I tried Virtuo, an app-based car rental service, instead of a traditional agency. The car was great – but I had trouble unlocking it.

Virtuo lets you rent premium cars using just one app.Virtuo

  • I tried Virtuo, an app-based car rental service, for the first time.

  • I rented a Mercedes GLA and enjoyed driving it, but had trouble unlocking it with the Virtuo app.

  • I called Virtuo customer service several times but they seemed unable to help me.

Anyone who’s waited in line at a rental car counter spends part of their wait dreaming of jumping straight into their vehicle and hitting the road.

As someone who rents a lot of cars, I appreciate having an agency help me get into my vehicle faster – and that’s part of the appeal of app-based rental services, which completely eliminate queues. waiting.

Legacy agencies like Avis, Hertz, Sixt and Enterprise face competition from app-based services like Getaround, Zipcar and Virtuo in a global car rental market that will be worth nearly $127 billion. by 2028, according to one estimate. .

I used Virtuo, which offers high-end cars from Tesla and Mercedes, to rent a vehicle in France. I opted for a Mercedes GLA, which cost $580 for seven days.

No early risers

My flight arrived earlier than expected in Nice, so I contacted Virtuo customer service via the app to see if I could pick up the car 45 minutes earlier.

I could not. I was told I would get a text message when the car was ready and where it was, but they couldn’t get it sooner. So I waited.

Once I got the text, I rushed to the car. The check-in process was simple: I scanned the car for dents and scratches and made sure everything was up to par, and confirmed the same on the app. artificially intelligent damage reporting system.

Then I unlocked the car using my app’s digital key and hopped in. The feeling was different from the first time I drove a Ferrari, but it was still exciting.

Unlocking has become a problem

The insider reporter unlocks the car from his phone.

Insider reporter unlocking the car with her phone.Sam Tabahriti/Insider

As I drove from France to Italy, the car never failed to impress me and everything was fine.

However, I had some issues with the app itself.

Virtuo’s digital key requires a Bluetooth connection between the app and the car. One day, as we were about to leave for Cannes, we tried to unlock the car. It did not work.

At first I thought it was a problem with my phone so I restarted it – but after about ten minutes of trying I gave up and called customer service.

The Virtuo rep who answered seemed as lost as I was to the issue. For about 20 minutes we were locked out of the car and Virtuo couldn’t help us.

So we logged into my Virtuo account on my partner’s phone and luckily managed to unlock the car. I assumed it was a one-time bug. We left.

After stopping in the town of Grasse, I again tried to unlock the car with my phone but it still didn’t work. I could lock it but I couldn’t unlock it.

I called customer service and again they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. So we used my partner’s phone again.

While the car was fun to drive, the issues with unlocking, the inflexibility of my early arrival, and my customer service experience dulled some of the shine of the trip.

Still, I’ve been using apps like Virtuo for several years and would choose them over traditional agencies. They save you from having to wait in line, sometimes for hours, even when you booked months ago. Plus, there are no agents trying to sell cars and overcharge you for insurance.

Even if my experience wasn’t perfect, I would use Virtuo again. And hopefully next time I can drive one of the Teslas she offers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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