The short version of this review is: Frank seems like a nice fellow and was willing to be very flexible about our pick-up time due to the exigencies of the bus system. Pick-up is from his shop, which is convenient: even if he isn’t personally available, someone on his staff can hand off the keys. Unfortunately, the Versa broke down due to neglected maintenance one day into our trip. Moving forward after this was complicated and left us without the car overnight and with an up-front cost of more than $250 to repair it (now being reimbursed). I like Turo and will continue to use it, but their staff’s lack of clear guidelines and adequate empowerment to deal with the situation made it more difficult than it needed to be, presenting and then taking away options over the course of many phone calls, each with a different representative. Frank, for his part, was less than prompt in communication and seemed unwilling to take responsibility for what had happened and to make it right at his own rather than my immediate expense. And renting out a car that is long overdue for maintenance could easily have resulted in a much more serious predicament. In fairness to a complicated situation, here's a more detailed account: As soon as we picked up the Versa we noticed a rotten-egg smell which I ignorantly assumed to be the result of a previous customer having spilled something inside. I decided to ignore it: some odors are hard to get rid of even after a thorough cleaning. The next day, after a brief walk at Lava Tree, the car wouldn't start. There had been no warning lights. I tried to contact Frank but was not successful. (He did call back later, but by that time I had involved Turo and thought it best to limit my communication to them.) Some very kind park employees took a look under the hood, determined that the sulfurous smell we had noticed was from the battery burning up, and gave us a jump-start, which got us into Hilo. It then occurred to me to compare the "oil-change-due" sticker on the windshield with the odometer reading and found that the car was thousands of miles overdue for maintenance. Initially, Turo offered us two options. (1) We could end the trip and Turo would have the car towed back to Frank's place and find another car for us to use. (2) We could pay to have the car repaired, continue with the trip, and be reimbursed later. Since we would need the car to get us to the airport in Kona and felt we could no longer rely on it, we eventually decided on the first option. A Turo representative tried unsuccessfully to reach Frank to obtain his permission to have the car towed, determined after consulting with a supervisor that under the circumstances this was not required, transferred me to an automated system to set up the tow, and then the call was dropped. After calling back and laboriously explaining the situation again, a Turo rep did some research and informed us that they needed Frank’s permission for the tow after all so we waited while they tried again to reach him, which they eventually did. We were then informed that not only was having the car towed no longer an option, but that if we chose to end the trip we would be regarded as having abandoned the car and be held responsible for it. Turo said this was due to the distance between Kona (where the car originated) and Hilo (where we were at this point), but I had been emphasizing this distance to the Turo reps we dealt with throughout this process and it was never brought up as an issue before. Left without other options, we decided to have the car repaired and continue with the trip. The result was an up-front expense of $259 and the loss of the use of the car overnight, putting quite a dent in our long-planned but rather short time on the Big Island. Our original plan for the day of our departure had been to drop off the car at Frank’s shop near Kona and take a Lyft to the airport. After all that had happened, I thought it might be reasonable to ask Frank if we could drop of the car at the airport instead, saving ourselves the cost of the Lyft. Frank was not open to this, proposing instead that we drop off the car at a restaurant closer to the airport than his shop, but still necessitating a ride to get us there. Turo is refunding the cost of the repair and the cost of one day of the rental, which I appreciate. But they and Frank could have resolved all of this more promptly, more easily, and with no up-front cost to me. More importantly, if Frank had adequately maintained the car he rents out, this situation would never have arisen.
John H.-Mar 19, 2019
Couldn't be more pleased. First off, Frank was great and very accommodating to a few special requests. I was visiting locals so didn't need guidance for the island but Frank made it very clear to not hesitate for any guidance during our trip. The car was great. Fantastic gas mileage, deceptive bells and whistles, and along with the roof rack he provided we fit all of our luggage, surfboard, child seat, and five people (including kiddo in child seat) very comfortably. We could also easily fit my six foot board and three people inside the car comfortably as well. Thank you Frank!
Jason M.-Jan 5, 2019