SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- Although our family has had many easy transactions with Hertz over many years, in the last few years there has been a slight change to customer service that resulted in two unhappy experiences.
The first was three years ago when we returned a car rented in Portland to SeaTac airport in Seattle and I accidentally left a digital camera in the car. The camera was loaded with family photos of our son's 21st birthday with us. We'd all traveled to meet him in Oregon and it was the first time we'd all been together since he left home. Right after I passed security for my plane I realized I'd left the camera in the car. At the first opportunity I called Hertz and reported it. The employee who took the car from me and the employees who cleaned the car all denied finding the camera. Hertz did not follow-up with me despite my filing a complaint with them, contacting lost and found at the airport and filing a theft complaint with the Port of Seattle Police (the Port of Seattle Police didn't care and blew me off). The camera was right there. An employee found out it and stole it instead of turning it in, and despite my husband's Gold Membership with Hertz, Hertz had no interest in our loss at all.
Second, approximately a year-and-a-half ago we rented another car in Portland and drove to WA for the funeral of my MIL. On the way to WA, shortly before we arrived at our hotel, the engine trouble light came on and stayed on. According to the fine print in the contract, we could not keep driving that car with that light on or we would be financially responsible for any damage to the engine. As soon as we checked-in to the hotel I called Hertz. As expected, customer service told us not to drive the car and to replace it with another one. I was then told I had to make a two hour trip to pick up another car instead of Hertz delivering us a new one locally! We were getting ready for a memorial that evening and did not have the time to make that trip even IF I would have accepted Hertz forcing us to do so when it was there responsibility! The only thing that saved us was that after I started getting angry and was switched to a local office (only after I asked for it and insisted), the young man who answered happened to be someone who grew up with our daughter and he recognized me. He was a savior in that moment, delivering us a great vehicle within the hour and taking away the problem vehicle, no fuss, no muss. That was to his credit though, not Hertz. Until I talked to him, Hertz was insisting we make the drive to get a different car and did not care at all that we were grieving and on the way to a loved one's memorial service.
Hertz, the best-known and expensive, is slipping too, following the same cutthroat path as the others. I'm so sick of the loss of almost all customer service ethics in this country!
PARK RIDGE, NEW JERSEY -- For almost 20 years I was a highly satisfied Hertz Gold customer. Now in less than three years, I have experienced three highly unsatisfactory rental experiences with Hertz. 1. In the summer of 2008, during a 3-week vacation rental, I had a flat in Colorado nearly 200 miles from the nearest Hertz office. I paid for the tow truck to take me to a station where the spare could be put on the car (again, my expense) because they had no means to repair the flat. I then spent a full vacation day (over 8 hrs) round trip going to and from Colorado Springs, where the Hertz office gave me a smaller replacement car than I had rented. Because of the smaller size I had to rent a small trailer to accommodate the luggage we had been able to place in the larger car. Later, I received an exhorbitant bill from Hertz for what they claimed was a ruined tire (not according to the service station manager).
Last month I rented a one-way car for two days for my wife to go from Waco to the San Antonio, TX airport so she could attend a wedding and then join me in Grand Junction, CO. for the JUCO World Series. She had a flat inside the airport less than a mile from the Hertz location. Hertz instructed her to lock the keys and the contract inside the car and said they would come get it. Hertz originally billed us for 7 days ($750.48) and claimed the car had not been turned in for a full week after it was due. When that was finally straighened out and credit was given for the 7 mischarged days, they added a $79.91 towing charge. The final invoice sent shows mileage driven of 571 miles, when the actual mileage at the time of the flat was 259. Obviously, the car was leased to someone else during the time they claimed my wife still had the car. I have repeatedly asked for a copy of the contract, but they claim it cannot be located, and they refuse to make any additional adjustment.
On 6-16-10 I rented a one-way car from Dallas to Waco when AA was late from Philadelphia and I missed my connecting flight (last of the day). The rental clerk illegally added optional services to the contract, telling me that was the only way they would rent a one-way car, which turned out to be a total lemon of a car. (She had my Hertz profile in front of her on the computer which plainly showed I decline these optional services.) The following day, after seventeen (17) calls to various Hertz numbers, I finally got someone to agree to adjust the charges. (During several of the calls, I was put on hold after I described the problem, but no one would return to the call. The people I did manage to have some conversation with clearly had a CYA attitude.) I still have not received the promised copy of the final adjusted invoice (but the adjustment has shown up on line on my credit card). Over a week ago, the area manager promised a copy and some courtesy certificates to make up for the inconvenience. Nothing has come in the mail, but I was not surprised.
I have spent untold hours on these three problems, and my Hertz Gold card is now cut into a myriad of pieces. I will never under any circumstances use Hertz again. I see them as Hertz Lead. A lady in the billing department told me counter personnel are on commission to sell as many additional services as they can, which (she added) creates "a lot of customer abuse." Never again at my expense.
HIGHLAND, INDIANA -- Upon renting a vehicle for a couple of days to visit family and friends in Northwest Indiana, I continued on to Cincinnati, Ohio. I was told upon returning the vehicle in Cincinnati at the predetermined location that I was going to be charged approximately $150 more on my card than previously agreed upon. When I questioned the validity of this charge with the individual taking receipt of the vehicle, he said that the charge was for another "full day" because the vehicle was three hours late in getting returned.
When I told him I didn't know what he was talking about he said it was to be turned in earlier that afternoon, the same time of day I rented the vehicle. I explained to him that I told the guy from whom I rented the vehicle that when asked when and where I would be returning the vehicle, I said I was going to be returning it to the airport in Cincinnati in the evening on this day. And in fact, I not only returned it on time, but even a little earlier than what I had told the Hertz representative in Indiana.
This representative agreed that the charge was excessive, not necessary, and that the individual from whom I rented should have expressed that the vehicle was to be turned in at that particular time. He said if it were him he wouldn't expect a full days charge and that although he was unable to make that adjustment, I should contact the store from which I rented the vehicle and they could do so.
I have called the store from which I rented the vehicle twice. The first time, the individual I spoke too said he understood and that the individual I rented from should have gone over the details of the contract and expressed everything such as the turn in time in order to avoid instances such as these. He said he also agreed that the charge was excessive and that he wouldn't like to be charged a full day for an extra three hours, especially when as a customer he didn't realize the mistake made on the contract. He said he would talk to his manager and get back with me that day concerning the situation. I never heard from him again.
A few days passed and I called back. This time I spoke with a woman who said she could make that adjustment but that she wouldn't because the time was written in the contract. I explained that her representative did not put down the time that I told him, and I did not expect to have to go over each detail of the written contract written by her representative given that I expressly stated at the time of rental the time and location of which I was returning the vehicle. I further explained that I was a loyal and repeat customer of Hertz and that in light of her customer service representative putting the incorrect turn in time on the contract, and further failing to inform me of the time he placed on the contract for return, I would still meet her halfway and not expect a full refund of that day but agree to a pro-rated charge for the three hours because I didn't read the contract in detail and catch it.
I thought this to be a fair and satisfactory solution for all involved and would satisfy me enough to have the company work with me on this that I would rent from Hertz in the future. Never again. The representative on the phone told me even though she "can do that, I won't" and went on to further slow her speech referring again to the contract as if to speak to me in a childlike manner.
I explained to her that I was a grown man and not to be treated like a child and she said then you should stop acting like a child. I asked her how expecting to be treated with fairness and respect after being a loyal and repeat customer was acting like a child. She had no answer to that question.
I asked her to look at it from my perspective and that if she unknowingly returned a vehicle past its due time, would she expect to be charged for a full day given that the vehicle was three hours "late". She said of course not, she wouldn't expect or appreciate a charge like that. I thanked her for her honesty and said, "Then why are you doing it to me?" She said, "That's the policy and I can't make an adjustment." I said no, you can make an adjustment but you won't. She then admitted that was true.
Admittedly, I should have looked over the details of the contract much closer. And one can bet in the future I will. However, their representative did not put the correct time on the contract for return, did not return calls they said they would, refused to assist me in coming up with an acceptable solution, and further went on to insult me during our last phone conversation. This was completely rude, disrespectful and inappropriate behavior all around for which I will never rent from Hertz again.
ESCHBORN, GERMANY -- I rented a car from the Hertz agency at Ginnheimer Strasse 4 in Ramstein (just off the Army Post) for roughly one month in October 2009. I got a nice midsize Mercedes that ran beautiully all over Europe. It came with its own GPS and had all of the nice little perks--seat warmers, rear windshield wiper, automatic lights, etc. Plus the price was reasonable. So all in all, I was a satisfied customer...
...until I got home. I received an invoice from Hertz telling me my credit card had been charged for an addition 23.80 Euro. I checked my credit card bill and saw that I had actually been charged TWICE! When I called the rental car place in Germany about this, I was hung up on. So I called the Hertz Customer service number and was informed that the charges were for two (supposed) separate speeding incidents that occurred while I was in Germany. Apparently I had run into one of those automatic speed cameras and it recorded my license plate. HOWEVER, I was not being charged for the actual tickets--this was just a service charge from Hertz for providing my name and address to the German government. They charged me 23.80 Euro EACH time! This seemed like an outrageous fee to me just for providing some info that was obviously easily accessible in their computer system. It's not like Hertz has to pay for the speeding ticket or anything. Plus I still have not received any actual tickets from the German government (two months later) so how do I even know that they exist?! I was told that I had to email the Hertz customer service department if I wanted to try to get a credit.
Well it took me three nasty emails before the customer service department finally agreed to refund ONE of the charges (which is why I give them a two out of five star rating instead of just one), and they still maintained that they were in the right and I was in the wrong. No one ever could tell me where in the rental agreement it states that Hertz will charge this fee and it really bothered me that they went ahead and charged my credit card without my consent. Plus, no one has been able to give me any in-depth information about the tickets or provide me a copy of them.
So in short, you have been forewarned when renting with Hertz, that they not only aren't upfront with some of the potential charges, but that in the end they really care about money first and their customers second.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- Location: Orlando International Airport, FL
Rental length: 17 days, August, 2009
-- Nightmare started:
From the minute we told the representative at the check-in counter that we were from New York City and we did not drive often, our nightmare started. Basically, the representative did two things during our check-in process.
At first, he wanted us to buy their fuel-purchase plan. To this purpose, he lied to us that the oil
price in Orlando is over $4/gallon, while through that plan, we could enjoy the rate of $2.51/gallon. We did not drive often but we were not idiots. We gently turned down this offer.
Then he wanted us to sign for an insurance package that cost more that $900, without even asking us whether we need it. Since we were pretty sure that our own insurance company has covered most of the listed things, he started his "persuading tricks" by saying all horrible things about the safety issue in Orlando. For a moment we almost wanted to cancel this reservation since it sounded like we would be killed once we step out of that Hertz building. Finally my husband called our insurance company to make sure that we can survive throughout this vacation, and at last we did not buy that insurance plan. Then I saw perhaps the most "disappointed" face I have even seen in my life. We almost ran out of that building to get away from that cold face a. s.a. p.
-- Nightmare continued, and got worse:
We thought the hard time was over, but we were clearly wrong. Our car was a 2008 Volkswagen Beetle, without any manual. We drove that car for 3 days, and every time the brake was applied, we felt that the entire vehicle was vibrating. Since we still have 2 more weeks to go, we decided to change the car. I guess we were really really lucky for making this decision. We did not go to Disneyworld during traffic hours as usual. We took one day off, and chose to drive back to Hertz around noon. However, we did not make it back to Hertz (only 13 miles from our hotel) due to the break failure. Fortunately the failure happened in the parking lot of a buffet. Finally, we called Hertz emergency line, and get our car towed back. Thank god no one was injured. One thing I can
not stop wondering is, Hertz staffs should know that the car had some break problems, since the symptom was pretty obvious to them (although not so obvious for us who had never experienced a break failure before), why did they still rent that car to us who were supposed to use it for 17 days. Were they (or the "disappointed" staff) trying to kill us?
-- Nightmare continued
Anyway, we get a replacement, a 2009 Toyota Camry. We were in general happy with the car except for the slippery tire when driving in the rain (it almost rains everyday in Orlando during our stay). Since we did not want to go back and change for another car again (with a chance that we would get a even worse car), we tried to reschedule our trip to avoid driving at raining evenings. However,
slippery tire was not the only thing wrong with the car. After driving for about 10 days, the maintenance requirement light was on. The engine oil needs to be changed. We could risk driving this car for the rest of our rental days, but we basically did not trust Hertz anymore, and we did not want to take any more risk. So we went back to get our car replaced again. This time, the question I am keeping thinking about is, do they ever check their cars? When I returned the Camery, we only drove it for about 300 miles. This means when they rented us this car, they should have changed the engine oil already.
-- Nightmare ended (hopefully)
I really want to finish my story now, but since we haven't received the final bill from Hertz after our trip, I am not sure whether the nightmare has ended already. I do not even want to say how bad this Hertz rental experience is. I just want to pray for all future customers that choose to use Hertz.
FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- Yesterday my sister and Mother were to travel out of town and were using a debit card for the reservation. When they called to reserve the car they were told this was not a problem. When they arrived at the airport, the car rental was declined. The debit card however was hit for nearly $500. We have now spent yesterday and today in numerous heated calls to Hertz, trying to get a refund to the card. A call to the local airport where the car was supposed to have been rented and the same people who hit the card for this unauthorized charge was useless. A call to the customer service number is merely an automated system and filled with false information. A recorded message says that if you are waiting for an authorization to fall off of your card, you must phone your bank and ask them to release the authorization. This is NOT TRUE. The only person who can release those funds is the business who put them on the card.
You are only asked to leave a phone number and name with the automated system and someone will phone back in 34 to 53 minutes.
So, the woman calls back and claims she cannot release the funds until she speaks to my sister who is travelling. I explained this to her and said that you did not rent her the car, it is going back on HER card and to simply release the funds. I went on to explain that they would not know if I had a woman call and claim to be my sister if it were really the person they claimed they were since they have never spoken to my sister before and had no voice to compare it to.
Again, she claimed she must speak to my sister before she can release the funds. I offered my sister's cell number and was told they cannot call out as they are on an automated system.
OK ... my temper is flairing now and I call my sister and have her call the Hertz automated system and after leaving her name and numer, she receives a return call and is told they can release the funds but now told it takes 24 o 48 hours to process the release and then another 3 to 10 DAYS for the funds to appear on her account.
Hertz did nothing but cause problems and no one with one ounce of common sense can fix the problem... apparently common sense is lacking at Hertz.
I would say to stay clear of this company and use one of the competitors. Don't be ripped off by this company. They did not rent a car to my sister and had no right to charge her card for anything and then to go through this to get a refund of an unauthorized charge is beyond ridiculous.
My advice is to cancel any reservations you have with this rip off company and take your business to one who appreciates your business enough to at least talk to you and not use an automated system answered by robots who have less common sense than the cars they rent.
TOLEDO, OHIO -- On June 2, 2006 I was set up with a rental car from Hertz after a car accident. Due to lengthy repairs to my own car, the shop responsible for the repairs to my car agreed to cover whatever costs exceeded my rental coverage limits. The body shop notified Hertz of this, as did I.
I returned the car on June 30, 2006.
Upon viewing my bank statement online the following week, I noticed there were "authorizations" to my card (a debit card from my primary banking account with a Mastercard logo). I called the local office I rented the car through on July 6, and was assured that this was just because it was a debit card, and that the money would not actually be withdrawn.
To my surprise, I found out on July 8 that my card was charged $173.63. On July 10 I called to inquire about these charges. I was told it would be looked into, and someone would get back to me.
It is now July 21, and I have spent 2 weeks making phone calls to this same location. I'm always told someone will check into it and get back to me, and my phone calls are NEVER returned.
When I visit this location in person to inquire about my refund, I'm always greeted by 2 agents, sitting at their desks, not looking so terribly busy that they couldn't look into this issue (or, at the least, return my phone calls in the manner promised).
During my numerous phone calls and visits, I've been told different stories by different people. At first, it will take a week or so for the money to be returned to my account. A few days later, the estimation turned into 1-2 weeks. During my last visit, I was told it's usually 2-3 weeks before I see the credit back to my account.
I've asked why this transaction takes so long, and I was told because I used a debit card, and it's cash we're dealing with, not credit. Since when does CASH take longer to "clear?"
I keep being told that it's a problem with my bank and the type of card I used, but this makes absolutely no sense to me. Anytime I've returned something purchased on this card, the transaction is posted to my account, and funds are available, within days. The problem is not with my bank or my card, it is with HERTZ.
I should have NEVER been charged, and now I've wasted time and energy fighting to get my money back. I've encountered overdrawn fees with my bank for money I was assured WOULD NOT LEAVE MY ACCOUNT.
Perhaps $173 doesn't seem like a lot to Hertz, but it is to me.
Not only did they collect money for this car rental from 2 different sources, but their follow up and attention to resolving the matter has left much to be desired. Both are unacceptable business practices in my opinion. It has been made very apparent to me that my money, and my business, is of little significance to Hertz.
It is now July 21, and to date, my money has not been returned to my account.
SEATTLE -- I used to love Hertz back when I traveled a lot (1992-2000), so when the opportunity to travel came up, I chose Hertz in spite of their higher prices. I did this because I personally value customer service and don't mind paying a premium for it.
First, when I arrived at the customer service counter in the Seattle Tacoma airport, it was understaffed. When it was my turn, I walked up to the counter, but was cut off by a customer who came back after returning a car. The agent completely ignored me, until I asked him if I was in the right line.
Then they did not have the vehicle that I reserved (Toyota 4-Runner or GMC Envoy). In stead, they provided me with a Nissan Xterra, a real POS in my opinion. The vehicle was also kind of dirty inside.
A few days after I returned home from my vacation, I discovered that my business checking account was overdrawn. When I investigated further, I found out that my week long rental from Hertz was charged to it. I took a double take and realized that I must have used the wrong card when I picked up the vehicle, as I had intended to use my CitiBank MasterCard. (The two cards look similar).
No problem, I say to myself, I will just call Hertz and they will take care of me. Wrong. On Friday, I called the 1-800 number from the website and asked the customer service rep. if she would charge the rental to my MasterCard and refund the charges to my business debit card. Her immediate response: "we don't do that." I was actually a little shocked at her indifference. After pleading my case to her, I asked for a supervisor. After a lengthy hold time, I spoke to Maria Guess in Oklahoma. She was equally indifferent and added that it would cost Hertz $40 to refund one card and charge another, and that they would not do it unless it was their error. Huh?! I have had a merchant processing account and I worked for both a credit card company and a card processing company and no way are there processing fees like that. In fact, a charge back costs less than that. I continued to plead my case and she finally said that I would have to submit a request for her manager, in writing, with my signature authorizing a charge to my credit card. The call ended with her giving me a fax number.
The next day, I faxed a letter with the rental record number, both card numbers and my request. Of course, the fax number that Maria Guess gave me was wrong, so first I had to call to get the correct one. On Monday, I called to see if they had received the fax. I asked for Maria Guess, but apparently, her highness has her calls screened. The rep. put me on hold and came back a couple of minutes later and said that she had emailed Maria, but that she did remember this issue. I asked her to refer to the fax that I sent in on Saturday. She put me on hold again, then came back on and said that Maria was discussing it with the manager right now. A couple of minutes later and I was informed that Hertz would not be charging my credit card as I had requested. The end.
To summarize this experience:
Rest assured that Hertz has lost my future business. Their service is poor and I will not reward bad service with my good money.
UPDATE 041306: After all of this negative customer service, I just found out that Hertz did perform the transaction that I requested. I'm really confused though, because they did insist that they would not do it when I spoke to them on 4/10. Perhaps it is because I told the CSR that I would no longer do business with Hertz. I guess I have to retract that statement, but I still think that Hertz has a long way to go to redeeming their one excellent customer service. I will proceed cautiously in the future.
PRATTVILLE, ALABAMA -- I rented the car through USAA for two weeks in late December and added an additional driver at the Hertz Rental in Prattville, AL. There were many issues in renting a car from this location: Firstly, the car had a tire with a slow leak that had to have air added every few days. The car was not cleaned well and there was no wiper windshield fluid in the car.
Secondly, the total estimated charge was $112.00 less than when I returned the car with the Manger adding a $13 a day fee for the additional driver when one of the perks for going through USAA and having the Hertz Gold Points is to not pay a fee for an additional driver. I highly recommend not using this business. The Manger has no customer service skills and is rude when you bring up the issues described above by refusing to do anything even after telling him you are going over his head.
POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA -- We made reservations on Expedia for a car rental at 2471 North Federal Highway and went there to get our car after 12 hours of travel. At the location they told us that they are a satellite location and sent us to 1000 NFH location. The location was already closed by the time we got there since they would not wait for us. Called Customer Support who did not know anything except that there is no more cars like the one we booked and that we need to pay more for a smaller car. I would call this false advertising..