If news about Hertz wrongly having customers arrested has put you off renting a car from the traditional sources, you might have considered Turo as a back-up option. The problem is, your Turo host might be tracking you — and they might even be bitching about your driving on social media.
Turo is a peer-to-peer car-sharing service that aims to do what Airbnb has done for home rentals; users reserve a car from an Average Joe, with all interactions done via Turo’s interface. And just like Airbnb, Turo hosts can get a little anal about the way you treat their vehicles.
Take Kyle and John, Turo hosts who run @drivetheemeraldcoast on TikTok, for example. These hosts not only use a tracking device called Bouncie to keep tabs on their vehicles, but they also then take to TikTok to critique the driving skills of their renters.
See, Kyle and John have a Porsche Boxster that they rent out on Turo — but they spend a lot of time watching the way renters use their vehicle, critiquing them for rapid acceleration and hard braking. While the two regularly note that they “expected” this to happen, they still express surprise as people driving a sports car with a heavy foot.
That’s because Bouncie, which can be plugged into your vehicle’s OBDII port, tracks your location, speed, acceleration, and braking, sending it all to an app on the host’s phone.
It does make sense why hosts are inclined to track these things. As The Drive reports, one Turo host was able to recover a Tesla Model 3 that a renter had disassembled to test fit aftermarket parts by tracking the car’s movements.
Turo explicitly allows for tracking devices in its vehicles, and in most cases, hosts don’t have to disclose that the vehicle you’re renting is equipped with those devices. Hosts who take to social media regularly inform other hosts not to disclose the presence of these devices.
On one hand, I totally understand the impetus to want to monitor your property to guarantee your car’s safety at the hands of a stranger. On the other, there’s something incredibly creepy about someone knowing your exact location at all times. I once stayed in a rental property and forgot to lock the door, and the host texted me to remind me to do so... because he had a camera in the house. I got the hell out of Dodge, and I know I’d want to do the same thing if a total stranger started to text me about my driving habits because they knew exactly where I was. I’d also be extremely weirded out to later discover that those strangers were making videos about me afterward.