Sharing companies take over a share of the travel industry

Radkov/Shutterstock
Radkov/Shutterstock
Instead of paying $18 a day to park at San Francisco International Airport last month, Daniel Denegre tried something new. He handed the keys to his Hyundai Accent to a start-up company called FlightCar, which offered “free” parking at an off-airport lot in Burlingame, Calif., and an opportunity to earn up to $20 a day by renting his vehicle to someone else.

“If I can find a way to reduce the burden of leaving my car at the airport and make it profitable, I’m game,” says Denegre, an independent film producer from San Francisco. Even though no one rented his car, he didn’t pay a dime to park. “To me, the convenience is amazing.”

But city officials have another word for it: illegal. In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, the San Francisco city attorney’s office said that FlightCar is running an “unlawful and unfair operation.” It says that the company, which is part rental-car company, part parking-lot catering operation, lacks the necessary permits to do business at the airport.
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Is this enough compensation for my canceled room?

stormy weatherWith Superstorm Sandy bearing down on the New York area last fall, Monica Greene sent a concerned email to their Airbnb host in Jersey City. The host told her she could cancel her reservation in light of the looming natural disaster.

What her host didn’t say — but Greene now knows — is that the homeowner intended to keep her money. All of it.

“Our airline gave us full credit on our tickets,” she says. “Airbnb refunded its part of the fee, but she kept $1,500. I am wondering if there is any other recourse for us?”
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Can you trust a vacation rental?

Your next rental? / Photo by Loren Sztajer/ Flickr
The two-bedroom apartment in the trendy Tunali neighbor-hood of Ankara, Turkey, that Richard and Ellen Lacroix rented through Airbnb fell dramatically short of their expectations.
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Do I deserve a refund for the apartment rental from hell?

Not a good apartment rental. / Photo by Vicky S. Flickr
Maybe Patsy Chan should have known better than to rent a room using AirBnB. After all, she works for a hotel, and in a high-profile position at that. It’s no secret that a reservation on this startup site is a hit-or-miss-proposition.
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Murphy’s unfortunate stay in an AirBNB apartment

You know Murphy’s Law — “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”? Well, Eric Schwartzman had one of those experiences when he rented an apartment from AirBNB recently.

Before I get into his story, I should mention that Schwartzman is a fellow journalist who was referred to me by another colleague. I help a lot of journalists off the record, but it rarely gets to this level.

And what level is this? Schwartzman is unhappy with the way AirBNB handled a difficult stay in Paris with his family, and is disappointed by the reaction from the company’s management when he questioned its policies.
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