We're regularly working to improve our platform and make sharing cars as easy and enjoyable as possible for Owners and Borrowers. Here's a summary of our recent new features and improvements.
Tasmania Launch (Owners and Borrowers)
Thanks to some the authorities making some last-minute changes just before Christmas, we launched in Tasmania on December 23rd. Another state on the Car Next Door map!
See our Media page for more information.
Sign-up steps - now available in the app!
This project has taken us a lot of time and effort, but at last we have sign-up available in the app! This should make the experience smoother for all those users who come across our app first - no need to switch to the website in order to finish signing up.
New member can proceed with Web verification after starting on App (Owners and Borrowers)
The existing web-based process and the new app-based sign-up steps were supposed to be separate, but we found some applicants were able to start in one place and finish on the other - which meant that the information that came through to our team wasn't right.
This has been fixed, so hopefully we don't get any more half/half applications!
- Total trip cost doesn't include Premium Protection App and Web (Borrower)
A borrower chose Premium Protection for their trip, but the total displayed below the cost breakdown didn't include it. This has been fixed so the correct total is displayed!
Offline mode for vehicles using Bluetooth to lock/unlock App (Borrowers)
Some cars have our new Bluetooth technology installed, which allows Borrowers to lock and unlock the car with the app. Initially, this required the car to be parked in an area with mobile signal, as the app needed a live data connection for this function to work. Offline mode allows Borrowers to lock and unlock these cars regardless of their location.
Efficiency improvements for Fuel Refunds processing (Borrowers)
We've implemented new prioritisation in our Fuel Refunds process. The new rules will ensure that trips which are complete and are waiting on a Fuel Refund so they can be billed will be processed first - reducing billing delays.
Owner cancellation and Get Help buttons in the app App (Owners)
Owners now have buttons in the app for cancelling bookings and getting help, which were previously only available on the website.
Webchat now available from the app App (Owners and Borrowers)
We now have access to live chat from the app! Users with the latest version of the app (v2.9.19) will now see a live chat link on the support page and in the Trip Help menus.
Basic Protection Fee (Borrowers)
Basic Protection used to be included with a Borrower's trip at no extra cost. Our costs for insurance and damage have been greater than what we make on a trip, so we've added a small charge to help cover the costs of insurance, loss and damage in a way that is transparent and fair. The cost is calculated proportionally to the length of the trip.
- Show cost breakdown when extending App (Borrowers)
When extending a trip, Borrowers have always been shown the total cost of the extension including time and any/all fees, but not how that total was reached. We're now displaying an actual breakdown of these costs for clarity.
- Unable to "remove all blockouts" for a vehicle Web (Owners)
Staff and Owners were both unable to "remove all blockouts" for a vehicle. This has been fixed!
- "Something went wrong" error on signup Web (Borrowers and Owners)
This bug turned out to be related to the fact that there was no mobile number on the account: it was checking for one even though the potential member hadn't reached that part of the sign-up process yet. This has been fixed!
- Better error message on car's past their delisted dates Web and App (Borrowers)
Borrowers trying to book a car for after it's delisting date were getting the error "The vehicle is inactive at this time", which wasn't clear enough - especially since there was nothing showing in the calendar. The error message has been updated to say "This car is leaving Car Next Door and won't be available to borrow after DATE" to avoid confusion.
Car Manual Web (but accessible through App) (Owners)
The car manual is a long-awaited update to a car's profile pages, allowing Owners to add more detailed information on how to use their car, where to park (and where not to), and where Borrowers should find the lockbox. Not only do these new fields allow us to format the instructions better for the Borrowers, most of them also allow you to add photos, and you can even link to a video. (Note that the video needs to be uploaded somewhere else, such as Youtube.)
- Car not appearing on Cars page Web (Owners)
Some cars were disappearing from their Owner's accounts on the web during the onboarding process. This has been fixed so they always show up!
- Cars not showing in app after owner follows web link App (Owners)
This has been fixed, and the fix will be out with the next version of the app.
- Incorrect trip income displayed in Stats spreadsheet (Owners)
A bug was reported where the information in an Owner's downloaded stats sheet was incorrect. Bug has been squashed.
- Cancel trip button displaying on past completed trips on Web and App (Borrowers)
The cancel trip button was still present on some trips even after they were completed. It didn't cancel anything if you clicked it, but to be safe we've made sure it won't be displayed on completed trips.
- Key Handover car showing 'Out of homezone' message App (Borrowers)
We were attempting to locate Key Handover vehicles during the pickup tripflow, even though they don't have GPS. This has been fixed.
- 'Secure payment powered by Stripe' logo not displayed Web (Owners and Borrowers)
The 'Secure payment powered by Stripe' logo had wandered off the website, from both the checkout page and the member account page. We tracked it down and put back in its place.
Tooltips added to badges in Search and on car profiles App and Web (Borrowers)
Quick explanations of what the badges mean have been added for clarity - simply tap on one in your search results or on a car profile to see the definition. These explanations were also added to the Search filters so you can see why you might want to use them!
Updates and improvements to our communications systems
We've been working on improving the experience members have with our communications. In particular, we're aware that members have been having issues with Push and SMS settings. We believe these issues have been resolved now.
If you're still receiving messages via the wrong method, follow these steps:
- Uninstall and then reinstall the app
- Go to the notification options in your account and deselect any you don't want to receive
- If you want to receive SMS instead of Push, go into your phone's settings and disable permission for the Car Next Door app to send Push notifications. Then go back into the app - the Push column will change to display SMS options instead.
We're working on further changes to make this simpler to manage in the future.
- 'Book this car again' button showing when car is unavailable (Owners and Borrowers)
This button was showing on a Borrower's previous bookings even if the car was unavailable for bookings. This has been corrected so it's only displayed for vehicles that are available!
- Cars listed twice on the Manage Cars page (Owners)
Some owners were seeing their car listed twice on their Manage Cars page, as the site was incorrectly displaying both the initial application and the finished listing. This has been fixed; once a car is online the application is no longer needed.
- Server error when trying to download Owner statistics (Owners)
At least one owner encountered a server error when trying to download their car's stats - this glitch has been vanquished.
- Optional step in form is not optional (Owners)
An optional step in one of our Help Centre forms was accidentally marked as mandatory, meaning an owner couldn't complete the form without ticking "Yes, I want to hear more about this". It's now optional again.
Owner calendar functionality: delete a single recurring blockout App and Web (Owners)
Owners can now delete a single blockout from their calendar, even if it's a repeating block out. Previously all the future recurrences would be deleted as well, but now you can choose whether to delete the all future ones or just the one selected.
- Minimum booking of 1 hour enforced (Owners and Borrowers)
The minimum booking has always been 1 hour at Car Next Door, but there was a bug which meant that some borrowers were undercharged if the booking was made at the last minute. This has been fixed, so the minimum time charge for a trip will be one hour at the car's hourly rate.
- "Out of Homezone" alerts were broken (Owners)
Out of Homezone alerts had stopped working recently, meaning owners weren't being sent texts about it and no automatic blockouts had been added. This has been fixed and is working again.
- Past bookings displaying from oldest to newest App (Owners)
Owners viewing their cars' past bookings may have noticed the order had been reversed recently, putting the oldest bookings at the top. This has been corrected in the latest version of the app (v2.8.1).
- App doesn't show Owner which distance rate is selected App (Owners)
When looking at their vehicle in the app, Owners couldn't see their selected distance rate - it always looked like none of the options were selected. This has been fixed, so it now displays correctly.
Download your Car's booking stats Web (Owners)
A long-requested feature is finally here! Owners can now download a spreadsheet with their car's booking stats. Go to the stats tab (Cars > Select Car > Stats) and select the time period you want to see and download the statistics for. Then click the link under the stats to download the detailed data.
New Help menus App (Borrowers)
New help menus have been released in the app, with new features allowing us to embed photos and videos, and include more thorough troubleshooting steps. In particular, there is more guidance on taking photos, and more detailed steps available for lockbox issues, so fewer members will need to call us.
Rates added to availability panel Web and App (Borrowers)
Previously we displayed a car's rates until a borrower entered the dates and times for their booking, after which we displayed the cost of the time they had entered. Now the rates can always be seen on the car's profile in the calendar/availability panel, regardless of whether booking dates & times have been entered.
Validations added to odometer readings App and Web (Borrowers)
We've added more validation rules to odometer readings to prevent billing issues. We now check that the reading is not less than the previous reading, and that it is not more than 10,000 higher than the previous reading. This will prevent issues with members entering negative numbers or accidentally hitting a number twice (and therefore entering a 7 digit number when it should only be 6).
- Tolls now assigned to the vehicle again (Owners)
We've updated the tolls process so tolls are assigned to a particular car as well as a member, so that owners of multiple cars will know which of their cars the toll was incurred on.
- Correction to month displayed against owner plan fees (Owners)
Owner invoices were listing the wrong month against the monthly plan fee charge. This has been corrected so the month in brackets after the charge will be correct).
- Badges now displaying properly on search results App (Borrowers)
Car badges weren't displaying correctly when looking at the list of search results in the app. We've changed the Serviced badge so it doesn't display the date in this view, so all the badges are displayed properly. Update to app version 2.8.1 to see it.
Just a few bug fixes this month! Most of our time has been spent on a few big projects which should be ready later in the year.
- Fixes to the Rent my car page for logged-in members Web (Owners and Borrowers)
We had an issue where existing members who wanted to list a car were being asked to sign in again and couldn't access the the page to list their car's details. This has been fixed!
- Tooltip added for Unused time Web and App (Borrowers)
We've added a tooltip to the Trip Billing Summary to explain unused time is not an extra charge. You can read about the Unused time policy here, and thanks to the members who suggested this tooltip!
- Fixed search bar on Help Centre home page Web (Owners and Borrowers)
The search bar on the Help Centre home page didn't allow you to hit enter to search for the term, it only allowed you to choose a suggested article. You can now hit enter to do a full search for the term you entered instead. Fixed some wayward formatting at the same time.
- Fixes to owner payout calculations (Owners)
We changed the timing of Owner plan fees last month, but we forgot to tell one part of the system, which meant we inadvertently held onto a portion of Owner's incomes that should have been paid out. This has been fixed, so the July income payouts should proceed without incident!
Wear and tear policy update (Owners and Borrowers)
We’ve spent the past couple of months reviewing and refining changes to the Wear & Tear Schedule with Car Next Door owners in the Facebook group. The new Wear & Tear Schedule took effect from 26 June 2020. You can find it at the end of the Damage Policy document, or read more about it on the Car Next Door blog.
Updated Reviews policy (Owners and Borrowers)
We've updated our reviews policy in line with other sharing economy platforms so that reviews that are biased or irrelevant can be removed. So if a borrower gives a thumbs down to a car because they don't like the app, we can remove that.
We still can't remove reviews that are simply unfair, because that is the borrower's legitimate opinion, but if they aren't actually reviewing the car/other member, then it can be removed. You can see our full Reviews policy here: Reviews policy.
Change to the timing of Sharing Plan fees (Owners)
Starting this month, Sharing Plan fees are charged to Owners at the start of each month, rather than just before the start of the month. This means Owners won’t see a Sharing Plan fee on the May invoice as it was paid in April, and June’s fee will appear on the June invoice. In future, Sharing Plan fees will appear on the invoice for the month they apply to.
Trip page design - minor updates App (Borrowers)
The trip page design has had some copy and design changes to make it clearer how to start the pickup or return steps, as we had feedback that the buttons weren't standing out clearly enough.
Distance estimates during bookings updated App (Borrowers)
We announced in February that you could now get distance updates in the app from the second day of your trip. In addition to this, Borrowers with push notifications turned on will now be informed of their distance so far twice a day.
Progressive payments for long trips (Borrowers)
We've updated our policy on long trips to prevent borrowers from unknowingly racking up a bigger bill than they anticipated. In addition to the distance estimates discussed above, we will now charge a Borrower's account each time they reach $250 in estimated distance charges. See How you pay for the distance you drive for the details.
Prevent billing of invalid distances (Owners and Borrowers)
Recently our system attempted to charge an unfortunate Borrower for $68k in distance charges! It turned out that the initial odometer reading entered by the borrower included 6 digits, but on return they had only entered 3 digits. The owner had then confirmed these numbers were correct - so our system did the math and added a charge for several hundred thousand kilometres.
We've put in a check to prevent the billing of unreasonably large distances now!
Bug fix - Return photos upload not available after trip App (Borrowers)
There was no 'Return photos' section available on the app if the Return steps had not been completed. This meant that if the trip auto-completed because the car was parked in the homezone at the end time, Borrowers could not upload their return photos. They could still do it on the website, but now the app has the option as well!
Bug fix - Search is "Loading..." forever App (Borrowers)
We had a bug in the app where entering an address (instead of using your home address) and trying to search resulted in the search page just displaying a Loading message and never actually loading the results. This bug has been squashed.
App version 2.6.6 released (Owners and Borrowers)
We've completed multiple improvements to the app this month, including the ability to edit notification preferences (previously only available on the website), major updates to the trip flow, updates to the login and signup pages for new users, improvements to the search page design, performance updates and bug fixes.
As a result of this work, the website trip instructions are no longer available. You'll need the Car Next Door app before you drive.
Book this car again Web and App (Borrowers)
We have added a Book this car again button to make rebooking that awesome car from your last trip quicker and easier! On the web, the button is displayed next to the trip on the Trips page. In the app, go into a past trip and it's at the top of the menu.
Trip cost summary now shows credits applied Web and App (Borrowers)
The trip cost summary now displays any credits applied as well as the charges, so it's easier to see how much you actually paid.
Fair Use policy for invite/referral codes (Owners and Borrowers)
We've added a Fair Use policy for invite and referral codes, outlining the do's and don'ts of sharing your code.
Updated Search filters Web (Borrowers)
We’ve updated the layout of the search filters on the website and made improvements to the date and time selector.
Cleanliness Policy changes (Owners and Borrowers)
Our Cleanliness Policy has been updated to define general mess in terms of the time required to clean it, with a few hard rules regarding certain kinds of mess such as pet hair, smoking and rubbish. Learn more.
Limit invite credits (Owners and Borrowers)
We’ve updated our referral policy to allow members to earn up to 5 invite credits per month, and up to 300 over the lifetime of their membership. Learn more about how inviting your friends and family works.
Tolls charged as they occur (Owners and Borrowers)
Tolls are now charged on to members as we receive them, rather than once a month. In most cases, this means toll charges will be passed on within 48 hours of when they have been incurred, with a few exceptions. Learn more.
Car badges Web and App (Owners)
The Car Next Door community is built on the great experiences Owners provide to Borrowers by lending their well-looked-after cars. We’re rolling out a series of special badges to reward Owners for their dedication to the community and commitment to providing quality cars for every Borrower’s trip.
Distance estimates during bookings App (Borrowers)
To help you keep track of the final trip cost, Borrowers can now see an estimated trip distance while their trip is in progress, for all trips over 24 hours. The estimated distance and cost will be displayed in the Trip Costs page, and will update roughly every 6 hours after the first 24 hours have passed.
Useful Contacts now in App (Owners)
The Owners’ Useful Contacts page on our website has now been added into the app, for easy reference when you’re on the go.
Multiple car profile photos Web and App (Owners)
You can now upload multiple photos to your car's profile. This allows you to show off your van's cargo space, your car's boot space, any child seats you have in the car, or other features you offer like blankets, shopping bags or trolleys. You can now also upload profile photos through the app (this was previously only available on the website). Get our tips for taking great photos.
Seamless checkout Web and App (Owners and new Borrowers)
To create a more seamless experience and make it easier for first-time borrowers to book a car, we've made it possible for new users to make a pending booking – called a 'trip request' – before completing the sign up form and being approved. The booking won't be confirmed and they won't be able to access the car until we've reviewed and approved their application. As soon as they're approved, their booking will be confirmed. During business hours, we'll review and approve applications from new Borrowers with a trip request within one hour. We think that this will increase bookings overall and encourage more new Borrowers to become active Car Next Door users.
Phone number verification Web and App (Owners and Borrowers)
To keep Car Next Door secure, we're asking all members to verify their phone number when they make a booking or change their phone number. We'll send you a verification code by SMS that you'll need to enter into the website or app. You'll only need to do this once per phone number and it just takes a few seconds. Learn more.
Borrower profiles Web and App (Owners and Borrowers)
Borrowers now have profiles that can be seen by an Owner whose car they've booked. The profiles show:
- How many trips they've taken
- How many times they've borrowed from that Owner before
- How long they've been a member
- Any reviews other Owners have left for them
- Their profile photo (if they've uploaded one)
Owners can see a Borrower's profile by selecting their booking from their car's Bookings page and clicking 'View profile'.
We hope that these new profiles will help build a stronger sense of connection and trust between people sharing cars, even if they don't meet in person.
Owner Cancellations Web (Owners)
Owners can now cancel bookings on their car through the website. Previously they needed to contact us to cancel a booking. If you need to cancel a booking on your car, follow these instructions. Bear in mind that fees apply for cancelling a Borrower's booking. These fees are passed on to the Borrower in full to compensate them for the inconvenience.
Bookings page Web and App (Owners)
We've made improvements to the Bookings page in the website and brought it into the app. You can now see all the details of your past, current and upcoming bookings in one place.
- See the dates and times of each booking
- See the Borrower's details so you can contact them if necessary
- View all the photos Borrowers upload at the start and end of their trip - keep track of your car even if you can't check it after every trip
- View fuel receipts Borrowers upload
- Leave reviews for your Borrowers and see the reviews Borrowers leave for your car
New information in stats dashboard Web (Owners)
We added some new information to the car's stats dashboard in the website. You can now see how many kilometres Borrowers have driven, as well as seeing all the stats for the last financial year to help with tax time.
New fuel system (Owners and Borrowers)
We changed the way Borrowers pay for fuel when taking trips with Car Next Door. The fuel cards we used to use caused hassles - they would often go missing or not work. We've stopped using fuel cards and instead developed a quicker and easier way for Borrowers to be reimbursed for fuel they buy.
If a Borrower needs to refuel during a trip, they pay themselves and upload a photo of the tax invoice. We'll deduct the amount they spent on fuel from their final trip charge so they won't be out of pocket. The new system also gives us more oversight over fuel purchases, as we check and review each receipt to make sure the right type and quantity of fuel was purchased. Owners can now see all fuel receipts Borrowers upload in the Bookings page.
Search Update Web (Borrowers)
We have made a bunch of behind the scenes changes to our search page as part of keeping our code up to date and ensuring speedy and smooth running of our platform. In doing so, we have also made some functional tweaks.
When moving Pickup time to be the same as, or past the Return time when searching for a car, the return will now automatically bump an hour past the Pickup time (no longer showing that annoying error).
You may have noticed that we are also testing some other style changes on this page. We will update here when the test is complete and we've decided on which changes we will keep.
Trip Pre-pay Web and App (Borrowers)
We've changed the way we charge Borrowers for trips. We now charge part of the trip cost upfront at the time of booking, and part of the cost after the trip has completed. We've also replaced credit card pre-authorisations with a $150 deposit taken on each Borrower's first trip only
This changes means no more pre-authorisations locking up your funds, and a clearer breakdown of time, distance, booking and Premium Protection fees. Read more.
New SMSs for trip photo reminders, and "Your car is back" notification for owners Communications (Borrowers and Owners)
We have added a number of SMSs to help remind borrowers at the right times to upload trip photos. Now that we have put trip photos into the app, it's in everyone's interest that we ensure they are being uploaded at the start and end of every trip.
We have also introduced a much-requested SMS, that informs owners when their car has been returned by the borrower. As borrower trips are often shorter than initially planned, this allows owners to plan their transport needs more easily. Owners can choose which SMS notifications they'd like to receive - just get in touch if you'd like to opt-out of some or all booking-related SMS notifications.
Car stats dashboard Web (Owners)
We've released a new stats dashboard to help Owners track their car's performance over time. Owners can now see their booking numbers, earnings and average availability for the current month, previous month, current financial year, and all time. We hope to add more information to this dashboard in the future. It's only in the web for now (but will be coming to the app), so log in and go to Cars > Manage Car > Stats to check it out.
Variable Distance Pricing
Until now, Car Next Door’s Borrowers paid a flat distance charge of 33 cents for every kilometre. The distance charge covers fuel, plus other running costs like servicing and tyre wear. Owners received 25 cents a kilometre, and 8 cents went to Car Next Door to help cover our costs of running the platform.
A flat distance charge was nice and simple - but different cars cost different amounts to run, so an owner of a small, fuel-efficient hatchback would end up better off than someone with a large, fuel-hungry van.
To make things fairer (but also keep it simple), owners can now set the per-kilometre rate for their cars at either 21, 33 or 45 cents per kilometre. Read more here.
Access trip photos Web (Owners)
Owners, you can now view photos from your borrower's trip via the booking page. Making it easy to check in on your car, without having to physically be there.
We're giving more people across Australia the opportunity to choose neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing with Key Handover – a new way to share with Car Next Door.
Key Handover is perfect for:
- Occasional car sharing
- Cars located outside capital cities
- Cars parked in secured parking
- Owners who drive frequently but still want to share
This new way of sharing lets you rent your car to trusted borrowers with the peace of mind of insurance and ease of using Car Next Door.
We're opening up suburbs across NSW and VIC, with more states coming soon.
Read more on our Key Handover page.
We now have a number of Hyundai's on the platform which can be unlocked via the trip flow in our app. You will still find our familiar lockbox inside the car with the key for the ignition, however you'll now be able to open the lockbox in the comfort of the car.
Service Hours (6am - 11pm) Web and App (Borrowers and Owners): We have restricted bookings starting and ending between the hours of 11pm and 6am. This was due to there being very few bookings that start and end during this time, and now we don't have to worry about our owners needing to help borrowers in the wee hours of the morning. It also means that we can focus our service team on the busy period.
Trip Flow App (Borrowers)
Taking your next trip with Car Next Door will be easier with the release of a new trip experience in our app.
Trip photo uploads Web and App
We’re doing some final testing on another exciting new feature. You’ll soon be able to upload your trip photos to us straight through the app or website as you take them. This means you won’t need to switch between our app and your camera or send us your photos on request. Getting in the car and on the road will be quicker than ever!
Here is a video of how the new damage photo uploads will work in the new trip flow on the app:
Support messages Web: You can now log in to see, track and respond to all your support messages - go hit 'Support' from the homepage, log in using your normal Car Next Door login details, and click 'Support messages'.
Car profile and car listing Web (Owners): We have made changes to the layout of the car profile. Rather than all information being on one page, we have separated the profile out into sub pages to make it easier to find and digest information.
This has coincided with changes to the car listing process, which we have similarly broken into smaller steps in order to make it easier to list a new car.
Trip Flow App (Borrowers): We are working hard on getting out a brand new Trip Flow for borrowers to use when they have an in progress booking. This has now been released to our Beta Testing group for thorough testing, as it is a big change we want to ensure it works beautifully when we make it live across all users.
The new trip flow is designed to ensure borrowers are getting all the information they need, exactly when they need it. We've spent months planning, designing and testing the new trip flow, and are looking forward to having improved borrower experience, as well as reduced confusion and calls to owners.
Here is a video of the new trip flow. A keen eye will see a couple of bugs we are still ironing out:
Booking page and list Web (Owners): You can now see a list of previous bookings on your car, or click in to see details of the booking. Check it out.
Pretty car descriptions (Owners): Your car description will now show up properly formatted as you intended (with paragraph spacing). This was an oversight that should have been fixed sooner, sorry about that!
Blockout end time is now left open Web (Owners): When using the website to make a custom blockout on your car, the end time will no longer automatically set as the current time. This was prompting an error message that 'End time cannot be before start time'. Check it out.
Changes to the damage log (Owners and Borrowers): We’re introducing a simpler, more efficient and accurate way to keep track of each Car Next Door car’s condition and are no longer using written damage logs. See more.
Simpler to access contact information (Owners and Borrowers): We've created a new contact page on our website to make it simpler to get in touch with us. Check it out.
Lower Damage and Loss Liability for under 25s (Borrowers): We've dropped the Damage and Loss Liability for drivers under the age of 25 to $2,000, or you can reduce it to $500 for an extra fee. See more.
Redesigned App (Owners): We’ve made it much easier to do some of the most common things you need to manage your car. See more.
Calendar improvements App (Owners): The calendar on the app has had a few improvements over the past few months to make it easier to see the details of your car’s previous and upcoming bookings. See more.
Reviews added to the app App (Owners and Borrowers): You can now leave reviews in the App. See more.
Improved dashboard Web (Owners): We've released a new and improved web dashboard. See more.
Consolidated bookings and blockouts (Owners): As part of the new dashboard design, we have also consolidated owner bookings (formerly called ‘reservations’) and blockouts. See more.