car loses service driver stranded

This App-Powered Car Rental Shut Down, Stranding Its Driver In The Woods

Kari Paul, whose fate rested in the hands of technology, rented a car-share (a hybrid Toyota Prius) through a car app called Gig. Modernity! Sharing! Yay! Except that on their trip the car suddenly lost service—which it requires—in the mountains, rendering the car unusable.

According to Paul (whose tweet about the experience went viral, leading her to write a piece for The Guardian), “We had stopped the car for a quick hike down to the beach and when we returned found we could no longer use my phone to start the car. A customer service representative told us by phone the car’s software could not be remotely reset as it was out of cellular service range. It needed to be towed.”

car loses service driver stranded
via Twitter
car loses service driver stranded
via Twitter

The Gig representative actually told Paul that that happens often on that stretch of road. They then told them to sleep in the car and wait it out.

Paul wrote, “According to an email from Gig sent that afternoon – which I did not receive until much later – to offer customers the “best experience”, cars are re-synced automatically every 24 hours; in other words, the car needs to update its connection to the cloud for security purposes. Without the ability to re-sync the car, customer service agents cannot remotely assist members, the company explained to me in a separate follow-up email.”

So, not only does the car need impeccable service in order to run, “it cannot be re-synced easily if it is more than 50 miles outside of the ‘HomeZone'”… or if the car runs out of “alotted restarts.”

Still confused? Us, too. Here’s some clarification:

So what happened in the end? “Ultimately, I was refunded for the trip and given an $85 credit for my troubles; I’m also being sent a Gig Card for long trips in the future. And when I walked outside this morning, the car I had gone through hours of trouble with was gone – someone else had checked it out and taken it on its way,” Paul writes.

People were shook about Paul’s ordeal, calling Gig’s failure everything from inconvenient to dangerous:

In general, the modern world kind of makes things more complicated:

Apparently, some very tone-deaf human being STILL somehow defended Gig.

To which someone responded…

Someone had a pretty great response to Gig’s pretend “we’re sorry” tweet: