Hertz wouldn't honor the price quoted for by their online reservation system

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Jan 16, 2020
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I made an online reservation through the Hertz.com web site for a car in South Africa.
The reservation confirmation stated very clearly "AMOUNT TO BE PAID AT TIME OF RENT" and then repeated that amount elsewhere on the confirmation under "WHAT YOU PAY AT THE COUNTER". I have read and re-read all the fine print and had others review it and there were absolutely no "gotchas".
The amount included taxes,a tourism levy and a 1-way drop fee. Any optional items chosen at the counter (CDW, theft, fuel etc etc) were in addition to this amount. There is just no room for misinterpretation of the price.
When I got to the counter the agent pulled up the reservation in her system and it showed a completely different amount, about double my quote. I obtained a copy of the system reservation from the agent. The "base fee", "tourism levy" and "1-way drop fee" matched and added to the taxes came out to the figure I was quoted. The "cont fee", "CDW", "TP", "SW" and VAT were extras that the agent insisted I pay to rent the car.
I refused and after a half hour of heated argument including a backroom call to her supervisor, she refused to deviate from what her system told her. So I was stuck with either paying what she wanted or attempting to rent a car at another rental agency two miles up the road.
Then something odd happened. She offered to cancel the original reservation and rent me a similar car at a cheaper price to what my original quote was. So I actually saved money. I should have been happy, but I was infuriated. What if she didn't have any cars available? And does the S African franchisee have some kind of scam going on with franchise fees or commission because I had now essentially become a "walk-in".
I made 2 phone calls to the Cape Town Hertz customer service numbers I found. No-one answered the phone during office hours and there was no voice mail. I emailed the S African customer service address but never received a reply. I opened a complaint with Hertz US (07418592) and did receive a reply, but they don't seem to have a record of my original reservation - just the replacement reservation, so they don't see a problem. I, of course, have a copy of the original.
I'm not happy because I haven't been able to obtain an explanation of why this happened, and I won't trust Hertz any more to honor an international reservation.
 

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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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The charges are largely consistent with the quote. At the counter, they added two days of CDW, theft and SuperCDW coverage. The counter rate for these is actually lower than the quote because the VAT on these items is added to the VAT line. I'm not sure what "cont fee" is, but they only charged for one day of theft coverage so perhaps they're related. In any event, the counter charges are very close to what the quote said if all coverages are added.

According to Hertz's web site, to decline theft and CDW you would need to "provide proof of insurance (i.e. a current letter from your Insurance Company)". Were you able to provide this?

SuperCDW (SW) should have been optional so you have a legitimate complaint if they forced you to take that.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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Evidently a "cont fee" is a contract fee:

Why do I pay a Contract Fee?​
There is a legal requirement to store documents for a period of five years and the cost of administering, storing and retrieving documents necessitates an amount be charged per rental contract.​
Contract Fee, R 85.00 per rental (including VAT).​

It seems like they should have disclosed this when you made your reservation.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Are you serious? If I've ever paid a Contract Fee for a rental car anywhere in the world, it surely wasn't more than $20. I realize that the current trend in travel is to load the customer with undisclosed fees, but dealing with documents is part of the cost of doing business, they can't charge extra for it!

"Why do I pay a Contract Fee?
There is a legal requirement to store documents for a period of five years and the cost of administering, storing and retrieving documents necessitates an amount be charged per rental contract.

Contract Fee, R 85.00 per rental (including VAT)."
 

Barry Graham

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Jan 7, 2015
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According to their terms and conditions https://www.hertz.co.za/terms-conditions/ I agree that the CDW is mandatory if you can't provide proof of coverage and that the "Cont fee" is mandatory. I don't see that TP is mandatory even though I've seen others here and elsewhere say that it is. I don't believe they had any right to add SW or TP without agreement by the customer but it is pretty outrageous that they ended up having a price (with all the coverage if that is the case) that was cheaper than the original. They also should not have said "what you pay" without including the cont fee and without mentioning the requirements for avoiding CDW.
 
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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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Are you serious? If I've ever paid a Contract Fee for a rental car anywhere in the world, it surely wasn't more than $20. I realize that the current trend in travel is to load the customer with undisclosed fees, but dealing with documents is part of the cost of doing business, they can't charge extra for it!
R85 is $5.04 + $0.84 VAT. It looks like all the South African car rental companies charge it.
 
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Barry Graham

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From the "Rental Qualifications and Requirements" when you book on the Hertz.com web site:

View attachment 3230
I got caught in a similar way recently regarding the "included" Hertz Connect in Europe which was only included if you spend more than a certain amount, but you have to click on a little "i" in order to see that disclosure.

I'm kind of fed up with Hertz's warnings that only show up if you happen to click on one of these multiple twisties
1579578506508.png
or if you click on this on the "Review and Book" screen
1579578640001.png
Here is what it says at "What you pay" for a test booking I just started
1579578697217.png
It says nothing about the contract fee which is unavoidable. It really ought to include that in the total above. The terms and conditions on their web site don't mention TP being mandatory but as you stated, the disclosure on the reservation page (which is not exactly easy to notice) does say it, if you happen to click on the right link, which is one of 35 links that are hidden initially. If there is requirement to bring a letter of coverage, it ought to be displayed on the confirmation page without having to click on any links. This is definitely worth an e-mail to one of our Hertz contacts.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I just sent one.

It's a particularly poorly designed reservation site for non-US reservations. I did find the coverage info hidden under "view optional items" on the reservation page. The "?" popups do say they're required if you don't have proof of insurance. Nothing about doc fees, though

1579587168662.png

Out of curiosity, I tried the same reservation on Hertz.co.za (the South African site). The South African site includes all the coverages except superCDW by default. And, they are very explicit about what this means. Amazingly, the total with everything included is less than the reservation on the US site (as the OP experienced). Not unlimited mileage, though.

1579587240410.png
 
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Jan 16, 2020
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To answer SMD: Regarding CDW, I made it clear to the agent my credit card covered CDW, and all the other optional extras, I declined.
The replacement car I rented did not include unlimited mileage, as Neil Maley pointed out, but I was OK with that - I wasn't going very far.
 
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As far as "a letter from my insurance company is concerned", I did have proof of coverage with me, but the agent never asked for it, and what good would it be anyway? My US insurance company won't cover anything abroad anyway.
 

Neil Maley

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As far as "a letter from my insurance company is concerned", I did have proof of coverage with me, but the agent never asked for it, and what good would it be anyway? My US insurance company won't cover anything abroad anyway.
You needed a copy of the policy that your credit card offers- not your insurance policy from the US, which wouldn’t over there. Whenever you claim you have insurance through your credit card- you need to bring a copy of the policy so the car rental company sees it, not just takes your word for it. I would use this as a lesson going forward to anyone who rents a car out of the country.
 
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Nov 22, 2019
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You needed a copy of the policy that your credit card offers- not your insurance policy from the US, which wouldn’t over there. Whenever you claim you have insurance through your credit card- you need to bring a copy of the policy so the car rental company sees it, not just takes your word for it. I would use this as a lesson going forward to anyone who rents a car out of the country.
Also it is good to read the policy carefully to know the limits, exceptions (Italy is not covered on mine for instance). I try to read all my credit card policies every 6 months for travel insurance, rental protection, etc... Sometimes it changes or is removed with email notice (that can be left unread....).
 
Jan 16, 2020
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You needed a copy of the policy that your credit card offers- not your insurance policy from the US, which wouldn’t over there. Whenever you claim you have insurance through your credit card- you need to bring a copy of the policy so the car rental company sees it, not just takes your word for it. I would use this as a lesson going forward to anyone who rents a car out of the country.
I always carry an up to date softcopy of my credit card benefits when I travel. It was immaterial in this case. The agent wasn't interested. All she cared about was what her "system" told her and that meant I didn't get the car for the price I was quoted.
 
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Oct 10, 2015
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(quote) ... I did have proof of coverage with me, but ... what good would it be anyway? My US insurance company won't cover anything abroad anyway ... {end quote}

(off topic) You should have insurance. If neither your own insurance company nor your credit card nor a travel club you belong to would cover that rental then you really should select and pay for coverage that the rental company offers you.
 
Jan 16, 2020
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Just to close out this thread, I did contact Hertz company contacts per your recommendation, and after a few iterations backwards and forwards their concluding message was "we will not discuss the outcome of any internal investigation with our customers". Entirely unsatisfactory, and I will be making another post on this site (without all the details.... I will refer to this thread) and any other Hertz review sites I can find to suggest people we wary of booking international car reservations through the Hertz web site.