Know the ropes on ride and room sharing

Know the ropes on ride and room sharing

By / State News / الثلاثاء, 14 تموز/يوليو 2015 04:00

RALEIGH, N.C. : By Attorney General Roy Cooper
The sharing economy is growing these days as companies offer innovative ways for consumers to access services they need, like a ride or a place to stay.
As communities and existing businesses work to figure out this new kind of business model, many consumers are signing up to use the services. But make sure you know what you’re getting into and how to be sure you get the deal you expect.

Ridesharing
Companies like Uber and Lyft offer quick access to rides from other drivers in their own cars. The companies have apps that can be downloaded directly onto your smartphone or tablet to help you find the participating driver nearest to you. The app also lets you see the name, photo, and customer rating of drivers.
Ridesharing services provide convenience and lots of options, but prices can fluctuate. Uber and Lyft charge more for rides at certain times of day or on certain days, such as holidays. This means that you could wind up paying more than the standard rate depending on the hours and the demand for rides in your area.
For example, this past Halloween, one North Carolina consumer complained that an Uber ride from Raleigh to Durham cost more than $400.
If you request a ride with one of these companies, you should be notified if elevated rates are in effect. If you think you’ve been charged too much without notice, let my office know at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at ncdoj.gov.

Lodging & Room Rentals
Roomshare companies like Airbnb help connect homeowners who are interested in renting rooms or their homes with people who are traveling and in need of a place to stay. This gives consumers more options when traveling, but again it’s wise to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Checking ratings and reviews provided by previous travelers before you sign up to stay with a host can help you make an informed decision about
where to stay.
If you’re interested in renting out rooms through a company like Airbnb, make sure you study the company’s policies on claims and damages before you participate. Last year, a North Carolina consumer reported a long wait to resolve a claim after guests damaged the home during their stay.
To report problems with a roomshare company, contact my Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

Here are a few tips that can help keep you and your wallet safe in the sharing economy:
• Consider paying with a credit card. This could improve your chances for getting your money back if things go wrong.
• Get feedback from other consumers. Companies often allow consumers to see reviews written by past customers. Consider price and ratings when you shop, but keep in mind that not all online reviews are accurate.
• Watch out for price hikes. If you’re about to get a ride with Uber or Lyft, make sure you know the rate and are comfortable paying it. If the app warns you that your fare is subject to an elevated rate, decide if it’s worth the cost or make other arrangements.
• Shop around. Don’t assume you’re getting a better price or better service through ride or room sharing. Compare prices and services to make sure you get what you expect for a fair price.
• Stay safe. Riding alone? Ask your Uber or Lyft driver to pick you up and drop you off in a safe, visible location whenever possible. Traveling alone?
Tell a trusted friend where you’re staying and when you’re expected back. If you ever feel unsafe on a ride or at a host’s home, contact law enforcement and let the company know about it, too.
Source: North Carolina Department of Justice.

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