RelayRides Updates Website, Requires Renters to Replace Gas

Peer-to-peer car-sharing company RelayRides announced in a member newsletter several policy updates with the new year, including a gas policy in which renters must replace gas used during the reservation.

For the new gas policy, gas will no longer be included in the reservation price starting Jan. 16. Renters must instead return the car with "about the same amount of gas as when they started the reservation." The company said that owners should always keep the car with at least a quarter tank of gas, though leaving a full tank is recommended.

Another new policy involves accident and damage reporting. The policy re-establishes how to report damage effectively. New damage, including any scrape, dent, or tear greater than one inch, must be reported before the customer starts the reservation, so customers are encouraged to build in time to their reservation process to walk around the car. Customers may be held responsible for any damage they do not report.

RelayRides is also working to enhance its "Ratings & Reviews" feature. The company is adding the ability for a renter to rate each trip on several dimensions, such as cleanliness of car and ease of use. RelayRides will aggregate the ratings and display it on the car page, so renters can match their needs more specifically.

The company also announced simplified pricing and weekly rates that will also be effective Jan. 16. To simplify pricing, the company will remove the weekend premiums, so a renter will be able to better understand the pricing for each car.

In addition to setting hourly and daily rates, RelayRides has added the ability for owners to optionally set weekly rates if a car owner takes a trip or doesn't mind the car being rented for extended periods of time.

Other updates include a "Dedicated Parking Search" or the ability to contact the owner, in which each car page will include a "Contact Owner" button that allows the customer to send an e-mail to the owner, in case something was left in the vehicle or if they want to find out more about a vehicle or trip-specific issues.

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