McGruber shares a report from NBC News: In January, two San Diego businessmen launched a company, ScootScoop, that impounds e-scooters at the behest of private property owners. The company already has 4,500 of the e-scoooters packed in warehouses and garages. Most of the scofflaws pay their bounty, but a few of the half dozen or so e-scooter companies active in San Diego aren’t on board. ScootScoop charges the companies $30 to release each e-scooter. Its freelance workers will also move or stand up a scooter that’s blocking walkways or roads. The cost to the scooter firms is $3 to $5. ScootScoop contractors take photos to show their homework. ScootScoop is also developing an app where San Diego business owners can drop a pin on a map to alert the “scoopers” to an interloper that needs to be impounded within 24 hours. The pair also hopes to go global by using a model whereby satellite operators pay licensing fees. They say they’ve already had inquiries from entrepreneurs in Mexico and Australia.
The duo behind ScootScoop says their business shouldn’t be so urgent. At least some of the e-scooter companies’ user agreements specify fines as much as $150 for leaving the devices in forbidden zones, including on private property. But they say the rules aren’t enforced by the firms for fear of slowing explosive market growth. Some e-scooter companies have threatened to sue ScootScoop, but so far none have filed complaints. “The community should be careful when engaging with pop-up companies claiming to provide city services like impounding or towing,” Lime Electric Scooter Rentals spokeswoman Mary Caroline Pruitt said via email. “Impounding bikes or scooters requires compliance with the California Vehicle Code, and Lime is in the process of reviewing whether these pop-ups are committing violations which may subject them to liability.”