I love an app or a website that will find me the cheapest price possible for goods or services. That's not a crazy thing to say, but part of the reason why I am obsessed with them is the thrill of the hunt. Incidentally, this is also why I'm constantly going to antique shops, thrift stores, and Goodwill. There is no greater feeling than finding a diamond in the rough, or a deal in the wild. With that in mind, how am I just finding out about Turo?
Renting a car is such a pain in the tuchus, and most of that trouble stems from the exorbitant cost. Turo is basically like Airbnb for vehicles but without the inflated cleaning fees. It's also very reasonable. But with all things in life, a few bad apples can potentially ruin the bunch. When a Turo car owner rented her vehicle to a man whose profile checked out, she later realized they might have been doing so in order to steal car parts. Here's what went down.
It's possible this woman was almost the victim of a car parts scam.
Before I get into this story I want to take a moment to honor this woman's accent. Lainie, who goes by @beepbeeplainie on TikTok, is from Massachusetts and it shows. Every time she says parts, the caption reads pots. It's charming and endearing. I keep expecting Matt Damon or Ben Affleck to show up. Either of them would have been great backup for Lainie in this situation.
Lainie owns several vehicles and rents them out via Turo. This is one of two businesses she runs. On this day, a man by the name of Kevin rented a Dodge Durango. According to Lainie he had "multiple other trips on Turo, with good reviews." That's the ideal scenario.
Apparently Kevin had family coming into town and needed a bigger car. They established a remote drop-off location at 2 p.m. and because Lainie didn't organize a car to pick her up right away, she got her nails done at a place across the street. It stands to reason that Kevin would probably assume she was no longer in the vicinity.
While at the salon, Lainie's sister and brother-in-law left a car for her there. At about 3 p.m. she exited the salon and noticed that not only was the Dodge Durango still there, but someone was inside. She thought they might be setting things up in the car like connecting the blue tooth, adjusting the seat, and so on.
"I decided to pull up next to the car and introduce myself," said Lainie in the TikTok. "When I did that I realized the person inside the car was not the person who rented it." You know that scene in Ghost where Whoopi Goldberg looks Demi Moore dead in the face and says, "Molly, you in danger girl." This feels like that.
Lainie gives a little wave as the driver rolled down their window. "Are you Kevin," she asks, knowing full well this is not Kevin. Not Kevin immediately said he was Kevin. "I got a creepy vibe," Lainie told me. She further explained that Turo asks its users to upload a photo of their license, and then a photo of them holding their license next to their face. You can also add another driver, free of charge. Kevin did not do that.
Not Kevin claimed he was helping Kevin, but Lainie wasn't buying it. She's had a lot of problems in the past with her Dodge Durango because it has a Hemi engine which I learned is a coveted upgrade. People love to swap them out. "Then he started furiously texting," said Lainie. Soon a woman in a different Dodge Durango showed up, as did Kevin himself.
Apparently Not Kevin was helping Kevin get the car to his house. Something that also happens with Turo is, someone rents a car for another person who can't drive for one reason or another. Lainie thought that could also be happening, but ultimately felt the whole thing was shady. "Something was wrong," she said.
Not Kevin gets out of the car and looks over at the woman driving the other Dodge Durango. How are there two Dodge Durangos in one story? Kevin then asks Lainie if they can add Not Kevin as a driver but at this point Lainie is over the whole thing. She calls Turo but does so to explain the situation. Turo decides to cancel the trip.
Lainie is putting the pieces together.
As Lainie is on hold with Turo she realizes that nothing adds up. Kevin dropped off Not Kevin in order to pick up the car but that would mean Kevin was available to take the car. Why didn't he take it himself? Also, this other woman in the second Dodge Durango could have dropped Kevin off as well. Why are three people involved? It's too many cooks.
"Do I know that they were gonna swap parts? Of course not, but Kevin was there at some point so why didn't he just take the car?" Lainie said their one mistake was not driving away immediately. Then Lainie and I had a realization together. Kevin needs a bigger car for his visiting family yet already knows a woman with a Dodge Durango. Why not switch cars with her instead of renting one with Lainie? The plot thickens again.
After Kevin's reservation was canceled, Lainie checked his Turo profile to see what happened next. Evidently he was able to rent a Dodge Charger which is not a big car. That totally goes against Kevin's claim that he needed a larger vehicle. And by the way, the owner of the Dodge Charger gave Kevin a one star review.