When most people think of renting a car, they probably think of companies like Enterprise, Hertz, or one of the other big players in the car rental game. However, that thought process is changing these days, as car-sharing apps like Turo allow travelers to rent other people’s personal vehicles, which in itself is kind of a cool way to rent those electric, luxury cars. and sports that traditional rental companies do not. Stock. Of course, this carries a certain risk for the owner.
Recently, TikTok user and Tesla Model 3 owner Frank Valdez rented his car on Turo for the first time and things didn’t go as planned. After noticing the car was parked overnight at a body shop, he thought to check his Tesla and discovered that the renter had started dismantling his vehicle to – wait for it – test the spare parts.
Whoever rented the Model 3 from Valdez did so assuming it was for a short trip. However, Valdez noticed the car was immediately taken to what Valdez identified as a mechanic. He assumed the individual may have been working there, but when he checked the car again after midnight, he noticed that the car had not yet moved. The next morning Valdez went to check the car out in person when he couldn’t locate it remotely (probably it was inside one of the garage bays) and that’s when there he discovered that the front bumper had been removed.
Valdez confronted the renter and assumed he was trying to steal parts from the car, but it seems that might not have been the case. The renter told Valdez he was “testing out some parts,” including a front bumper, in the video posted on TikTok.
Clues in the video reveal where the individual was storing the car in La Puente, California. The location is home to a supplier and manufacturer of aftermarket body accessories called ABS Dynamics (also known as Hang Chiang Car Refurbishment Company), and what Valdez thought was a mechanic or body shop was actually a warehouse. The company offers “Sponsor Test Fit” discounts for people who want to lend their vehicles for product development, but they’ve also used Turo as a way to test an aftermarket bumper – which can be seen in the video – on the Tesla of Valdez.
In his conversation with the renter, Valdez told him that dismantling his vehicle was against Turo’s terms of service. Turo agreed, noting in a statement to The reader that the company prohibits modifying a vehicle in any way. Turo’s commercial use policy also prohibits the use of a vehicle for commercial purposes, which may include a trial fitment of a bumper for resale.
“Turo is aware of video that appears to show a host’s vehicle being used inappropriately while traveling,” a Turo spokesperson said in an email to The reader. “Our team is in contact with the host and has taken action to remove the guest from Turo for violating our Terms of Service, which explicitly prohibit guests from making unapproved modifications to any vehicle.”
Meanwhile, ABS Dynamics has confirmed The reader that they rented the car with the intention of testing one of their products and that they apologized to the owner. They also noted that they hadn’t stolen anything from the Tesla, as the videos could infer.
This may sound like a familiar circumstance, as something similar has happened in the past. In 2017, Daimler got some bad press after engineers allegedly rented a Tesla Model X from a German rental agency, Sixt, to strip it down and compare it for several weeks.
Valdez says that despite his friends making a lot of money on Turo renting their cars, he wouldn’t rent his Model 3 again. rentals and reconsider.
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