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Motoring Top Stories

Car share company under fire after payments withheld ‘for months’

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 5 days ago

A car-share company that offers free parking along with the opportunity to rent out your car for some extra holiday cash is in the firing line, with some customers claiming they have not been paid.

Carhood was thrust into the spotlight in 2016, when co-founders Steve Johnson and Christian Schaefer, the latter of whom has since left the company, appeared on the TV show Shark Tank.

The business offered free parking for holiday-goers, and the chance to make money through renting the vehicle out.

a car parked in front of a building: Car-share company Carhood has been accused of not paying customers. © A Current Affair Car-share company Carhood has been accused of not paying customers.

While none of the judges on the show were sold on it, Carhood soon began operating in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

But now, some customers claim they've been taken for a ride.

Bert Luchjenbroers stored his two vehicles with Carhood for seven months while he went overseas to Thailand.

a car parked on the side of a house: People are able to rent their car to Carhood for a proportion of the money made renting it in turn to further customers. © A Current Affair People are able to rent their car to Carhood for a proportion of the money made renting it in turn to further customers.

Both were rented out a total of 45 times and Mr Luchjenbroers said they earned him $3294, according to an earnings statement provided by Carhood.

But nine weeks after picking up his cars from the company's Brisbane site, he says he still hasn't seen a cent.

"I doubt they will voluntarily pay me what they owe me," he said.

a man wearing a white shirt: Bert Luchjenbroers claimed he was owed more than $3000. © A Current Affair Bert Luchjenbroers claimed he was owed more than $3000.

"For me it is the principle of honouring your commitments, and Carhood is basically saying one thing but in practice they are doing something very different."

Katy Ribeiro claims she is embroiled in a similar situation.

She left her vehicle with Carhood in Melbourne from July to November last year.

She was told it was rented out regularly, but said Carhood had not yet coughed up any of the cash she's owed.

a close up of a woman: Katy Ribeiro said she had been waiting six months for payment. © A Current Affair Katy Ribeiro said she had been waiting six months for payment.

While the company says it will pay up after 30 days, Ms Ribeiro claims she's now been waiting six months.

"If anyone was considering leaving their car to rent, don't do it," she said.

James Cross, meanwhile, said he had ended up before the courts after Carhood rented his vehicle out to a criminal.

"Someone came into Carhood with a stolen driver's licence and a stolen credit card and Carhood handed my car over to them," he said.

a man looking at the camera: James Cross said a criminal had been able to rent out his car. © A Current Affair James Cross said a criminal had been able to rent out his car.

Mr Cross said the driver accumulated more than $3000 in speeding and parking fines before leaving Mr Cross's vehicle by the side of the road, where it was vandalised and declared a write-off.

He said Carhood promised to help him clear his name with the fines, but then stopped answering his calls and emails.

While Carhood's insurance did replace Mr Cross's vehicle, he said he could not believe his car ended up in the hands of a crook.

"As far as background checks they should have done, they should have just had a good look at the driver's licence," he said.

a sign on the side of a building: Carhood said it was looking into the cases A Current Affair had reported on. © A Current Affair Carhood said it was looking into the cases A Current Affair had reported on.

"The guy gave Carhood a stolen driver's licence and I am sure the driver's licence obviously has a picture of someone else and they have just accepted it, they haven't looked at it properly."

Online reviews show other customers have also claimed payments have been delayed by months.

Founder Steve Johnson said in a statement to A Current Affair investor funds they had anticipated at the start of the year did not come in, causing delays of about six months.

"We have confirmed a new investor with funds anticipated to clear within the next six weeks," he said.

a person standing in front of a car: Carhood founders Steve Johnson and Christian Schaefer appeared on Shark Tank in 2016. © Network Ten Carhood founders Steve Johnson and Christian Schaefer appeared on Shark Tank in 2016.

"Once investor funds are cleared we intend to pay these as a matter of priority."

Carhood said it was looking into each case A Current Affair reported on, and that it had implemented some changes to its processes.

RACQ chief communications officer Paul Turner urged motorists to be wary and conduct some research before handing over their vehicle to a car share company.

"You may have very few protections as a car owner or as a driver with some of these companies," he said.

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