There are people that smoke. There are people that rent cars. There are people who love to smoke in rental cars. There are people who rent cars just to smoke in them. In my short rental car experience, I’ve already had a few smokers. Smokers don’t always get caught so they keep doing it until they’re caught and forced to pay fines.
Both Turo and Getaround do not allow smoking in their vehicles. Only a few people smoke these days and it typically bothers every nonsmoker. Since weed has been decriminalized and legal in many states, more people smoke weed instead of cigarettes. Some might think that they can’t smoke cigarettes in a car, but they can smoke weed. When most people see the no smoking sign, they assume it means tobacco smoke and not weed smoke, but it applies for both. I have a few renters who thought that weed smoke was permitted and they were charged heavy fines for smoking.
I had a rental through Getaround for just a few hours. She seemed to be running errands earlier in the day but then she kept extending it. She extended it by an hour or two every time from 9pm to 3am. I knew something was weird about this rental. When I opened the door the next morning, there was the smell of weed with some wrappers and weed buds on the carpet, and ash in the passenger door handle. I provided the information to Getaround and was reimbursed $300 for cleaning the car while she was charged $500 (owners only get 60% of all fees).
In order to be reimbursed by Turo or Getaround for a renter who smokes, there needs to be sufficient proof to prove the renter smoke in order to get the maximum reimbursement. Both companies reimburse for cleaning so you will need to go to a car detailer and get it cleaned. Nothing is stopping you from getting the best possible detail so you can get anything up to the limit.
Below are the typical reimbursement limits:
Turo (Cleaning Fee Explained):
- $50 for smoke scent removal only.
- $150 for smoke scent removal and physical remnants of smoking (e.g. ash, cigarette butts). If there is damage to your car (e.g. a burn mark), you should submit a damage claim, not a cleaning reimbursement.
- In the event that a car is returned with multiple cleanliness issues (such as a combination of severe cleaning and smoking remnants), the maximum fee that will be assessed is $250.
- If the next driver of a car and/or the car owner reports evidence of smoking, such as strong odor, ashes, etc., a $500 smoking fine will be charged to the responsible renter at Getaround’s sole discretion. Owners get 60%, so up to $300 will be awarded to the car owner.
You can see above that there needs to be documentation in order to support the claim of smoking in the car. Since you can’t take a picture of a smell, there needs to be physical proof that someone smoked in the car. Some owners have claimed that every renter leaves something behind so you need to check every corner of the car for physical proof.
How To Deal With Smokers on Turo and Getaround
Documentation is key to getting the highest reimbursement possible. It starts off with Pre-trip photos. You will need to document the interior of your car very well to ensure reimbursement. You will need to take pictures of the dashboard, radio, any type of storage in the car, door handles, interior door panels, front and back seats, and the floors of the cars (multiple angles of the front floors). Don’t miss the spot between the seat and the door since many things fall into that gap. This is to show that your car is clean before the rental.
The next step is to find evidence of cigarettes or weed in your car. What you are looking for is ash, wrappers, paper, or remnants of weed/cigarettes. Check every crevice:
- Center Console (cup holders, storage area, etc)
- Front floor mats and carpet
- Under front seats
- All door panels (on the arm rest or hand holds or storage areas of the door)
- Rear car floor mats and carpet
- Steering Wheel
If you think its between the drivers seat and center console, unbolt the front seats and check for ash under the seats. This is typically overlooked by renters and may be your only proof that they smoked in the car.
File a Claim with Turo or Getaround
The next step is to file a claim with Turo or Getaround.
In order for us to process cleaning claims, Turo requires hosts to send us before and after photos within 24 hours of the trip ending, including photographs of the interior of the vehicle (middle console, interior front seats and floor, interior back seats and floor at minimum). The “before” photographs must have been taken before the host provided the car to their guest, and no more than 24 hours before the trip’s scheduled start. The “after” photographs must have been taken after getting the vehicle back from the guest, and no later than 24 hours after the scheduled end of the trip. We recommend using the trip check-in and checkout feature in the Turo app to help expedite the cleaning claim.
The best way to do this is to upload pictures during the return process and then file a claim directly with Turo. Do not file a damage claim but email Turo directly and start a new claim. I am unsure why they don’t have a specific workflow in the Turo App for this but they don’t.
After the reservation is over, there is a button below the rental called “Contact Getaround.” You can either call or email Getaround. Attach the before and after pictures along with a message to Getaround and they will process the claim. The maximum payout is $300 to be paid for cleaning services. If you clean it yourself, you won’t get reimbursed. You get a $15 inconvenience fee but that is about it.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how to clean weed and cigarette smoke from the car.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course! Driver Promotions