Car sharing has become a major trend in Germany in recent years. Demand and supply are increasing more and more. The modern speedsters are in almost every street corner in the big cities of the republic, the cities are expanding their offer more and more.
According to the Federal Association of Carsharing (BCS), more than one million drivers were already registered in 2015. In comparison to the previous year, the proportion rose by almost 40%. Similar high growth rates were also recorded in the following years. This clearly speaks against the fact that car sharing is a short-lived trend.
To ensure that everyone continues to enjoy car sharing and that there are no unnecessary costs, as a user you should know a few rules so that you don't have to experience any unpleasant surprises after driving with the borrowed vehicle.
In the following we will introduce you to the cost traps of car sharing and how you can easily avoid them.
Carsharing - What are the pitfalls?
Trap - fines
Car sharing providers always pass on tickets and notices of fines to users and do not pay them themselves. In addition, there is a processing fee for users. Large station-independent car sharing providers, such as Car2Go and DriveNow, charge a flat fee of EUR 10,00 for each parking violation. If the provider has to park the car after use by the customer, car sharing customers incur an additional 50,00 euros.
The provider Flinkster, the station-independent car sharing provider of the Deutsche Bahn, charges 5,00 euros per notification for the processing of fines.
2nd trap - driving under the influence of alcohol
If you get drunk behind the wheel of a car from a major German car sharing provider, you should expect the same consequences as in your own car if you are caught by the police. There is a risk of fines, points and driving bans.
If the car sharing customer causes an accident while driving the borrowed car under the influence of alcohol, this is usually excluded from the car sharing programs and also loses its insurance cover.
In addition, some large providers, such as Car2Go and DriveNow, have a zero alcohol limit. Anyone who gets drunk behind the wheel of the car sharing vehicle violates the general terms and conditions. As a result, the customer may be prohibited from further using the offers.
3. Trap - No logout
In the case of offers that are independent of the station, it is mandatory to log out again after the journey. If users forget to log out, it can get really expensive because the clock keeps running. In individual cases, users can hope for goodwill from customer service if the rental has not ended correctly. However, users have not yet had a legal right to goodwill.
If customers discover a technical problem that makes proper unsubscription impossible, they should inform the customer service immediately. In most cases, the faults can be traced and cleared up quickly. The easiest way to solve the problem is to report the problem directly.
The customer services of the car sharing providers are usually easily accessible by phone, email, chat and social media.
4th trap - wrongly parked
According to the general terms and conditions, users of car sharing offers are obliged to park the vehicle in a parking space in the public traffic area and in the business area of the provider. The systems do not recognize inaccessible car parks and private parking spaces. Carsharing customers who park their car in such a location can expect the provider to charge an additional fee for parking the vehicle. There is also a warning from many providers. In the event of repetition, there is also the risk of being excluded from the car sharing programs.
5th trap - friends behind the wheel
At the best-known and largest car sharing providers in Germany, it is regulated so that only registered users are allowed to drive the car. Due to the liability of the owner, the company must be able to track who was behind the wheel at all times.
There are a few station-based car sharing companies that are particularly suitable for longer journeys. These companies also allow people other than the registered customer to drive. The prerequisite is that the driver has a valid driver's license. In addition, the vehicle hirer must be present because he is fully responsible in the event of damage.
The general terms and conditions always state whether and under what conditions someone other than the lessee may drive the vehicle. If there is anything unclear about the issue, the customer service of the car sharing provider is the best contact for you.
6. Trap - The huge price differences
Not all car sharing companies offer the same prices and services. It is therefore definitely worth comparing as many different offers as possible before deciding on a particular provider and then choosing the offer that best suits your own needs.
The intensive use of pure free-floating programs is particularly expensive. Such programs are offered by Car2Go and DriveNow, among others. Station-dependent companies such as Stadtmobil and cambio are always cheaper.
For example, if you would like to do your weekly shopping with the borrowed car and need two hours and drive around 10 kilometers, the service costs just over 6,00 euros for a station-based provider, while for a free-floating provider it costs around 20,00 euros.
If you would like to borrow the car for a whole weekend and drive it for 34 hours and are traveling around 400 kilometers, a station-based provider costs around 120,00 euros, while a free-floating provider costs you costs of 180,00 euros.
Carsharing - What are the pitfalls? - Does the whole thing also have advantages?
Customers of car sharing offers can benefit from many advantages. This saves you cash, because it can be used very freely. If you have your own car, you have to pay fixed costs. Fixed costs have been rising continuously for several years. Large parts of the mobility budget are already used up due to the fixed costs, even if the car is not used at all. This is not infrequently a big burden on the wallet.
With car sharing, on the other hand, customers only pay for the kilometers actually traveled.
As a rule of thumb for the possible savings, the larger your car is, the cheaper car sharing offers are in a direct comparison. For example, if you drive 8.000 kilometers a year, you can save over 700,00 euros with a car sharing offer. Fixed costs of just over EUR 1.000,00 apply to your own car. In addition, there are workshop costs of an average of 350 euros and operating costs / travel costs of around 670,00 euros. In addition, a loss in value of approximately 1.580,00 must be calculated. There are corresponding total costs for your own car to the amount of approximately 3.600,00 euros.
With car sharing, customers have to expect fixed costs of 170,00 euros per year. The operating costs / travel costs are comparatively high at around 2.700,00 euros per year, so car sharing customers do not have to pay workshop costs and depreciation. The total annual costs in our example for car sharing are around 2.870,00 euros.
Car sharing is associated with certain risks for users. Customers should definitely inform themselves sufficiently about these possible risks in advance. Some of them are real cost traps, but all these additional costs can be avoided.
If you then consider that using car sharing offers is far cheaper than buying your own car, then there are many arguments in favor of using the car sharing programs.
No matter whether you choose your own car or a car sharing offer, we wish you a safe and, above all, safe journey!