Airbnb has a dead people problem: The morbid side of the sharing economy


A few months back, I rented a car via Getaround, a company that’s like Airbnb for vehicles. I booked a stranger’s 2006 BMW for the weekend. After locating it in a nearby parking lot via GPS, I unlocked it with the Getaround app and found the key behind the sun visor. No human interaction necessary. But then I had some problems: the Bluetooth link to pair my phone required a code and the car was popping up a warning about the tires. I tried contacting the owner via the email in her posting and it bounced. I sent her a text message and she didn’t respond. Having a somewhat morbid mind, I started to wonder if the owner of the car had gone to the great big parking lot in the sky. Was I in a zombie car still fulfilling its role in the sharing economy, when its owner had passed on?


We’ve thought a lot about what…

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