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The New Kenyan App Addressing Car Hire Fraud

Peter Musila 2 months ago

Preparing for a trip? Depending on your location, you might have thought of getting around on four wheels. Renting a car is usually not a cheap thing to do, so you need to make sure to avoid shady rental companies that could disappoint you at the last minute.

Many businesses offer the same rental services that the situation quickly turns into a price war or fights with scammers.

We spoke to Rawlings Otini, who once found himself in the hands of scammers while hiring a car from, Kisumu to Nairobi. He first made a booking payment, only to realize later that the service provider was a con after his calls went unanswered days after. He was scammed.

Mr. Otini decided to venture out of the bad experience and developed a new mobile platform called Zuru Car Rental App. The app seeks to address fraud cases and enable car owners in urban areas to earn from their cars while in office.

Zuru App CEO, Mr. Rawlings Otini

According to him, people can upload their vehicles and rent them to interested customers seeking to travel to various places, as it acts as a guarantee between the two parties. 

Since its launch in May 2021, it has been highly downloaded in the Google Play store, with most of its users being in Nairobi.

How to Register and Benefit from ZURU App

Download the application, or register from the website, upload your KYC credentials such as IDs, passport images, driving license. Then proceed to add your location to view available cars near you.

For car owners, you will need to provide your car logbooks and vehicle registration for security purposes. After the process is complete, the users can browse for their car of interest and book a pick-up date. Charges will be indicated. 

Clients are to pay half of the amount after the car owner accepts their bid, and the balance during the return date. Transactions are via M-Pesa, which acts as an escrow account. 

Mr. Otini highlighted that the demand for the services has risen sharply over time, with the company now recording over ten transactions per day, which has made him see the need to include facial recognition logins and biometrics.

Challenges Faced

Like any other venture, Zuru App has seen many clients afraid of joining the platform because it’s a new product. However, the developer said that he has not given up but expanded its presence to Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, and Kisii. He is optimistic and building the app on trust and transparency. 

Clients also can questions on the roadworthiness of the vehicles loaded on the platform. The company mechanics check the car before being made available for hire. And also, it is recommended you check the vehicle with the owner before the journey.

He further added that they have not yet received a major concern from the clients who have used their services so far. But since prevention is better, he is in talks with various insurance firms who will offer pay-per-use services to the clients.

The CEO asks car owners to seize leaving their cars at the parking slots or home but use the platform for an extra coin. Currently, the company only charges its clients 10 percent of the total amount.

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