Hertz deceptive business practices to force customers to purchase optional services

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Jan 4, 2020
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We traveled to Germany, and had pre-booked early for a Dollar Rental car.
We received Confirmation #: xxxxxxxxx from Dollar clearly indicating the total for the rental period we specified. Charges from Dollar indicated and required payment as follow:
Currency:EURO
Rate Code:DTGMUC
Your Rate:1 Month at 395,40 € per month. Unlimited kilometers.
Approximate Fees and Surcharges:
Service Charge:95,74 €
Vehicle License Fee:12,00 €
Approximate Taxes:
Vat Tax:95,60 €
Approximate Total:598,74 €

We did accept the above terms. When I went to the counter to pick up the car at the Munich airport I was directed to the Hertz rental company and I was told that they demanded I pay 438.30€ DAMAGE WAIVER (CDW/LDW) and 150.60€ for THEFT PROTECTION plus all applicable taxes and service fees. More than the cost of the rental.
I was told that both coverages are mandatory (Simple lie!) and that if I do not purchase Hertz’s proposed DAMAGE WAIVER (CDW/LDW) and THEFT PROTECTION policy coverage, they will not release the car to me. I was trying to explain to the person behind the counter that both coverages are OPTIONAL per Hertz’s website and Hertz pamphlet, which clearly states as follow:
1.“Collision Damage Waiver is an optional service which, if accepted, reduces your financial liability for damage to the Hertz vehicle, its parts, and accessories, except for theft, attempted theft or vandalism, provided the vehicle is used in accordance with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
If CDW is declined, you will be responsible for the amount of the deductible listed below. Regardless of whether CDW is accepted or included, all rentals are subject to a non-waivable excess for which you are responsible in the event of damage to the Hertz vehicle during the rental (listed below). The non-waivable excess applies for each incident.
2.” Theft Protection is an optional service which, if accepted, reduces your financial liability for loss of, or damage to the Hertz vehicle, its parts, and accessories, due to theft, attempted theft or vandalism, provided the vehicle is used in accordance with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
If TP is declined, you will be responsible for the deductible amount listed below. Regardless of Theft Protection being accepted or included, all rentals are subject to a non-waivable excess (listed below) for which you are responsible in case of damage to, or loss of the Hertz vehicle during the rental.”

I was aware that the law in Germany requires third-party liability insurance, which every registered car must-have, and the owner, including all the rental companies, must inform the car registration offices with which company the car is insured. Ultimately the by-law rental company is required to carry "Third Party Liability Insurance” for each and all their vehicles, and this coverage is included in the rental rate. I did request that I will use the available to me VISA Card coverage, or I would like to decline the Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection as this was an optional service.
Hertz's employee informed me that Dollar/Hertz is not accepting Credit Card coverage and that without purchasing the rental company’s proposed policy for the optional coverage, they will not release the car to me. After arguing back-and-forth, the Hertz employee said it is the law and that I should just dispute it when I get back home because he is not renting me a car without it. I did feel like I was held hostage and the person behind the counter used blackmail and extortion to force me into this agreement. I marked a rental record receipt with “I will verify it” sentence and this allowed me to pick up the vehicle and continue my travel plans.

Furthermore, upon reaching my travel destination a couple of days after I picked up the vehicle I called U.S based Dollar customer service multiple times to resolve this situation but after each time I explained the situation conversation ended in the disconnected call. Upon coming back from vacation I called Dollar again where the customer service representative ignored my statement and without any effort or checking into the details of this situation told me that she cannot help me with this situation because she need to follow the corporate rules????Really????
After I insisted on talking to her manager, she promised that the supervisor would call me within 24-48 hrs. to discuss but till now I did not receive the call. This is why I reached out to Hertz customer service where I was instructed by helpful representative Jack to write an email to [email protected]
Sure enough my request was denied, and therefore I did reach out to my Capital One credit card company for help. During our initial conversation, we verified again that I did call a month before traveling, inquiring about the insurance coverage available to me through the Visa card services. I verified with both Capital One and VISA card services that the rented vehicle would get the satisfying me coverage above the third-party liability insurance provided by the rental company.
My Capital One Spark Business ENHANCED VISA SIGNATURE BUSINESS CARD provides me with:
"Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver – Receive primary coverage, at no additional cost, for damage due to collision or theft. Just charge your entire rental transaction to your eligible Visa Signature Business card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver"
Credit Card company did refund me the money for the Insurance policy I was forced to purchase but month later charge me back for it because Hertz did send them copy of the contract indicating that I did accept the coverage. Capital One Credit card company did not take to account that I did mark the receipt" I will verify" because I was forced into this by unscrupulous Hertz's employee. As the effect of this particular transaction I was left with the balance of 32.93 Euro because the difference in the exchange rate between the time when credit company refunded me and then charged for the optional insurance. Ultimately I was placed on the DO NOT RENT LIST.
I escalated this to the executive level of the customer service and in the response Mrs. Sunni Rushing wrote:
Dear Mr. Wojcieszak,
Thank you for contacting me directly, I appreciate the opportunity to revisit your concerns.
As previously our records indicate that you disputed the charges with your bank; therefore, we have not been paid for the amount you are seeking for reimbursement. At this time the account remains outstanding and your driving privileges have been restricted as you have been placed on our Do Not Rent list. Considering this information we must respectfully decline to adjust the rental charges.
To clarify your inquiry about coverage, the location states that at the time of your rental pick-up, you were could not prove the insurance coverage with a gold or platinum visa card or written proof document from the bank. This is mandatory for Dollar US reservations and included in our Terms & Conditions according to the location's management. The Capital One business card is not accepted from Dollar for insurance coverage. Therefore the charges are correct in this instance.
I can certainly understand this is not the outcome anticipated; however, we ask that you respect our decision in this matter as we consider having addressed this matter in full. Please know that we take all customer concerns seriously. On behalf of Ms. Marinello and the entire Senior Management Team, we thank you for choosing Hertz for your rental needs.

Kind Regards,

Sunni Rushing
Hertz Executive Services


I strongly disagree with this statement because Hertz employee did NOT ask me about any of the insurance proof. HE SIMPLY SAID THAT HE WILL NOT RENT ME THE CAR IF I DO NOT PURCHASE CDW AND TP COVERAGE. Hertz employee forced me into accepting the additional and optional coverage. I believe that this alone makes me a victim of Hertz deceptive business practices.

I also researched the web for similar cases, and it seems that my situation is not unique. I found incidents alike for the same rental company and the same location.

With this being said, I strongly disagree with the practices of Munich located Hertz company basically terrorizing his own clients and unlawfully using force to sell the OPTIONAL policies. It is my understanding that my final bill for renting the vehicle should not include the services I was forced to agree to and should NOT exceed the original amount and truly should be based on the following actual calculations:

1 Month at 395,40 € per month. Unlimited kilometers.
Location Service Charge 23.5%:92.19 €
Vat Tax 19%:75.12 €
Total: 562.71 €
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
You need to send emails to Hertz corporate contacts: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/hertz/

You need to eliminate all references to "terrorizing his own clients and unlawfully using force ". This is not accurate or appropriate. Using these terms will guarantee that you will get no response. You had the option of walking away and renting elsewhere.

Email once per week starting at the first customer service level and moving to the next if no/negative response.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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I apologize if you posted this but did you have the pamphlet on the insurance coverage with you? Did you rent the car with the card that provides the coverage? Who have you already reached out to at Hertz?
 
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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I did a mock booking of a Dollar car at the Munich Airport. In the "Important Local Policy Information" section, it states:

Customers with credit cards must take LDW and TP unless at the start of the rental they provide (i) US or Canadian issued Gold/Platinum MasterCard or Gold/Platinum Visa card and (ii) written proof issued by the credit card's insurance company that the card has full coverage for Germany or worldwide at time of rental​

If you didn't have the written statement of German coverage, it looks like they were justified in charging you for LDW & TP.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,753
10,550
113
San Francisco
I did a mock booking of a Dollar car at the Munich Airport. In the "Important Local Policy Information" section, it states:

Customers with credit cards must take LDW and TP unless at the start of the rental they provide (i) US or Canadian issued Gold/Platinum MasterCard or Gold/Platinum Visa card and (ii) written proof issued by the credit card's insurance company that the card has full coverage for Germany or worldwide at time of rental​

If you didn't have the written statement of German coverage, it looks like they were justified in charging you for LDW & TP.
Well, things are surely changing with European rentals. This is very good information to have. I've used broker AutoEurope for years, and am confident they'd warn me ... but I always want to be ready for anything. Interesting that AmEx got left off the German's list of acceptable CCs. And the top Chase cards are blue steel, not a glitter in sight.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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I did a mock booking of a Dollar car at the Munich Airport. In the "Important Local Policy Information" section, it states:

Customers with credit cards must take LDW and TP unless at the start of the rental they provide (i) US or Canadian issued Gold/Platinum MasterCard or Gold/Platinum Visa card and (ii) written proof issued by the credit card's insurance company that the card has full coverage for Germany or worldwide at time of rental​

If you didn't have the written statement of German coverage, it looks like they were justified in charging you for LDW & TP.
Assuming that our OP got this disclosure, the confirmation should include the insurance. Then our OP would be on notice of the actual cost risk he ran by not showing up with the proof Dollar wanted. T me, this is no different to other junk fees, like destination charges and resort fees.
 
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smd

Mar 14, 2018
593
965
93
Well, things are surely changing with European rentals. This is very good information to have. I've used broker AutoEurope for years, and am confident they'd warn me ... but I always want to be ready for anything. Interesting that AmEx got left off the German's list of acceptable CCs. And the top Chase cards are blue steel, not a glitter in sight.
They had separate rules for Amex that didn't require the written proof. I assume this is because all Amex cards have consistent coverage while Visa/MC varies by issuer.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Assuming that our OP got this disclosure, the confirmation should include the insurance. Then our OP would be on notice of the actual cost risk he ran by not showing up with the proof Dollar wanted. T me, this is no different to other junk fees, like destination charges and resort fees.
It is possible it was optional to add it when booking, but not required. Remember, when you book through the website, you don’t have to prepay- you pay when you bring the car back.
 
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Oct 10, 2015
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Could you have called a Hertz headquarters from the rental office at the start of the rental to confirm what policies and obligations you would run into regarding fees and coverages?

More importantly, you need to verify in advance that your own insurance and/or your credit card do indeed cover you in a rental car (here, in Munich, Germany). Calling your insurance agent in advance would help. For your own sake, if your own sources do not cover you then you should take the coverage the rental company offers.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Could you have called a Hertz headquarters from the rental office at the start of the rental to confirm what policies and obligations you would run into regarding fees and coverages?

More importantly, you need to verify in advance that your own insurance and/or your credit card do indeed cover you in a rental car (here, in Munich, Germany). Calling your insurance agent in advance would help. For your own sake, if your own sources do not cover you then you should take the coverage the rental company offers.
I'm not confident that had I asked these questions pre-travel (which, to be sure, ought to be in writing with answers in writing) that I'd get any useful answer. Let's posit that I call my credit card and say, "Do you provide insurance coverage on car rentals?" and the rep says, "Yes, we do." Let's even assume that there is no dispute the rep said that. When an issue arises and the rental agency insists upon loss of use and administrative fees, and the insurance company says, "wait, we don't cover those," is that when I realize I ought not leave my house without a Harvard-trained lawyer by my side? Or what happens when the rep I call at Hertz (who is often, from experience, in Oklahoma City), has no idea what policies apply at Dollar in Munich? How many hours do I need to spend on the phone working my way through CSRs to find someone who, hopefully, has the right answer and who the company stands by when the stuff hits the fan?

These things ought not be that difficult. We're talking about ordinary folks making a transaction, a car rental, that they do once or twice a year, confronted with a contract, terms and conditions that go on for pages in 6 point font, and buried in there is some trap.

I stand on what I said. If Dollar wanted insurance coverage, in the confirmation they could either say, "If you show up without insurance coverage satisfactory to us, we will charge you e600 more on this rental, doubling the price," or they could put a prominent disclosure on the confirmation. The additional e600 is a material term that ought not be buried.

I recently rented a car in Florida from Avis, using Avis.com. While on the web site, I was offered CDW and other coverage for $9.95 per day from Allianz, which I thought was a fair price, as my credit card no longer offers rental car coverage. When I got to the counter, the clerk pitched the coverages you can buy at the counter, which were about $30 per day, and told me that the coverage I bought through the web site wasn't as good. Should I (a) call my insurance broker, (b) call my lawyer, (c) attempt to read both insurance contracts at the counter and figure out the differences, (d) study up on Florida law so I could appreciate the nuances of how Florida law interprets insurance contracts?

These simple consumer transactions ought not be that difficult.
 
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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I'm not confident that had I asked these questions pre-travel (which, to be sure, ought to be in writing with answers in writing) that I'd get any useful answer...

These simple consumer transactions ought not be that difficult.
I'm not sure it's fair to expect this to be a "simple consumer transaction." They are lending the consumer a $50,000 asset, so it's reasonable to require the consumer demonstrate that they can be financially responsible for it. These forums see many posts from people who damage rental cars and aren't able (or willing) to pay.

I do agree that they need to make their policies clear. To their credit, they are pretty good about this. This is the reservation confirmation they provide.

1578424073734.png
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Thank you for posting the confirmation example.

I note that Dollar has chosen not to display the cost of their insurance, even though they have figured out how to tell us how much ski racks costs.

I would like to know if anyone of our usual posters has ever received a letter from a credit card insurer verifying coverage, and if such coverage includes everything a rental agency may claim.
 
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Neil Maley

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You didn’t rent in the US. Other countries may have strict rules or even laws on ensuring that you have insurance when renting a car. It is wise to get a written copy of the credit card policy and bring it with you on the future.

In many cases your own car insurance covers rentals in the US but not in other countries. If you rent outside the US- bring the cc policy with you.
 
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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I would like to know if anyone of our usual posters has ever received a letter from a credit card insurer verifying coverage, and if such coverage includes everything a rental agency may claim.
I got one last time I rented a car in Europe, although this was some time ago. It was pretty routine for the credit card company so I gather this isn't an unusual requirement. I don't know if bringing a copy of the policy would work or not.
 
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Carrie Livingston

Moderator
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Jan 6, 2015
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We've advised bringing a copy of the policy in writing so that you have something to back up your claim that you have the insurance. Although you have to make sure you charge the rental with the card that includes the coverage.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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Thank you for posting the confirmation example.

I note that Dollar has chosen not to display the cost of their insurance, even though they have figured out how to tell us how much ski racks costs.

I would like to know if anyone of our usual posters has ever received a letter from a credit card insurer verifying coverage, and if such coverage includes everything a rental agency may claim.
When booking for Germany at Dollar If one looks the optional section the cost of the Ldw is given per day.

You are asking for a company to take your word that your foreign credit card covers the rental. How would they know? How would they collect if the renter leaves a wreck and walks away?

Some credit cards do not cover vehicles worth more than $50,000. There are all sorts of limits and the car rental company is supposed to trust you? A car also can cause more damage than its worth — borrow a $50,000 Rolex there is likely no chance of serious injury or death to others as with a $50,000 BMW — one could easily cause $100,000 worth of damage by a collision destroying two vehicles.

I rented a storage bin in October about 10 miles away from me. The storage company insisted on me bringing my personal property home insurance policy declaration page to prove I had coverage otherwise I would have had to pay for their insurance.

Saying trust me I am covered does not work. Foreign car rentals want to be reassured that there is some way to claim locally and not hire foreign lawyers to chase after Capital One business card holder in the US.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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I respectfully disagree.

If a car rental company does not carry its own insurance to protect against loss and build that into the price, but wishes to shift that cost to its customers, it can say right on the front page that the rental is e600, and that the insurance is e600, for a total of e1200, and then state that they will waive the insurance charge if you show up with proof that your insurance will cover a loss. What Dollar (and others) are trying to do is to have the "lowest" price to attract business, and then add stuff later at the counter.

That does not deal with claims for "administrative fees" and "loss of use" that my credit card, my personal insurance or even the rental company's insurance may not cover.

That also does not address the pricing disparity. The real cost of the risk Dollar wishes me to assume is not e600, since Capital One and my own insurance bundle that coverage into my exiting deal at no added cost. The e600 charge is mainly profit.
 
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