When Chris Williamson was searching for a new car for his family and well timed ad was able to convince him to do something different. Chris chose to buy a new BMW and is able to afford the extra payments by using Turo, an app that allows consumers to rent his car when he isn't using it.
It allows his family of seven to have a nicer car, essentially for free.
“It’s great to have that little bit of extra income and not have to worry about the car payments,” said Williamson, a teacher from the Phoenix area.
But his customers and others using car-sharing apps around the United States get their rentals tax-free. That’s made them a target for rental car companies, airport authorities and local governments. They say users of the upstart apps should pay the same taxes and fees that come with traditional rental cars.
“These companies are very sophisticated, technology-savvy companies that have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in each of them,” said Ray Wagner, Senior Vice President for Government Relations at Enterprise Holdings, parent of the nation’s largest car-rental firm. “They should be expected to comply with the same rules as a small, mom and pop rental car company located in rural Arizona.”
Turo says Enterprise is trying to stifle competition.
Car-sharing companies including Turo and GetAround function like Airbnb for vehicles, allowing people to rent out their cars when they’re not using them. Founded about a decade ago, they’ve taken off recently with the help of millions of dollars from venture capital firms and other investors.
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