When Dave Dzurick rented a Chevy Spark from Hertz through Priceline, a Hertz agent persuaded him to spring for an upgrade. Priceline charges in advance for your wheels, but changing from the Spark to an Elantra would cost extra.
Just one problem: The agent who upgraded Dzurick in Milwaukee didn’t tell him about the additional charge.
“At no time in the conversation did she mention it would cost extra,” Dzurick explained. “When I got back home there was a bill from Hertz for $162.”
Dzurick paid the bill but then, after mailing it, he realized he shouldn’t have. After pleading his case with the car rental company, he turned to us for help.
Never assume because, well, you know.
In this case, Dzurick assumed that the upgrade was complimentary. He tried to argue his case with Hertz using the email address on their invoice. He received no response, so he tried again a couple of times over a one-month period.
Dzurick went online to look up the number for Hertz customer service and made his argument via a different email address. Hertz’ response should come as no surprise.
“They basically said, ‘Too bad, you signed the contract,'” he says.
He felt deceived by the agent’s offer to upgrade him to a different vehicle. Some might compare this to a “bait and switch” tactic. But, in fact, Dzurick had the opportunity to prevent this from happening by reading the contract thoroughly before signing it. Hertz’s argument was that Dzurick signed the contract, and, therefore, accepted responsibility for any additional charges.
As was pointed out in a recent article on our website, car rental companies sometimes see the counter as more of a sales opportunity than an opportunity to serve their customer. Experts say they’re trained to “upsell” expensive insurance, extras and upgrades in an effort to make their rentals more profitable.
Dzurick’s story is a great reminder to not take someone at their word, but rather to get it in writing.
But there are two sides to this story. Dzurick believes he was duped, and if the agent didn’t tell him about the upgrade cost, he has every right to be upset. (I mean, who reads the contracts?) Hertz, on the other hand, was just doing what it does best — selling ancillary products, like upgrades.
Our advocates almost took this case. Then we read the final message Dzurick sent to Hertz.
Please cancel my #1 account and my Hertz credit card immediately. I will be happy to tell my friends and post on my blog how badly Hertz has handled this. I will also promise you that Hertz will not see one more penny of my rental car money if I live to be 100.
Spend your deception money wisely!
So we punt to you, dear readers. What would you do with this one?