Absurd: Hertz Keeps Charging Tesla Renters Hundreds Of Dollars For Not Filling Up Gas

A week ago I wrote about a Hertz President Circle member charged $277 for returning a rented Tesla without filling it with gas. That’s the second-most Hertz thing ever, after getting arrested because the rental company reported the car you rented stolen.

And just like getting arrested just for being a Hertz customer – and Hertz refusing to admit its mistake lest the police stop believing them when they file false police reports – appears to be anything but a one-off. Being charged exorbitant rates for not filling up the gas on an electric vehicle seems to be a systemic problem for this very broken rental car agency.


Hertz Tesla Model 3

It turns out that Hertz charging Tesla EV customers for gas wasn’t a one-off. They’ve been doing it for ages, and frequently. Sometimes customers get the money refunded because EVs don’t take gas while other times customers bang their head against the Hertz customer service wall, being told that charges cannot be adjusted.

  • A customer returning their Tesla with 21% battery expected to pay a $25 fee for not charging. Instead they got hit with a $340.97 ‘Skip the Pump’ fee, “Hertz’s customer service was difficult to reach, and that it took making a ruckus on social media to get Hertz’s attention.”

  • A Presidents Club top tie elite member was charged $475.19 for fuel in addition to the $25 charging fee, and was also “rebilled” $125.01 for Supercharging that should have cost $15.

This second case was just over a week ago.

Here’s a Facebook post showing Hertz charging for refueling a Tesla over a year ago, so the issue seems to have been going on for quite some time.

Hertz is in the process of unloading many of its Teslas. They’ve proven much more expensive to maintain than the company expected, and much less desired by customers. They are very good cars, but they take some adjusting to – which isn’t something you want to do for a single trip. Plus charging takes time, and you don’t want to go out of your way and spend 25 minutes charging on the way to the airport.

My advice is not to buy a Hertz Tesla, and not just because buying used ex-rental cars is always dicey. Rental cars get beaten up by drivers and even by staff and aren’t as well cared for as a car owned by a single individual.

The condition of Hertz Teslas is apparently worse in particular battery wear. These are high mileage vehicles for their age and when I rented one it was charged to 98% at pickup. Recommended battery care is charging to 80% for regular driving and 90% for occasional long-distance driving. Plus nearly all charging will be done with high speed chargers on a rental vehicle.

And I guess the biggest reason not to trust a Hertz Tesla is because, based on their customer invoicing practices, they seem to be filling the EVs with gas?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Instead of being an early adopter of EVs, rental car companies should be late adopters.

    As far as rough treatment of the battery, that is common with new generation things….often high tech, low durability, sometimes unrepairable.

  2. Why hasn’t a state attorney general sued Hertz by now? And why are corporate travel departments still booking Hertz? Impacted customers should just file small claim court lawsuits.

  3. I used to rent from Hertz occasionally but my go to place was Enterprise. Now Enterprise is ridiculously high so I have been having good luck renting at Budget. I am now leery of Hertz and especially wouldn’t rent a full electric vehicle from any company. More than a year ago I rented a Prius at Miami which turned out to be just what I needed. No extra charges except for some tolls.

  4. “19 Things I Love About The Capital One Venture X Card”

    16. Hertz Elite Status

    A Thought Leader, May 6, 2024

  5. @Alert, I rented at Budget for a week. I was visiting my sister near Tampa and wanted to see some of southern Florida. The Prius was $20 higher but I figured that the fuel savings would more than cover that. I stayed overnight in Hollywood and Fort Meyers on the way and Naples on the way back. I didn’t see any of the destruction by the hurricane but I didn’t go to the worst hit areas.

  6. Hertz has gotten very bad in the last several years and is not even a moment’s consideration anymore when thinking about renting a car. I had several experiences in a row where the requested car was not available on arrival. As a matter of fact no cars were available and at one time I had to wait for over 90 minutes for them to find a car at another location and send someone to retrieve it. And it was delivered to me not cleaned and smelly. Additionally on more than one occasion, they tried to tack on an extra day saying I did not return it at the proper time even though it was fully spelled out and returned as agreed. Guess I was lucky they did not arrest me.

  7. Enterprise and National have always treated me well. Hertz is usually the most expensive, yet their service levels are those of a third tier company.

  8. The writing has been on the wall for a while with Hertz.
    Why anyone would rent from them is a mystery knowing their abusive treatment of customers.

  9. I gave up on Hertz after inadvertently locking the key in the trunk while visiting Puerto Rico.
    No calls to customer service were answered. Eventually I contacted someone in the states. But of course he was of no use. He kept insisting that I give him the rental agreement information. Because who carries that with them at a beach?
    I finally found someone who knew a guy. He was able to pop the lock in a couple of minutes and cost me $40
    Money well spent I guess.
    When I returned the car and complained about the lack of response, the clerk shrugged. I didn’t even get an apology. And Hertz never gave me one either.

  10. Can I ask a question? Why does Hertz deactivate the radar/ adaptive cruise control on all of the cars it rents? I find this very annoying. Who owns the company now? Very grateful I have not been arrested yet too.

  11. “Why anyone would rent from them is a mystery knowing their abusive treatment of customers.”
    I bet the vast majority of people renting from them know nothing about their practices.

  12. @Alert. “anything tech is dumb”… Says the guy using technology to post a comment on a website (which is also tech)

  13. They charged me for using a Tesla Supercharger. They also billed me for more electricity than the car could possibly have used given the miles I traveled. I also sent them the receipt for the Chargepoint charger I actually used. Took 3 phone calls.

  14. I did a one-way rental and didn’t care what car I got so the Hertz rep talked me into a Tesla 3 that had been sitting unrented for a week. As an incentive he set it up so I wouldn’t get charged for not charging before returning. Guess what? I got charged. It took me a couple of calls, with 30+ minutes on hold on the Presidents Circle line, but I got the charge removed. The car itself was in terrible shape with interior trim parts falling off.

  15. Though recently retired, as a travel agent I booked a Tesla for a client flying to Atlanta, renting a Hertz car, and driving to Athens, Georgia and back, not a long trip. He charged the car in Athens and then returned the car to ATL The rate was low and he was curious to give it a try. Not only was he charged the outrageous re-charge fee, but also a charge for missing power cables. I called Hertz’s travel industry desk, but there was nothing they could do. (They at least were sympathetic.) I then wrote a letter to the Hertz president and sent it return receipt requested to their corporate headquarters. That got their attention and they reversed the outrageous recharging fee and the erroneous missing cables fee. In general as a traveler myself I still find Hertz a good choice, but how they completely fumbled the roll-out of EVs into their fleet is a study in corporate malpractice.

  16. Well its Hertz 2024 a Total Turd Company that cant be trusted on any level
    I’d walk before renting a car for them hitch hike ride share use a taxi anything but

  17. How do they still have customers? Im sure this will remain loyal, maybe because they escaped being arrested for renting a vehicle. I canceled my membership when they started arresting everyone.

  18. Interesting: I left a comment regarding my experience with renting a Hertz Tesla. I had no problems with the rental BUT… it was published on this site…now deleted! Is this web site getting like CNN? Strange

  19. Hertz does not exist. If there is no car available except from Hertz, there is no car available.

  20. Last summer we rented an EV in Norway. No additional charge after returning the car after 200+ km. That should be the rule for EVs because of the time needed to charge the car & the small amount of electricity cost.

  21. @Alert. EVs are not “tech”, or high tech by any means. Electric motor and battery technology predate the internal combustion engine.

    Now what about EVs getting a free pass in terms of paying for roads and highways, as they aren’t paying gas taxes? So once again leftists are in favor of tax breaks for the wealthy, not the poor. Now leftists view taxes not as paying for government, but a purely punitive measure to punish who/what they hate, which is extremely dangerous.

  22. @Mantis – nice right-wing talking point that shows your ignorance. Many states have additional registration fees for EVs to compensate for the lost gas tax. In EV-unfriendly states like Texas, the fee is pretty high. In some states, EV charging stations are taxed on their electricity as well.

  23. Dude in Model 3 drove over 4000 miles in one week? Seems like an odd choice for that volume of driving.

    Even normal ICE cars can be amazing for MPG. I got 39 mpg overall in a Camry SE and 48 mpg overall in a Corolla LE in latter part of 2023.

  24. I wouldn’t rent a Tesla from Hertz for another reason. I’d need to plan my trip, including where to charge. That’s actually not a problem with a Tesla. It’s relatively easy. But it’s impossible when Hertz offers you a “Tesla Model 3 or similar car “.

    If you reserve something that runs on gasoline, a similar car fills up in the same places. Other EVs use different charging networks.

    If they can’t get people like me who want a Tesla to rent a Tesla, there’s little hope for someone who is hesitant to try one out.

  25. “My advice is not to buy a Hertz Tesla, and not just because buying used ex-rental cars is always dicey.”

    While true, I’ve always purchased used rentals through a reputable dealer like CarMax, which includes a decent warranty policy for a year. And I’m ok with accepting that risk after 1 year. I normally don’t have many issues overall. But purchasing a used rental through a reputable dealer is, most times through my experience, just fine.

  26. NEVER HIRE EV from Thrifty, it’s a whole corporate issue I hired from thrifty at DCA (a hertz company). they gave me the car at 91% charged. I returned it at 76 % charged. they gave me a credit of $4 for the 9%. they shortchanged me but when it came time to charge a fee for the difference, they hit me with a $35 refill fee.
    I got full emails with a range of excuses /explanations for what it came down to was they have no intention of fixing the issue.
    that how I had other issues like a damaged tire and a vehicle swap taking 25 minutes at the gate.
    I cannot ever recommend hiring from Thrifty DCA an EV vehicle, they are doing this to everybody and the reviews just keep saying we are sorry and we will look into it which they never do.

  27. I’ve had no issues with my Hertz rentals (Recently had one in Florida – great car/service)…though Budget in Sydney Australia didn’t give me a sedan as I wanted. Only SUVs.

    I think it might be nice to be arrested for not returning a car I actually did. Being called a thief, being put in jail for a week, then suing Hertz and making lots of money.

    Then I could retire properly and could afford to pay National/Enterprise whatever they want and never rent from Hertz again!

    How’s that for a life plan?

  28. About 30 years ago, after I had just graduated from college, I was invited for an in-person interview with a company in Florida. The company arranged all travel, including a rental car with Hertz. When I got to the counter, they refused to rent the car to me because I was under 25 and didn’t have enough available credit on my personal credit card for their exorbitant reserve amount, even though the company was paying for it. I went to Payless and a very nice agent accommodated me with no problem, and I vowed from that day on, I would never rent from Hertz. It’s amazing they’ve managed to stay in business despite their best efforts to drive their own company into the ground.

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