Turo takes on Enterprise in Maryland
January 2018 Update - TURO FIGHTS FOR PEER-TO-PEER CAR SHARING IN MARYLAND
On November 30, Turo executives, Michelle Peacock, VP of Government Relations, and Alex Benn, President, went to the Maryland State Senate to take a stand for the peer-to-peer car sharing community and car owning citizens across the state. Multi-billion-dollar car rental company, Enterprise, and their trade association, American Car Rental Association, have been attacking P2P car sharing for years in different states and Maryland is the latest example of their efforts to stomp out competition and consumer choice.
Why would Enterprise want to limit what Maryland citizens could do with their personal property? Seemed fishy to us, too!
Let’s take a closer look and fact check their claims.
Enterprise Holdings, Inc., a multi-billion-dollar corporation, claims to want an even playing field when it comes to paying different kinds of taxes.
All Maryland residents paid a 6% registration tax when they purchase a vehicle. Enterprise does not have to pay this tax. Enterprise is able to take advantage of a massive tax incentive to NOT pay registration tax because they claim they are “buying cars for resale”. In Maryland, this loophole is extended to rental car companies, not the average citizen. The rental car industry saw a $72 million benefit from this tax exemption in Maryland in 2016 — a benefit funded by Maryland taxpayers who don’t get the massive tax break car rental companies command. In other words, congratulations, YOU are paying for Enterprise’s massive tax bonus every year!
Enterprise says regulatory changes are needed in order to protect consumers.
The typical Marylander using Turo enjoys more insurance protection when car sharing than they do under their own personal policy or when using traditional rental car. During the November 30 working group meeting, a Senator asked the Maryland Insurance Administration if there had ever been a complaint to them from a Turo customer since the founding of the company seven years ago. The answer was simply ‘no’. The third party liability coverage offered to Turo hosts is provided by Liberty Mutual, a world-class insurance company, and has worked exactly as designed 100% of the time in Maryland.
Marylanders are well protected when using Turo. Claiming to be for consumer protection is just a straw man for Enterprise to try to limit consumer choice and competition.
Help protect car sharing rights
Enterprise is making great efforts to stifle competition by trying to equate Turo hosts with their own corporate structure. At the end of the day, Turo hosts are nothing like a traditional rental car agency. They already paid their taxes, and can’t access the corporate tax breaks that Enterprise enjoys. Traditional rental car wants a monopoly, and car sharing is disrupting that dream by empowering everyday people to offset their costs of car ownership. They are now bringing the fight to Turo’s community nationwide and we will not let their false characterizations of car sharing go unanswered.
Watch Turo stand up for your rights and fight the big guys at Enterprise, and click here to sign up for OpenRoad and have your voice be heard in the Maryland legislature in 2018.
Back to New York
April 2017 Update - BRING TURO BACK TO NEW YORK:
Turo continues to press the New York state legislature to pass legislation that would allow Turo to offer peer-to-peer car sharing in the state. Unfortunately, incumbent actors in the form of rental car companies, like Enterprise Holdings and Hertz, are also applying pressure to the policymakers in Albany to create a nearly impossible regulatory framework for the peer-to-peer car sharing industry.
Despite these headwinds, Turo’s Government Relations team remains engaged, promoting the benefits of peer-to-peer car sharing to state legislators. We are facing steep opposition but are not giving up the fight for innovation and opportunity in the Empire State.
Given the unique nature of the insurance statute in New York, car sharing marketplaces that offer insurance protection to their users cannot operate there. Turo has spent the last few years fighting for a change to New York law. Despite widespread bipartisan support for the legislation, the New York state legislature refused to bring the bill for a vote in June 2016.
We believe the citizens of and travelers to New York are disadvantaged when car sharing marketplaces are not allowed to operate. New York residents and visitors are denied the value and selection that car sharing marketplaces offer, and New York car owners are unable to offset the high cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle in New York without peer-to-peer car sharing.
New Yorkers have not been able to use peer-to-peer car sharing since 2013, when a disagreement with the Department of Financial Services resulted in Turo discontinuing the platform statewide. Many New York community groups have expressed their strong support for peer-to-peer car sharing in New York, but we think we can show even more support for the innovation champions in Albany who are leading this effort.
Please visit this page again soon — we will be asking New Yorkers to help us contact their elected representatives to thank them for their leadership and to show support for their efforts. Click here to sign up for updates from OpenRoad and stay tuned!
Incumbent efforts to reduce competition
April 2017 Update - EXISTING REGULATORY SCHEMES MAY NOT FIT OUR PLATFORM BUSINESS:
Legislative actions that threaten Turo and our customer’s ability to use the platform for peer-to-peer car sharing have dramatically increased in 2017.
In Maryland this year, both the House of Delegates and the State Senate saw legislation introduced that would require peer-to-peer car sharing companies to comply with a long list of regulatory obligations designed for the traditional rental car industry. Turo’s Government Relations team blocked the legislation for this legislative session, but expect to enter into a longer discussion with the legislature about the proper regulatory framework for peer-to-peer car sharing in Maryland.
Turo proactively contacted policymakers in California, Missouri, Florida, and New York about these efforts by rental car competitors to wrongly regulate the business as a traditional rental car business. But we are facing a steep uphill battle against better funded and connected opposition.
We expect to see an increase in these efforts by rental car company competitors like Enterprise Holdings Inc. and the American Car Rental Association in upcoming state legislative sessions for the next few years. As a sharing economy platform business that connects car owners and renters, it isn’t surprising to see incumbent businesses seek to stretch legacy regulations designed to protect consumers in order to inhibit innovation or competition. Turo opposes indiscriminate regulation whose real outcomes would reduce choice and innovation for consumers and severely restrict true competition in the marketplace.
PROTECTING MICRO ENTREPRENEURS AND THEIR CUSTOMERS:
Turo provides a $1 million liability policy to protect car owners and their cars during a Turo reservation. The car is also protected against physical damage, up to the actual cash value of the vehicle. The protections Turo offers its customers are typically significantly greater than what most car owners might purchase for their personal coverage. Turo opposes legislation that would force innovation-limiting additional insurance requirements onto the platform.
WE ARE A PLATFORM BUSINESS:
Turo is a sharing economy-style platform that connects car owners and renters who negotiate between themselves delivery, timing, price and a host of individual requests amongst themselves. Because Turo is only the platform where these discussions occur, we are not liable for any actions of our customers. Seeking to apply this liability to Turo is inappropriate, as Turo has protection under existing law U.S.C. § 230. Turo opposes any legislation that would inhibit these protections under federal law.
Trust & safety
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March 2017 – TechNet’s first Arizona Lobby Day
Turo was delighted to join a dozen TechNet companies in Phoenix for the first Arizona Lobby Day. Advocating for HB 2440, a bill which would encourage the state of Arizona to use new economy substitutes for their state fleet of cars, the Government Relations team was proud to share with a range of legislators news about Turo’s growing presence in Scottsdale.
A highlight of the day was TechNet companies, including Turo, being recognized from the floor of the state legislature.
March 2017 – Turo testifies before Maryland state legislature
On March 3, Turo joined the Internet Association in testifying against HB 1520, a bill which would require peer-to-peer car sharing companies to comply with a range of regulations intended for traditional car rental. Despite vigorous and dramatic testimony from Enterprise Holdings and American Car Rental Association, the committee decided against taking action on the bill.
The issue was raised again in the Senate Finance Committee on March 7, and again Turo’s message of innovation and opportunity resonated. However, the Finance Committee’s previous experience crafting regulatory frameworks for other sharing economy businesses in the ride sharing and home sharing space, has inspired them to act similarly for car sharing. While the Senate bill SB 1056 did not progress further in this legislative session, the Committee Chair expressed desire to work further on this issue over the summer interim period.
Turo will continue to fight to preserve the ability of our hosts and travelers to use the platform to share a car within an appropriate regulatory framework.
February 2017 – Michelle Peacock addresses sharing economy issues at New York App Economy on a February 8 panel discussion presented by TechNet and the Progressive Policy Institute
Turo’s Vice President and Head of Government Relations, Michelle Peacock, joined a panel with representatives from SmartUp, CA Technologies, PPI and moderated by Rachel Haot, from 1776, in New York City. An interactive discussion among the panelists and attendees was robust, and covered a range of topics highlighting the tremendous growth of app-based businesses and the impacts on the New York area. Peacock emphasized the challenges for Turo with respect to New York, citing the need to modernize the insurance regulations to allow for peer-to-peer car sharing.
February 2017 – Turo joins TechNet at California Lobby Day in Sacramento
On February 6-7, Turo joined dozens of technology companies on visits to the California state capitol to discuss many issues facing the technology sector. With many technology-themed topics on the table, Turo’s Government Relations team raised the importance of protecting platform businesses from regulations intended to apply to the traditional incumbent players.
January 2017 – Turo visits state capitols; brings message of innovation and opportunity
Turo Government Relations team met with legislators in Tallahassee, FL and Jefferson City, MO to update them about Turo’s presence in those states and to explain how the company’s platform helps connect car owners and travelers.