On Sunday I flew, with my five year old son, to Baltimore Washington Internation airport (BWI). We went to support my father and attend the funeral of his father. My son had gotten quite close with Grandpa Jim since we moved down to Tampa so I wanted him to go for obvious reasons.
My grandfather was to be buried at Quantico with his wife who passed away 12 years ago. He passed away on Father's Day.
Initially I wanted to drive. I haven't been on a plane in 6 years (OpenWorld 2002), and I'm a bit claustrophobic. My parents convinced me that flying was the best way to go since my wife's grandparents were in the hospital as well (94 and 95). I reluctantly agreed. I then decided it would be a good time for my son to take his first flight. I did not want him to be scared of flying, so I knew what I had to do.
I decided to rent a car so that my parents would not have to drive 2 hours to pick me up and take us back. We arrived and we got on the bus to the rental car facility (about 10 minutes away). I booked a car with Budget through USAA.
I quickly found out that Budget put a $500 hold on your debit card. Since we're still adjusting to the new payment schedule, we didn't have that much in the bank. I called my parents and they were all set to come get us. Then the woman from Budget suggested Hertz as they don't put as big a hold on your card.
So I walk over and the first thing I say is, "I don't have $500 in my account, what's your hold?" I don't remember exactly what it was, but it surely wasn't $500. OK, give me a car please, cheapest you got. I only need the car for a day (24 hours). Do you want any options? No. Do you want the Fuel Service Option? Sure, I think, I won't have to fill up on the way back since we'll be cutting it close anyway.
I get the car and drive down to Fort Belvoir with my parents. The following day, we go to the service and then the cemetary. It's 2 o'clock now, the flight leaves at 4:54 and the car has to be back by 3:30.
I figure I'll have to pay some sort of small fee for being past 3:30. No biggie, it happens.
I drop the car off, the guy scans the car, enters the mileage and gives me the receipt. $117. WTF?
Are you kidding me?
You bought the Fuel Service Option.
Yeah, and you'll deduct the amount that I didn't use right?
No. They should have explained that to you.
Ummm...no, they didn't.
Ultimately, it's my responsibility. I signed the contract. I don't expect to recoup any money.
But if this isn't disingenuous, I don't know what is. The guy knew I need the car for one day. Did he think I was going to drive 450 miles? He also knew that my reservation with Budget fell through because I didn't have $500 in the bank. Then I have a 5 year old running around the facility...
Again, I signed the contract. I accept full responsibility. I just think it sucks on Hertz part. Sadly, my father had the same thing happen to him. Bought the fuel service option and got screwed.
So, my advice to you (as I'm sure more than one of you have to rent a car every so often), don't get the fuel service option!
I will not rent from Hertz again. Budget, while way too much on the deposit, at least pointed me in the right direction. I appreciate that.