about the owner.

This is the same manner in which, for example, if you're run over by a negligent, red-light-running Pizza Hut delivery guy, Pizza Hut is automatically liable,
no matter how careful they were in screening or training the guy (and if they were negligent there, that is ANOTHER basis for their liability, known as "negligent entrustment").

Now, the driver is liable to the owner for any judgment that the owner had to pay out ("indemnification"). And yes, the driver is separately liable to you for his own negligence in damaging your property. But as you pointed out, good luck getting anything from him.

The one saving grace is that, in many states, a valid insurance agreement, to indemnify the owner, allows (or even requires) the insurance company to immediately step in to deal with defending the lawsuit. So at least the owner won't personally have to find a lawyer and go to court. But good luck trying to find affordable insurance premiums after that.

Re:Important reminder (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 2 years ago | (#40673639)

While RelayRides is providing its own supplemental policy, I wouldn't be surprised if the primary car insurance provider decides to drop customers. Personal Auto Policies are strict in what use they are intended to insure. If they find out that you are renting out your car, they can cancel your policy, even if you have RelayRide's insurance. Some insurers don't want ANY possible exposure to liability for people using their cars in this matter.

Sweet (5, Insightful)

TorrentFox (1046862) | about 2 years ago | (#40673043)

Great news for people who want the shit beat out of their cars by random strangers.

Re:Sweet (5, Insightful)

metalgamer84 (1916754) | about 2 years ago | (#40673219)

My first thought as well.

Piece of advice to people that cant afford their car so they need to rent it out: Find a cheaper car you can afford or switch to a different mode of transportation. If you are even considering renting your car out for extra cash, your car costs too much.

Re:Sweet (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#40673589)

It's no that they can't afford their cars. Monthly parking can easily run more then a monthly car payment for a luxury vehicle. Even if you got a $500 beater, you'd still be paying $400-800 a month to park it.

Re:Sweet (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40673747)

Then move to the suburbs where parking is free (in your own driveway, or in apartment parking lots).

Re:Sweet (1, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#40673899)

Free!*

*$1200 monthly mortgage or rental agreement required

Re:Sweet (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#40674003)

Free!*
*$1200 monthly mortgage or rental agreement required


And rent in the city is free? You have to live somewhere.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674221)

Boxes are available. They're even multi-story [coolest-gadgets.com] now.

Re:Sweet (1, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40673771)

Then take public transit. Name one city where renting a space for a car costs more than $300/month and they don't have excellent public transit options.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674457)

Sure. Living within your means and saving up for the future all sound good. Consumers spend and the only way to accumulate wealth is through saving. Entrepreneurs also save but savings is to invest not to just accumulate money. That's the biggest difference in their attitude toward money.

Re:Sweet (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#40673263)

Great news for people who want the shit beat out of their cars by random strangers.

Modern cars are so depressingly hard to abuse that this is almost a non-issue. The old gags, like neutral dropping the transmission to do a burnout in an automatic, are a thing of the past thanks to hyper-aware engine computers that know when not to let the operator do things that might hurt the engine. We are almost at a point where a service like OnStar could even put the car into "no speeding mode" and prevent the operator from violating the speed limit at any given moment. About the only thing that can really "hurt" the car is what will leave a scar, i.e. hopping a curb and bending a rim, or just outright crashing the thing. These incidents would be easy to spot, report, and claim insurance for.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673393)

How about puking all over the front seat? Claim insurance and clean all you want, that smell will remain.

Re:Sweet (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40673575)

that's why i have leather seats in my CR-V. both my kids puked in there and i didn't get to wash the car for weeks until after the fact and the smell came out

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674019)

So it didn't get between or under the seats or console, then? Lucky. Unless you have leather floors too.

Re:Sweet (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40673797)

The car I rented was pretty beat-up. Only 5000 miles with a scratch on the passenger door, and scratches around the driver door handle. People just don't give a shit about taking care of other people's property. (Which is probably why everyone's so deep debt... constantly replacing the stuff they didn't take care of.)

My first car lasted 360,000 miles and my second car looks like it will live to see 250,000 (it's japanese Mitsubishi so they don't have as much longevity). No scratches at all. Loan out my car to another person? Ha! Fat chance.

Re:Sweet (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40674069)

Modern cars are so depressingly hard to abuse that this is almost a non-issue.

I take it you're not around teenagers on a regular basis. No?

Re:Sweet (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#40674377)

Not on purpose.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674085)

Great news for people who want the shit beat out of their cars by random strangers.

Modern cars are so depressingly hard to abuse that this is almost a non-issue. The old gags, like neutral dropping the transmission to do a burnout in an automatic, are a thing of the past thanks to hyper-aware engine computers that know when not to let the operator do things that might hurt the engine. We are almost at a point where a service like OnStar could even put the car into "no speeding mode" and prevent the operator from violating the speed limit at any given moment. About the only thing that can really "hurt" the car is what will leave a scar, i.e. hopping a curb and bending a rim, or just outright crashing the thing. These incidents would be easy to spot, report, and claim insurance for.

Your insurance probably doesn't cover you if your car is being used as a rental.

Re:Sweet (5, Informative)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#40673269)

Seriously. I just had a rental with 5,000 miles on it. The thing looked, felt, drove, and smelled like it'd been used to drive angry pigs to and from a slaughterhouse by a lead-footed 9-day-old corpse with IBS. If there's one thing people don't give a fuck about, it's taking care of a rental.

Re:Sweet (1)

karnal (22275) | about 2 years ago | (#40673611)

Someone I once knew always said "Nothing parties like a rental!"

Re:Sweet - Disagree (4, Informative)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | about 2 years ago | (#40673819)

I have purchased 2 cars through Hertz's Rent 2 Buy program. The first purchase was a very specific minivan that had a tow package installed (suspension but not a hitch). I bought it with about 40k miles on it. It was at least $2000 below KBB, and I've had it for 2 years now. It has given me NO trouble whatsoever. I just purchased a small SUV from their program and it was basically cherry. Again, $2000 below KBB and it too has been wonderful so far.

I've had a lot of people raise their eyebrow at this. They typically recount a story where they treated their rental like crap. But they've rented many cars. Most are rented at the airport by business people who drive to a hotel and an office, and back to the airport to go home. Most rentals are like that minus the horror stories you hear.

The nice thing about the Hertz program is that you rent the vehicle after finding it online near you. You can rent it for 3 days at $50/day. You get to drive it and see if the tire pressure sucks, or the car shimmies, or the tranny doesn't shift right. You bring it to a garage and have them inspect the car for damage and general road worthiness. If you decide to buy, you go to their website, click "Buy" and keep the car. They send you an fedex with all the paperwork, and even do financing through Chase or BoA. After you send them the downpayment, they send you the completed registration and plates for your state. You can even transfer your old plates if you sell your old car separately. I dumped a 100k+ mileage Honda Accord hybrid on CarMax. They paid me 4k for it, and the AC didn't work and there was significant body damage. We now have a 2011 late model SUV with 37k miles, the AC works, and the car has been like a dream in comparison. Gets the same mileage, and is from a reputable Japanese manufacturer.

For all those who are going to reply that the car will be trouble down the road, I'd ask you to tell me how you treated your last lease vehicle. That is what you're going to get on a used car lot. One driver who didn't change the oil, and didn't give a crap about the car because it was just a lease and they will trade up in 3 years anyway. Is there really any appreciable difference? Yes. The rental company had an incentive to make sure the car was in its rental fleet, and so they did the maintenance regularly. It all depends on your POV... if you want to roll the dice that you got a good lease car over a bad one, okay. Or, you can buy the rental for thousands less, with the chance that a small number of drivers abused the car, while most treated it with care lest they end up having to pay the rental company for damage. I'll take the latter.

Re:Sweet - Disagree (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#40674129)

Sure, it's great when you can inspect it before plunking down money. I'm sure there's plenty of fine former fleet cars. But how would you feel about loaning the car out after you've already bought it?

Re:Sweet (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about 2 years ago | (#40674519)

How do you know it wasn't the pigs that had IBS? The corpse was probably the one with the bad cologne that lingered on the headrest for weeks...

Agreed. (1)

bdwoolman (561635) | about 2 years ago | (#40673453)

Who among us treats a rental with the same tender care we treat our own cars?

  1. -- Speed bumps get more bump (just a touch).
  2. -- A little more torque off the line.

I always check the tire inflation of a rental. I have gotten cars with 60 lbs of pressure. Does this make drifting easier?

Re:Agreed. (1)

Higgs Bosun (2676655) | about 2 years ago | (#40674079)

Who among us treats a rental with the same tender care we treat our own cars?

Well since you were asking, me. I don't know why I'm like this, but I don't feel that just because something isn't mine I can basically vandalise it.

I think I returned the last hire car I had cleaner than how I received it, heh. Mostly because I wanted to avoid the bogus sounding "£50 valeting charge if returned dirty" penalty.

Re:Agreed. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40674127)

Who among us treats a rental with the same tender care we treat our own cars?

  1. -- Speed bumps get more bump (just a touch).
  2. -- A little more torque off the line.

I always check the tire inflation of a rental. I have gotten cars with 60 lbs of pressure. Does this make drifting easier?

Mr. Thompson? Hunter S. Thompson [wikipedia.org] ?

You're still with us? Thank God! We thought you were dead!

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673965)

Great news for people who want the shit beat out of their cars by random strangers.

Do you know what the fastest car in the world is?

A rental car

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674709)

All the rental car's I've had in the past 8 years have governors that top out at about 105mph - this includes Mustangs (even the special Hertz black/gold edition) and Challengers. So if the fastest car in the world can only do 105, then you are correct.

Re:Sweet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674503)

I rented a car to Timothy and it came back smelling like farts. Took a whole week of airing it out before I could drive it again.

Lets call this step 1 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673111)

Next step, car companies "selling" you a car for cheap, where you're required to rent it out every so often on-demand and the car company/dealership keeps the profit from the rental. That way, you get a shit, beat-up, smoked-in, sexed-in, whatever-renters-do-in'd car for a cheaper price.

Open questions... (3, Interesting)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#40673153)

There are a few questions that would need to be cleared before I would even consider such an idea. Burden of proof on damages, specialized insurance (I'm pretty sure your normal car insurance won't cover it), wear, cleaning, smokers, tickets...
The point is rental companies see their cars as an investment that is supposed to bring in some profit before being phased out. Private owners consider their own cars as "my precious" and renters as "who cares, it's not my car" and hope the rental company doesn't note the new scratches.

Re:Open questions... (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 2 years ago | (#40673193)

From the Relay rides [relayrides.com] website:

Insurance is included with every rental

Re:Open questions... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 years ago | (#40674433)

From the Relay rides [relayrides.com] website:

Insurance is included with every rental

Who does it insure? Liability insurance for the carrier/vehicle owner, or actual coverage of damage to the vehicle itself?

Re:Open questions... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673217)

And then there's the question. "Where'd that asshole renter leave my car?"

Re:Open questions... (1)

jcaplan (56979) | about 2 years ago | (#40673973)

Right where the GPS says he left it. Yep, RelayRides rentals are GPS equipped. This way renters and owners can find the car easily. I used it recently when my car was in the shop. Relay Rides gave me a link to the GPS coodinates of the car. Click to Google Maps and there's the car. I returned close to its home and I was all done.

Re:Open questions... (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#40674325)

Sure, but who's to say they don't drive it from Chicago to Vegas and leave it there. Who pays for your airline ticket to pick up your car?

If you think rent a car places are bad about dents (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40673159)

If you think rent a car places are bad about dents just wait for this.

Better take a video of the car before pick up so you don't pay for old dents.

wear and ill treatment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673183)

So when my car is rented by someone who slips the clutch like a driver's ed student and puts five years worth of wear on the clutch plates in two days, I'm supposed to be happy about this because hey, Onstar?

No thanks.

Re:wear and ill treatment (5, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#40673301)

So when my car is rented by someone who slips the clutch like a driver's ed student and puts five years worth of wear on the clutch plates in two days, I'm supposed to be happy about this because hey, Onstar?

No thanks.

You don't have an automatic, unlike 94% of cars sold? That's easy, this program is not for you. I bet they wont even enroll a standard transmission car, it's not worth the hassle of requiring another check box on the web form.

Re:wear and ill treatment (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40673483)

You don't have an automatic, unlike 94% of cars sold? That's easy, this program is not for you.

Agreed, the grandparent used a bad example, but there are lots of ways that careless/malicious renters could abuse a car with an automatic. They can still drag race, do donuts in a parking lot, and so on.

Will people using this Onstar rental service be allowed to restrict rentals to experienced drivers with good records? Can you specify no one with less than 4 years of driving experience or with more than 1 at-fault accident in the last two years?

Re:wear and ill treatment (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#40674397)

Sure you can. That's considered a good record.

Re:wear and ill treatment (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#40674617)

You don't have an automatic, unlike 94% of cars sold? That's easy, this program is not for you.

Agreed, the grandparent used a bad example, but there are lots of ways that careless/malicious renters could abuse a car with an automatic. They can still drag race, do donuts in a parking lot, and so on.

Try "Drag racing" or "doing donuts" with a new car that has all of the "safety features" enabled and see how that goes. The car wont let you break the tires loose at all, plus it will force a shift well below redline, and (in my imagined future) it won't let you speed either (in the present, the car can still tell on you for speeding). So, those two pastimes basically never leave the operational envelope of the car (and are totally boring). The most you could do is attempt high-speed maneuvers like drifting in turns, but that really only compromises the tires and unless you are really good at tricking the stability control system, it won't even do that very much.

Re:wear and ill treatment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674627)

You don't have an automatic, unlike 94% of cars sold?

What are you talking about? In much of the world, automatics are considered to be vehicles for people who have physical handicaps, and an automatic transmission will significantly harm the resale value of an automobile. Even most rental cars use manual transmissions. It's quite common for 75% of all cars sold in many countries to be manuals.

American dumbed-down culture has not yet taken over the entire world. 80% of cars sold in Europe are manuals, and in some places it's even more.

http://express-press-release.net/29/Nearly%2080%20percent%20of%20passenger%20cars%20are%20sold%20with%20manual%20transmission%20in%20Europe.php

Re:wear and ill treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673657)

standard transmission

If 94% sold are automatic, and most cars to not offer a manual option, shouldn't the automatic be considered the "standard"?

Re:wear and ill treatment (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#40673829)

I can see using RelayRides for a ratty subcompact car whose only purpose is to be a backup vehicle, or for something to drive downtown that it doesn't matter if it gets hit by car doors, vandalized, broken into, or set on fire. At least the vehicle can perhaps pay for itself.

It would not have much value when selling though. I'm sure Carfax or other places will note the vehicle has been used as a rental, and this will disastrously impact the thing's resale value.

Re:wear and ill treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673905)

You don't have an automatic, unlike 94% of cars sold?

In many countries the vast majority of cars sold are manual transmissions.

Re:wear and ill treatment (1)

jcaplan (56979) | about 2 years ago | (#40674185)

RelayRides does offer manual transmission cars, too. They're not too common, but clearly indicated.

Why just cars? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673275)

My closet is full of clothing just hanging there unworn.

And my sock drawer is a virtual gold mine!

Re:Why just cars? (3, Funny)

Higgs Bosun (2676655) | about 2 years ago | (#40673477)

And my sock drawer is a virtual gold mine!

I'm just glad it's not your underwear drawer.

Re:Why just cars? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#40673951)

Just brown rocks there...

You wouldn't make much money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673319)

The owner supplies the gas and sets the price, which is expected to average about $10 an hour

I wouldn't rent my car out if I had to pay for the gas. If your car gets 35 mpg and they drive it responsibly on the highway, you would only make $2 an hour. But realistically, they won't drive responsibly, they're going to drive it like it's rented, probably even worse because of the free gas.
The best case scenario still works out to " can I thrash your car for an hour? I'll give you $2."

Car Sharing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673491)

This isn't really car rental -- it's car sharing. This is very different from rental cars. With car sharing, there is more onus on the "renter" to treat the car well since the chances are -- they want to rent the car again and again. If they treat cars poorly, they'll be kicked out of the car share service.

Re:Car Sharing (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40673909)

Good point but that doesn't mean much. Look at the bathroom or break-room at work. We all share that space but there's always 1 or 2 people who just don't give a shit.

They dump feces or urine on the seat for you to sit on. They dump coffee on the counter or take the last cup, and don't brew a fresh batch. They steal other people's drinks or meals. They spill in the microwave or fridge and don't clean it up. The same thing would happen with the shared car as happens with shared bathrooms & breakrooms.

Re:Car Sharing (1)

jcaplan (56979) | about 2 years ago | (#40674375)

Yeah, but at work you don't know who the scoundrel is. With RelayRides, there is accountability for obvious abuse, since owners can leave reviews of renters. Owners can simply refuse to rent to bad renters. Renters driving records are also checked, prior to being accepted.

Terrible idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40673505)

As someone who has started a new job and travels regularly, I am shocked to see how my colleagues treat rental cars. Hard breaking, rapid acceleration, reckless turns, etc... and then the interior... and it's not just my company. I've been in other rental cars (driven by other third parties at the client) and it's all the same. Sometimes they smell, sometimes people scratch them... why would you do that for $10/hr?

Even if they insure it, if they get in a wreck they'll probably repair it with non-original parts, and it'll never be the same. Yeah it was fixed, but when your buyer pulls the Carfax report, he's going to see the accident.

People do not treat rental cars well. $10/hr and you have to pay for gas, plus the income is taxable? I'd never do it, and my car is far older than the ones people are renting out.

As a newly semi-urban dweller, cool (2)

Yogs (592322) | about 2 years ago | (#40673511)

We have two cars, parking for one, and variable (relatively low) needs.

I actually looked into this, but our cars are too high mileage (they limit to 120K and we racked up miles quickly prior to our move) to rent out through their service.

But when one dies, this will probably be better vetted in practice and if it's still going this provides two more options for me depending on frequency of need.

1: More convenient and cheaper rental
2: A way to partially offset the cost of the newer car.

Either way, I like.

Problems for both sides (5, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40673569)

If I'm renting my car out under this arrangement, how can I be sure that the renters aren't abusing it in subtle or hard-to-detect ways? Burning up the brakes, doing donuts in parking lots, weird stuff with the transmission... there are lots of ways to damage a car that won't be immediately apparent. By the time it's noticed, it may be too late. And even in the case of overt damage, expect a major fight with the insurance company over just who caused it and whether your insurance or Relay Rental should pay. Dealing with insurance companies is always a nightmare, every time.

For rental recipients, this poses its own set of problems: how do you avoid being blamed for damage you didn't cause? How can you be sure that the car isn't missing basic functionality – you wouldn't be happy to get a rental in the middle of July with broken A/C.

I can tell my Ford how to restrict itself (2)

Shivetya (243324) | about 2 years ago | (#40674371)

while the kids drive. I can set the maximum speeds and even the volume of the radio with Ford's mykey. I would hope OnStar is as advanced if not more.

After all, if the car leaves the proscribed area it should turn itself off.

Re:Problems for both sides (1)

jcaplan (56979) | about 2 years ago | (#40674535)

If you get a car that isn't what you expected, you can leave a bad review. Also, you can decide not to rent that car again. Owners have a strong incentive to take care of their vehicles to get new renters and to keep old renters coming back.

Insurance is covered by RelayRides and usually explicitly not covered by owners policies when renting out a car.

For non-obvious damage your choice on whether to rent your car depends on your appetite for risk. Compensation for that risk part of what you're getting from your rental fee. This might not be enough for you, especially if you have an expensive car or an emotional attachment to your vehicle.

Re:Problems for both sides (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#40674587)

When I see ads for this kind of rental, it is like saying you are going to get free money. In reality, a car is somewhat delicate machine and even when used with care requires usage incurs non trivial costs. So renting your car is not like renting your house. Yes, there is risk to renting a house, but the car is certainly guaranteed to come back more used. The rental structure appears to externalize most costs to the car owner.

The second thing I see in the ad is that insurance is provided by the firm brokering the rental. It implies there is no risk to the owner, which I think is hogwash. If I loan my car to someone than that person and anyone they harm can go after my insurance. With the involvement of cash the situation becomes even more complex.

Now, I can imagine using this to fund the acquisition of an extra car. If it is mostly available to rent, and well insured, then maybe the payments can be made by the rental fees. To fund a $500 monthly payment and insurance though one would to rent enough to get about $700, which would mean that car would have to rented about half the days in a month.

relayrides insurance (4, Informative)

bloosqr (33593) | about 2 years ago | (#40673915)

Its worth remembering what happened to a poor boston student who rented her car for a carshare out using relay rides (and their liability insurance (same 1 million dollar liability insurance GM is using):

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/14/your-money/relayrides-accident-raises-questions-on-liabilities-of-car-sharing.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

Re:relayrides insurance (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#40674573)

I don't understand this. If I go to Hertz, rent a car, and plow through a playground, I'm liable. Hertz tell you so, repeatedly, when you get the car and they try to sell you insurance. Why should it be any different for an individual? I can see if there's a maintenance or other issue with the car. But if the driver it is on them and their insurance (either through the rental company or their own private insurance) to cover the damages.

My 0.02 (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#40673993)

I'm somewhat dubious about this. Given the propensity of people to mistreat stuff they don't own, I don't know that I would be willing to rent my car out. I depend upon the reliability of my car. I've heard tell of people beating up rentals. Plus, imagine the insurance you would have to carry and I'm sure it would not be inexpensive. In fact, you would have to incorporate yourself just to shield anything personally-owned from potential loss due to a lawsuit. If your customer got injured because the brakes fail (it can happen even in a car properly maintained) and a child got injured as well as a third party, you could be positively cleaned out and living on the streets.

On-Star (1)

DanZee (2422648) | about 2 years ago | (#40674023)

One thing people haven't thought about is that On-Star is able to monitor the car's operation. It could be easy to spot renters who are driving 100 miles an hour or are doing donuts in parking lots and fine them for abuse. But I see all sorts of other problems. For example, when I rent from a major company, I know the car will be cleaned and vacuumed and that the company has some kind of maintenance program. You could wind up renting a car filled with baby seats and McDonalds wrappers. And what about minor dings, scratches and so forth. You would have to take pictures of your car daily to prove who messed up your car.

Re:On-Star (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40674657)

How about the banker who hires a patsy and a car to deliver a bribe to a government official. Your car is now impounded as evidence.

There's also the question of who's going to rent.. (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | about 2 years ago | (#40674147)

It seems many of the car-owners have an inflated opinion of their cars' worth. Looking at the prices people in my area want to charge, they tend to be at least double what ZipCar would charge me (and ZipCar includes gas!). That kind of kills their business model in major cities.

About time (1, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#40674225)

One holiday season when I was returning to my original home for a little over a week I considered renting a car to make it easier to get around. Car rental companies utterly rape customers on costs over the holiday (the same imaginary supply and demand bit that causes gas prices to go up and down at convenient times) to the point where I would have paid 10x as much for a really lousy rental car than I did for round trip airfare.

I thought perhaps I could get around the stupidity by trying to rent a car through craigslist. I posted an ad "I want to rent your car" and after getting a reply from one idiot who thought himself funny, the ad was removed within 24 hours.

But there is definitely a market for this. People do have cars that they don't always need, and people have a demand for cars that they need for just a short bit of time. Not everyone has the disposable income to pay a rental car company for a car, either. Even the cheapest Hyundai shitbox gets expensive quickly. A one-week rental of a Hyundai is equal to about 10% of the car's MSRP on the lot.
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