See more of the story

Q: I rented a car from Turo recently. My family met our host at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, and he gave us the keys. Everything went well until a few days later, when we could not find our rental in our hotel parking lot.

We called surrounding hotels to see if it had been towed. I texted the host, who did not know the car's whereabouts. I called Turo, and a representative told me to report it stolen.

A police officer informed me the car had been repossessed by the lien holder. I called Turo to report this, and they again advised me to report the car stolen. The police officer told me that if I said the vehicle was stolen, that would be considered fraud.

I called Turo for days. I missed the last two days of vacation trying to track down the car to get our stuff out of it. My son had left his epilepsy medication in the vehicle.

I do not understand how Turo can hold no liability. They know their hosts are breaking the rules, and they let the customer suffer when things go wrong. Turo only refunded the last day of our rental. I want my son's medications, our other belongings and our rental fees returned. Can you help me?

A: Turo bears some responsibility for your rental disaster. But how much?

Turo connects users to hosts who have vehicles to rent out. Think of it as Airbnb for cars. Turo's rental agreement makes it clear that it's just an intermediary, which is why it offered a small refund and didn't cover the $850 worth of epilepsy medication.

Turo's terms contain a limitation of liability clause that lets it off for such losses. But let's talk about that. I'm sure you already know that leaving valuables in your car isn't the best idea. And if it's someone else's car, parked next to a hotel hundreds of miles from home, you definitely don't want to leave valuables, including medications, in the vehicle.

Ultimately, your host was responsible for keeping up his car payments and following the rules set by Turo. You could have leaned on him, but I doubt he would have paid for your son's medication.

Even though you weren't entitled to a refund, I think it was the right thing to do. I contacted Turo on your behalf. A spokeswoman told me, "We have been working toward a resolution with this guest, including providing reimbursement for the trip and offering reimbursement for lost items."

Turo offered to reimburse you for your son's medication and your belongings.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit consumer organization. Contact him at or