Is Zipcar Legit or Scam? How does Zipcar work?

Zipcar offers car renting services, and having access to cars for rent seems to be a great idea, but the question if Zipcar is legit or a scam is a common one today.

So join me as we review this subject in this article. This will help answer your questions and explain how Zipcar works in 2023.

Meanwhile, look through the table of content here below to have an insight into what you’ll find in this article.

What is Zipcar?

Zipcar is a car-sharing service that Antje Danielson and Robin Chase founded in 2000 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Members of the service can rent cars by hour or day, accessing the vehicles using a special card (called a “Zipcard”) or the company’s mobile app.

The service has also partnered with a variety of colleges and universities across the U.S. to allow short-term car access to students who would normally be ineligible for traditional car rental services.

Read this: Does CVS do Money Orders in 2023? How to Buy, Fill Out, Fees.

How does Zipcar work?


 To sign up for Zipcar, you have to visit the official application page and select a pricing plan (monthly or yearly). You’ll need to be at least 21 years of age to apply (18 if you’re a college student). You’ll also need a valid driver’s license and a credit or debit card.

Reserving a car:

Reserving a Zipcar is as easy as a few taps.

Choose the day you want to reserve the car within the Zipcar app or website.

Then, select a pickup and dropoff time. Zipcar will automatically detect your location, but you can also change it manually.

You can also choose the type of cars you want to see (by default, Zipcar will show you all available types of cars).

Once you’ve made those selections, tap or click “Find Cars!” to see a list of the available cars that are near you, along with the rate for each one. From there, it’s just a matter of going to the pickup location and finding the car.

How to use a Zipcar:

To use a Zipcar, walk up to the vehicle and hold your Zipcard up to the card reader in the corner of the windshield to unlock it (make sure the number on the Zipcar matches the number on your reservation).

Before getting into the vehicle, check for damage. If you find any dents or scratches larger than your zip card, call the number on the card to report them.

You’ll find the keys already in the vehicle (generally underneath the steering wheel). You’ll also find a gas card, that would be used to refuel the vehicle after you’ve finished your trip. Zipcar requires you to leave the gas tank at least one-fourth full, and to Make sure you allow some time for refueling, as you could be charged a $50 late fee per hour (up to $150) for returning a car after your reservation ends.

Where is Zipcar available?

Zipcar is currently available in 400+ cities in the United States, including selected cities in Canada, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Turkey

These are some of the major cities in the U.S. where you can count on Zipcar to get you around (note: this list is far from exhaustive!):

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Houston, TX
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Nashville, TN
  • New York City, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Providence, RI
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, D.C.

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Is Zipcar legit or a scam?

Customer reviews

Sue of New York, NY-  Verified Reviewer

Original review: July 5

I am a new customer of Zipcar. I booked my first reservation to pick up the car on July 3rd and had my farm tickets ready to go to the farm. In the morning, at 6:50 am, I received an email that my car reservation was canceled. There was no way for me to make another reservation due to July 4th’s busy week.

 I called to speak to a representative, but he took forever to pick up, and they decided to give me a 25-dollar credit. I then decided to give it another shot and booked again with them for July 5th.

On the morning of July 5th at 6:50 am, my car reservation was canceled again. This is ridiculous and frustrating I can’t even say if Zipcar is legit or a scam, but I definitely won’t recommend Zip car to anyone.

Marie of New York, NY  Verified Reviewer

Original review: July 20

I reserved a Zipcar more than two weeks in advance, and when I arrived to pick it up, it was not in the garage. Zipcar Customer Service did not offer a solution, and had me waiting on the phone for over two hours. No help. Do not use them!

EJ of New York, NY  Verified Reviewer

Original review: June 20

In the 3 weeks since we signed up for Zipcar, we have had 2 cars canceled on the morning of our trip, and 2 cars not at their garage when we went to pick them up.

The customer service line is useless – because, by the time you wait multiple hours on hold (seriously), you’ve probably already missed out on your trip.

This service is an absolute disaster in New York and is stealing your monthly fee. Please, stay away and avoid the headache of having to cancel your membership.

Nicole of Lagrangeville, NY, Verified Reviewer

Original review: June 18

I’ve only used Zipcar once. REPEAT ONCE!! And the car was EXTREMELY unsafe to drive. Check engine light was on, steering wheel shaking, it was 56,000 miles PAST an oil change, I called.

They only credited 10 dollars toward my next trip, which I never used because I wasn’t going through that again (this was May 28th); then I never used it again, but they were still charging me 141 dollars here and another 247 there that I NEVER AUTHORIZED! I even called Zip and spoke to a supervisor who also DID NOTHING! Thank the Lord my bank disputed the CHARGES.

Overall I ABSOLUTELY does not recommend not even for an hour, they don’t care about their customers nor have common customer service knowledge. You have a better chance of getting Uber and Lyft, even A TAXI!


Zipcar was sued in 2009 and also in 2011 by customers alleging that they charged excessive or hidden fees.

The suit cited several hidden charges, including a charge to speak to a customer service representative even when customers call to report a problem that cannot be dealt with through the website or automated phone system, additional fees on top of the cost of a parking ticket even if the ticket was overturned in court, late fees starting at $50, a fee to retrieve items left in cars, and an inactivity fee.

 According to the complaint, many customers wouldn’t even be aware of the charges because Zipcar doesn’t send monthly statements.

The lawsuit was dismissed in 2010 after U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton found that every penalty asides from an inactive-user charge are legal. In August 2016, Zipcar agreed to settle a case that involved allegations of charging New York consumers illegal damage fees for rental vehicles.

As of September 25, 2018, Zipcar wasn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau and averages a one-star review from the BBB from numerous complaints alleging deceptive business practices.


Does Zipcar have insurance?

Yes, as of 2015 to 2018, Zipcar members received liability coverage of $100,000 bodily injury per person, $300,000 bodily injury maximum, and $25,000 for property damage, but for those that joined after July 31st, 2018, there is a liability coverage up to the minimum financial responsibility limits required in the state/jurisdiction in which the accident occurs.

How do I pay for gas?

To pay for gas, use the fuel card in the pouch under your Zipcar driver’s side visor. Swipe the card at any gas pump just like a credit card, and then enter your driver ID/PIN number (the first six digits on your Zipcard) and the car’s mileage. If, for some reason the gas card doesn’t work, pay for the gas and keep the receipt — Zipcar will reimburse you later.

Can I extend my Zipcar reservation?

Yes, you can, in some cases, As long as another member has not reserved the car for the slot after you.

Is Zipcar legit?

Yes, it is.


 No one wants to have a bad customer experience, and what’s the point of using a service when it’s just bad? I probably wouldn’t recommend Zipcar to anyone due to their poor services, but they are actually legit.



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