Turo Inc. finds itself as the defendant in a proposed class action that alleges the peer-to-peer car rental company has imposed on customers undisclosed $75 “appraisal” or “processing” fees for vehicles whose owners claim were returned damaged. The case alleges the $75 fees charged by Turo are “unrelated to any costs incurred or services performed” by the company, and constitute a practice that’s “both deceptive and unfair” to consumers.
According to the 13-page suit out of Illinois, Turo touts itself as “a car sharing marketplace” through which customers can “book any car they want, wherever they want it” from a community of “local hosts” in a number of countries. The cars’ owners use Turo to earn extra money to help offset the costs of owning the vehicle, the case says, adding that the defendant offers more than 350,000 vehicles spanning 850 unique makes and models.
The plaintiff, a 76-year-old Clarendon Hills resident, claims that after renting a car through Turo, he flew to Los Angeles, where he picked up the vehicle in early November 2019. The man says he returned the car to the same location from which he picked it up after driving less than 100 miles over the span of a few days. According to the case, the plaintiff returned the vehicle, a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, “in the same condition as it was in when he received it,” with the car’s owner performing an interior and exterior visual check and noting no damage.
Several days after returning home, the plaintiff, the lawsuit says, received an email from Turo that stated the Hyundai’s owner reported damage to the car’s front bumper. According to the case, Turo, citing “a superficial scuff mark on the lower bumper,” claimed the plaintiff owed $576.86 in damages in addition to appraisal and processing fees amount to $75 each.
The man’s account was then debited a total of $726.86 by the defendant, per the complaint. The man alleges the aforementioned appraisal and processing fees were not disclosed to him until days after he returned the vehicle, and that he was unable to dispute the “bogus damage claims and associated fees.”
According to the complaint, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act prohibits the use of any deception, fraudulence, false pretense, concealment or misrepresentation in the course of trade or commerce. The suit charges that Turo has misled proposed class members into renting vehicles and thereby incurring bogus fees on the erroneous belief that they’d only be charged for authorized items.
“Instead, Plaintiff and the Class incurred fees they did anticipate or agree to paying,” the case reads.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone nationwide who received notice from Turo Inc. of “appraisal” and/or “processing” fees more than 24 hours after returning their rental vehicle.