Carsharing company Getaround sets up shop in Washington for $ 950,000


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WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – Getaround Inc to pay Washington, DC $ 950,000 and revise business practices after allegations it misrepresented the benefits and nature of its carsharing services and failed to pay taxes municipal sales, officials said on Friday.

The San Francisco-based online company, backed by Softbank (9434.T), had operated unlicensed in the U.S. capital, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement.

Getaround will reimburse car owners who have suffered theft or damage to vehicles listed on its site, Racine said.

Customers can use Getaround to rent vehicles by the hour or by the day from individual owners who make vehicles available through Getaround.

The settlement resolves “what comes to Getaround paying a tax bill that it has never disputed,” Getaround said in a statement. The company added that “as soon as Getaround was made aware of the safety issues affecting some cars in the district, the company took immediate corrective action.”

Carsharing services in Washington are subject to a 10.25% sales tax.

“Companies in the gig economy must follow the same rules as their brick-and-mortar counterparts,” Racine said. “They need to provide clear and accurate information to consumers, including the safety of their services, and they need to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else does.”

Racine’s office began investigating Getaround in 2020 after receiving reports of an increase in thefts of cars listed on Getaround.

The regulation resolves claims that Getaround misled consumers “by using fake owner profiles for fleet cars actually owned by Getaround,” Racine said.

In October, Getaround raised $ 140 million in additional venture capital funds. The company has raised nearly $ 600 million since its inception in 2009 and in previous rounds it was valued at over $ 1.5 billion.

Getaround operates in more than 100 US cities and more than 850 cities around the world.

Reporting by David Shepardson, editing by Nick Zieminski and Grant McCool

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