Stephen Ballard’s plane arrived late in Stuttgart, Germany. Six hours late. Continue reading…
As the director of sales for a biotechnology company, Pankaj Sinha travels frequently.
He landed in Phoenix on the evening of September 24 and headed to the Hertz rental car counter, where his company had reserved a compact car for him. The agent told Sinha that they were out of compact cars, but because his company booked so many of their vehicles, he was going to give Sinha an SUV to drive instead.
Deborah Gray’s rental car broke down and she wants her money back. Hertz won’t pay her. She’d like me to encourage the company to reconsider.
Dan Sondhelm returns his Hertz rental car an hour late and is billed an extra $134 for it. Is this a misunderstanding between Hotwire, his online agency, and Hertz?
Brendon Taketa is broadsided by a damage claim two months after he returns his rental. Is the bill legit?
There’s damage to the undercarriage of Jessyka Glatz’s rental car, at least according to Hertz. But is the car in the photo of the rental company sent her the same one she rented? Maybe not.
After the tire on her rental car blows out, Mary Carol Rose gets a bill from Hertz. But should she pay it? The Travel Troubleshooter investigates.
After Chandra Bhandaru points out a few scratches on a Hertz rental, the car rental sends a bill — and then another bill. Now the company wants to refer the matter to a collection agency. What happened?
Question: I tried to be a good citizen when I rented a car recently, but I guess it backfired. I have been a longtime gold customer with Hertz. On a recent trip to Hawaii, I rented a vehicle from Hertz. I had a little accident and had scratches on the rear. When I returned the car, the agent did not notice anything, but being a loyal customer, I volunteered information to the agent and filled out a claim form.
Four months later I got a letter from Hertz regarding damages, and paid those through the insurance coverage on my American Express card. But now I’ve received another letter from Hertz claims services, saying that I still owe $420 in damages.
American Express is willing to pay the amount and is requesting proof of payment to the body shop, but the claims person is not willing to provide it. I am at a loss here.
After Ben Harris dropped off his Mazda 3 rental at the airport in Maui last December, a Hertz agent pointed to some scuffed paint on the underside of the front bumper. Although the employee asked Harris to fill out an incident report, he assured Harris that it was just a formality and that he wouldn’t get a bill for the damage.
But six months later, Harris received a repair bill for $570. Among the charges was a $62 fee for “loss of use” – a fee that Harris, a physician from Chicago, considers “unreasonable.”
Some drivers agree. Rental companies used to write off the time a car spent in a garage as an expense. But shrinking profits forced them to add a loss-of-use charge to their repair bills, which allows them to recover the revenue they would have collected if the vehicle had been rented.
“Car rental companies were leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table by not collecting loss-of-use charges,” says Neil Abrams, a car rental consultant. “I think there’s a recognition that there’s a legitimate responsibility of the renter that extends beyond the rental of the vehicle.”
Karen Freeman thought that she’d returned her Chrysler 200 Sedan to the Richmond airport with a full tank. She thought wrong.
“An agent noted that the tank was full,” says Freeman, an architect from Atlanta. The gauge also registered that the tank was at capacity, she says.
But a few days later, when she reviewed her credit card bill, she discovered that Avis had charged her an extra $7.43 for 0.8 gallons of gas, or about $9.29 per gallon. She called the company to complain.
“A representative told me that according to a satellite, when I picked up my car, it had 16.9 gallons in it,” she says. “And when I returned it, it had 16.1 gallons. I checked the ticket from pickup and there’s no mention of the fuel quantity other than ‘G8’ — which means full.”
I had a chance to see the car rental of the future yesterday, and it’s a smart set of wheels.
The preview, which was part of the unveiling of Hertz’ upgraded location at San Diego International Airport, was meant to show off the first of several new facilities designed to bring you a “completely new” car rental experience.
The changes are impressive. Hertz is streamlining the rental process to prevent long wait times for rental vehicles with “virtual” kiosks that videoconference you with a representative in an Oklahoma City call center. It released a new app that send you shuttle wait times and is installing recharging stations and printing facilities for business travelers.
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What we’re reading
Bee swarm grounds US Airways plane (Charlotte Observer)
What we’re writing
More airline deception — seating charts that don’t tell the truth (Consumer Traveler)
Share your stories with News Editor Steve Surjaputra.
Question: My husband rented a car from Hertz in Madrid last summer. The car broke while he was on his way back to the airport, and he had to abandon it by the side of the road in order to make his flight back to the States.
He informed the Hertz people at the airport what had happened and they told him it was fine and the car would be retrieved. Three weeks later, we received a letter that there was 850 euro charge for a burnt clutch on our credit card. We tried to contact Hertz Spain, both before and after the bill, to ensure the car had been collected and everything was fine but they didn’t answer the phone or respond to emails.
Question: My husband and I rented a car from Hertz in Munich last summer. The rental process was incredibly time-consuming and after 45 minutes at the rental desk, a five-minute walk to the garage and then another 30-minute wait in the garage, we finally received our vehicle.
It was parked in the travel lane, so we hurried to load our luggage and ourselves into it and get out of the way. We were not offered the opportunity to examine the car. It was also dark in the garage and the car was black.
When we returned the car an attendant took a flashlight and examined the underside of the car bending down so her eyes were about six inches off the ground. She stated that there were “scratches.” She also pointed out a depression near the right side of the back window.
Question: We booked a ten-day vacation package in Cancun, Mexico through Hotels.com that included air, hotel and a rental car. Taxes were included in the price of the rental car.
When we arrived at the Hertz rental counter, we were told there was an additional tax of about $55. I paid the additional tax at checkout, expecting to be reimbursed from Hotels.com.
I’ve written two emails to Hotels.com, but both have gone unanswered. When I called the company, a representative told me the $55 charge was a “deposit” that would be returned to me. But a call to Hertz confirmed it was a tax and no refund was due.