Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hertz Sucks!

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.


Anonymous said...

That's not good.

BTW, you may want to to give them a call or send a letter. It sometimes helps.

oraclenerd said...

I've sent one to USAA, but I do plan on sending one to Hertz as well. Not to get money back, just to let them know they suck! (jokes).

oraclenerd said...

post approved by my wife!

Annoyed Customer said...

I rented a car from Hertz over the weekend. Actually, I travel for business around 45 weeks out of the year, and we use Hertz exclusively. Therefore, I have plenty of Hertz points built up. I was visiting friends in LA, and decided to use a bunch of my points to rent a Corvette for the weekend. This covered all of the rental except for the taxes, and when I returned the car they printed he receipt out showing that my charge would be $10 on my VISA debit card.

I logged into my bank Monday morning to balance my account, and imagine my astonishment at seeing a $629 charge from Hertz! Even without the bonus points the charge would have only been $340 (it shows the amount before the bonus points on the receipt). I immediately called Hertz, and after a 16 minute hold time (which was pissing me off more), a rude and obnoxious "customer service" lady told me that "Hertz policy" was to charge my card the price of the rental and $200 more, and that this would be returned to my account "in 24 to 48 hours".

This is beyond belief that they would not only give a receipt for $10 charged to you, but to then charge you the full amount and another $200 on top of it for "Hertz policy" is so far past my boiling point I cannot put it into words. The "customer dis-service" person could not (or would not) explain why, since the rental was technically $340 without the points certificate, that they charged $300 more (instead of their "policy" of $200) on my card.

The policy on their website about using a debit card with the VISA logo (which is what I use)

“At most Hertz locations, debit cards (sometimes called check cards) issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo which draw funds directly from the cardholder's account may be used to qualify for rental. However, prepaid or stored value cards which have a VISA or Mastercard logo are not accepted to qualify for rental. Debit cards must have available funds for the estimated amount of the rental charges plus up to $200 to cover any incidental charges in order to secure the rental. Both debit cards and prepaid or stored value cards issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo may be used as a form of payment when you return the vehicle. Please contact your local Hertz Reservations Office if you have a question about whether Hertz will accept a certain card”

There is ZERO mention that they will charge you the fee’s plus their “up to $200” in advance, and that they will take up to 48 hours (per their phone person) to reverse the charge. Technically, I watched my account reach a negative amount before they corrected the issue. I remain angry beyond description.

As a side note, I sent this complaint in on Monday when this happened, and also sent the email to both the CEO and the President of the Board of Directors, but have never received a reply, an apology, or a phone call (and I sent all my contact info to them)

On the receipt they ask you to complete a "feedback survey". Enclosed is my letter to them, and I do plan to follow thru on my complaints to every agency I can find. In fact, I would welcome any suggestions on who to complain to.


I am outraged and appalled over the billing issue that has occurred on my rental. I have a receipt in my possession that shows a charge on my credit card of $10 for my rental. However, I am showing a $629 charge on my bank from Hertz. This rental was done using my Hertz points, and this charge is NOT appropriate.

Furthermore, when I contacted customer service I was told that "Hertz Policy" is to place a "hold" of over $200 over the estimated charge of the rental for at least 28 hours. I had a points reservation and a receipt that shows a charge of $10 from when I turned in this car, and your policy of putting a pending charge of $629 is not proper, nor was it spelled out in any of the rental agreements or contracts that I signed. You gave no advance notice of this sort of "policy" that would place a $629 charge on my bank account when the total price of the rental was $10, and then to have a VERY rude person in customer service tell me that the charge would be refunded "within 28 hours". The total price of the weekend rental was $340 without the gift certificate, and for you to add another $300 in addition for some sort of hold policy has angered me beyond belief.

As a side note, the person who answered my phone call was both rude and not helpful. She was abrasive during the call, repeatedly telling me that she was "explaining Hertz policy to me". I do not appreciate being talked down to. To be honest, the policy is wrong, especially when you consider that there is no advance notice of this policy during the rental process or in the contract that was given me at the time of the rental. For you to charge double the price of the rental with MY money is totally unacceptable.

I was already upset over this rental because they did not have the car I reserved. Over a month ago I had reserved a Corvette using my Hertz points, but when I arrived the car was not available. The lady at the counter was nice, but she could not advise why the Corvette could not be found. I was frankly amazed that a company such as Hertz could lose track of a Corvette, but the bottom line is that my weekend was a disappointment because the one time in my life that I would rent a car like this was destroyed because they could not find a car that was rented in advance. In addition, the insult was magnified when she called for three different managers to come to the Gold counter to assist with this, and not one of them showed up nor apologized for the error.

I will be contacting very local, state, and federal agency that I can, in addition to the Better Business Bureau, to file formal complaints on this policy of charging such a preposterous amount as some sort of "hold" when you are giving a receipt that shows a different amount. There are a number of consumer complaint websites that I plan to post this on as a complaint. Furthermore, my office and my corporate office has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in rentals from Hertz over the years, and I plan on informing the CEO and owners of both companies of what has occurred with this situation.

Your prompt attention and reply to this matter is expected.

oraclenerd said...

@annoyed customer

that most definitely says that Hertz Sucks! Hopefully, they'll get this in their Google News Alerts tomorrow and, well, do something.

It actually would have been funny if they did that to me as it would have bounced. ;)

Good luck and I certainly hope that they find a way to resolve this the right way. Bad press man...bad press.


Joe C. said...

"There is ZERO mention that they will charge you the fee’s plus their “up to $200” in advance, and that they will take up to 48 hours (per their phone person) to reverse the charge. Technically, I watched my account reach a negative amount before they corrected the issue. I remain angry beyond description."

You must be kidding, right? Everybody knows that they run an authorization for the projected possible amount you'll owe them and then that authorization drops after approximately 14 days. You actually expect they are stupid enough not to do that?? If they did it any other way they run the very real risk of getting stung when they go to charge your card and the authorization is declined because the cardholder is a deadbeat or something.

oraclenerd said...

@joe c

I think Annoyed Customer realizes and understands that. However, he was a customer who had built up points (a lot apparently) yet they STILL did this.

I know that they have to do this, I think everyone does. That was just crappy customer service, plain and simple.