Hertz Charged Presidents Circle Member $277 For Not Filling Gas Tank On A Tesla, Won’t Remove Fees

A Hertz Presidents Circle customer was charged a fee of $277.39 for not filling up the gas on a Tesla model 3 in Los Angeles. This is an obvious, impossible claim because it’s a Tesla that doesn’t run on gas. But Hertz customer service is so bad, that they kept doubling down saying that there’s ‘nothing they can do’ about the charge.

  • The customer even has the ‘skip the pump and save time’ prepaid fuel option selected for rentals. This is almost never a good idea, unless you’re literally returning a gas vehicle empty.

  • But that fee on a gas vehicle would be less than what Hertz charged.

  • And there is no fuel tank to fill on a Tesla EV. Prepaid fuel is based on the capacity of the gas tank being filled, and that amount here should be zero.

Here’s what Hertz customer service had to say though,

I am unable to provide an adjustment or refund since the service was provided and contract is closed. Your signed rental agreement will also be our basis that you are fully aware of the fuel option that was added on the contract. I hope I was able to clarify this with you. Thank you for allowing me to review and assist you with your concern.

Hertz charged for refueling of the Tesla. They doubled down that the refueling “service was provided.” Follow up phone calls couldn’t get Hertz to reverse these charges.

When I rented a Hertz Tesla, it had 50,000 miles on it and I picked it up with a 98% charge. Best practice is charging to 80% for everyday driving and 90% before long drives.

Hertz policy solved a key pain point where they were requiring customers to spend 25 minutes charging, after finding a charging station, on the way to the airport when they lowered fees for not charging prior to drop off – $35, or $25 for rewards members. This customer actually returned the car with a 96% charge, the same as they’d picked it up at.

Even at $9.99 per gallon, the charge would have represented more than a 27 gallon fill up. That would largely be possible only in a pickup truck or large SUV even if the rented vehicle had an internal combustion engine.

The driver is disputing the charge with his credit card company, however that is likely to get his descendants placed on the company’s No Rent list. It’s probably just a good idea to take not being arrested at gunpoint for renting from Hertz as a W and move on.

(HT: Paul H)

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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  1. Same thing happened to me. Hertz, lax, tesla 3. They just kept saying there is nothing they can do.

  2. This isn’t an honest mistake or even incompetence, rather fraud. The customer should press charges with the local police, the state Attorney General and the FBI.

    Hertz has a long track record of cheating customers. I don’t know how they stay in business.

  3. Hertz is a criminal enterprise – files false police reports and commits fraud by charging customers for services that it knows were not provided. As I have repeatedly said, DOJ needs to arrest Hertz executives and then you would see this behavior cease very quickly. Maybe Merrick Garland can spare a few agents from the RICO squad.

  4. Similar with Budget.
    So I left a Google review to that end.
    Screenshot it.
    Posted on Twitter and tagged them.
    Less than an hour and it’s all fixed…
    Almost all of that hour was them saying they could only fix it in DM.

  5. We all remember the Seinfeld episode with the car reservation, I would say ok no worries keep the charge and rent it again, and just like the rental agent asked Seinfeld if he wanted insurance he said sure because he was going to beat the hell out of the car.

  6. @GUWonder, re: fox story… As annoying it is to watch wealthy college students protesting about issues they are completely ignorant about, it’s a bit insane to think that warrants putting them on the no fly list. It’s an added insult that House Republicans would take up this cause, politicize it for their gain in an election year, while doing nothing for the real jabronees who cause trouble on flights, attack crews and passengers, and cause delays and diversions. No national no-fly list for those bozos. They’re free to hop on the next willing carrier.

  7. Me and my gf did the ‘skip the pump and save time’ when we had our rental car. We had just gotten back from a cruise in TX and had decided to drive back home to CA instead of flying. When I returned the car, I swear to you that it was running on fumes

  8. I had a similar issue with budget and a key. I forgot to return the key after dropping the car early but within an hour came back and dropped it back, which was before the original return time.

    When I returned the key the manager said don’t worry I’ll take care of it.

    Then when i saw the charge I called the airport office, sent in some information/proof I came back and they said they would get back to me which they did from customer support saying I need to speak to the airport again.

    I called general customer support and they said they would get back to me within 2 days but never did.
    So I filed a charge back on the cc.

    The fee was $450 .
    I should have gotten proof that I returned the key but the manager said no need and she wasn’t interested in giving me any.

  9. The major car rental companies – with the exception of Enterprise – seem to be doing their very best to tell customers to bug off and use Uber. Even when it would be significantly cheaper to rent a car, I use rideshare services to avoid horrible customer service and bogus upcharges. Enterprise seems to be the only one that realizes customers have choices and you have to earn their business.

  10. What a weird thing to say in regards to the customer disputing a charge on their credit card. What’s up with gen-Z being so fearful of using credit card charge backs? Cudos to the customer for taking a stand and not rolling over like a wet noodle.

  11. While it may be true that the customer was charged 277 for fuel let’s consider the reality. Electricity is the fuel for EV’s. Electricity doea have a real cost. Driving an EV until it is empty, depleted of power, is an act of irresponsibility at the very least.
    The vehicle will have to get towed to a charging sation, you cannot bring a gallon of electricity to the vehicle. One cannot gain entry to the vehicle (Tesla models) if the batteries are depleted. Now someone has to be called to enter the vehicle. The 12v low voltage battery is charged by the large high voltage battery banks. When these are depleted the low voltage battery is no longer charged. Why is this important ? Because the low voltage battery controls ALL of the vehicle’s computer systems. Inclusive of those required for charging the large battery banks. Yes, multitudes of EV’s with depleted batteries are rented and returned depleted. Yes, I do charge individuals and rental companies for my expertise in dealing with the multitude of issues being experienced by these depleted vehicles. Yes, igorance and entitlement do have a cost.

  12. I rented a Tesla 3 from Hertz while my gas car was in the shop for 6 weeks due to parts shortages last August. Hertz took my credit card and explained that the “gas bill” will come later and this will cover those charges. The agent even told me what “full” was. I kept track of each charge for the six weeks. I used the Tesla super chargers around my hometown and, for grins, plugged it in at a Hampton Inn to see how that worked. I monitor my Acura’s gas consumption the same way. I’m in the airline business and I learned no NEVER trust your butt to a $5.00 gas gauge. I didn’t know the dollar amount but I knew the KW/hrs. and a rough calculation as to my usage. I my guesstimate was way higher than actual. I stopped at a super charger near the house and topped it off. No problems. I also take pictures of the entire car and instrument panel with my iPhone and my watch in view before I drive out and when I drive in. The meta data proves when the photo was taken, too. I’m beginning to think that this “fraud” committed to this particular renter was the entire “fuel bill” and NOT just not failure to “topping it off”.

  13. After decades of renting with Hertz Gold, I had a similar experience with them last year. They overcharged me for the rental and admitted it, but refused to give the refund. Then overcharged for toll usage by upgrading me to their unlimited plan which tripled the bill when I hadn’t signed up for it. Ended up having to dispute both charges with my CC, which sided with me from the clear documentation. Hertz sent me to collections for both and put me on their DNR list. Honestly that part is fantastic because I’ve switched to Avis which has been a great company so far. Like Hertz was before the pandemic. I get nice low mileage cars unlike the beaters that Hertz gives out now. Hertz is a fraudulent company and i reported them to the NC attorney general with proof, but they said it was a civil matter and refused to get involved. It’s a shame what these frauds can get away with.

  14. Boycott Hertz and Theifty!! If the executive choose to defraud the public then the public should feel obligated to drive them out of business. We had a similar situation in San Diego a couple of weeks ago and my company will never rent from Hertz!Thrifty ever again. We will pay twice as much from a different company before we will use them again!

  15. I rented from them in LAX. Prepaid rental and they wouldn’t let me leave until I bought their insurance which they say is required in Cali. No insurance, no rental and no refund. Not according to their T&C. Then I filled up and dropped off they said I didn’t return full. Gave the guy my receipt (paid cash, my mistake) but took picture of pump for my records, proceeded with metadata showing time and location. Refused, disputes with AMEX & they respond to them with accusations of fraud and will sue me if I attempt to challenge. Filed formal complaint with Cali AG office and within 2 weeks received response from corporate saying it is a teachable moment and reversed the charges and refunded me for the rental. Car rentals are the most stressful part of the trip when personal.

  16. Just to be flip side of all these comments. I have been renting from Hertz for over 30 years business travel. Some time in the presidents circle but mostly just a gold member. I have had a few issues at Hertz, but without fail, they always make it right. I love Hertz. My company switched the preferred vendor to Enterprise, but I still use Hertz for all my personal travel.

  17. There’s really only one question here. Did he return it with a full fuel tank or not?

    Customer says there’s no tank? OK. That’s a $3,500 charge for not returning the vehicle with major parts, because he obviously modified the vehicle prior to returning it.

  18. Excerpt….
    Update May 9, 12:45 p.m. ET: After this story was published, Hertz informed The Drive that its Customer Care team would be “reaching out to Mr. Lee to apologize and will refund this erroneous charge.”

  19. Hertz employees are total scum. I had a rental where I got charged for gas (despite just filling up before drop off) and damage (small scratch on the back bumper). I didn’t hit anything, but maybe the car was hit while parked, so I filed an insurance claim. Hertz would not respond to Amex and when I would request in plain English for a document they would either ignore it or send the wrong thing, causing me to be unable to recoup my money. The kicker here is their pre-rental pictures do not show the back bumper clearly and they refuse to check CCTV of the return lot (car was there two hours between drop off and them checking it in, so could’ve been hit), so they can’t even prove the damage wasn’t pre-existing or happened later. Every single interaction I had with a Hertz employee (when I wasn’t straight up ignored) was them in CYA mode for Hertz, zero desire to help me (even when I was just trying to file a claim). I even had a Hertz employee tell me their German team took a month to respond to an email because of timezones – I’m unsure if she thought I was too stupid to understand how timezones work or if she didn’t quite grasp them.

    The sooner Hertz goes out of business and their workforce ends up flipping burgers, the better. Although I’m not sure I’d trust them with food.

  20. I bought a car from Hertz car sales. It turned out the brrajs gad to be replaced within six weeks. There was a smell of exaust in the cabin and it then turned out, the car had been off the road for 12 months.

    NEVER buy a car from these people.

  21. Fraudulent billing by Hertz on a car I did not even rent. Despite many rounds of letters, emails, and calls, the issue was only resolved after taking them to small claims court. Forget customer service. Hertz seems only responsive to litigation.

  22. Renting from Hertz is like banking at Wells Fargo….. just asking to be abused, tricked, and scammed…

  23. Hertz charged me on an ICE car that I refilled prior to returning it. I sent in the info via Hertz’s website stating that I could send the refill receipt AND a picture of the dashboard before returning the car if they provided me the instructions. Within 3 days, I got an email stating all refill expenses would be refunded. When I get that credit card bill, I will check. But Hertz has been great for this rental (assuming the refund is posted as promised).

  24. Someone should contact the justice dept.
    They will be delighted to F. Hertz .

  25. I have stopped renting from Hertz. I am a Gold Member, while renting once on my phone I barely touched the screen and the pay fuel I advance ticked itself. Every time I try to in tick it, I get an ERROR MESSAGE

  26. Years ago at LAX the car class I reserved “wasn’t available” and they wouldn’t give me an upgrade without paying for it. I complained afterwards to corporate, who basically told me to pound sand. That was in December and the next month I switched all my rentals – about 20 a year – and went over to National.

  27. Hertz send me an email that my points would expire 3/15 they removed them 1/1 and refuse to put them back. After 20yrs and top tier renter. I am letting then AG deal with it. Till my points are returned i no longer rent from them nor will my company.

  28. I rented a Tesla from Hertz. They bill your credit card every time you use a Tesla charger. You have to check the rates of the charger that you use. Depending on the amount of time that the vehicle was rented and how often it was driven, it can’t easily rack up to 200 bucks.

  29. Thought Leader continues to tout the perks of Hertz elite status, no matter how many times Hertz screws over customers

  30. I have not rented with Hertz in close to a decade. They get people arrested for no reason, over charge deposits if you are black and live in the Detroit area but a caucasion person from Germany does not have that same deposit required in DTW??? I rent probably 4 times a month all ovwr the World Hertz is the worst.

  31. Jay,

    It’s long been the case that the rules applicable at some car rental locations provide more flexible and or even favorable terms for drivers who flow in from abroad and are to fly back/onward than it is for locals trying to rent a car. This kind of thing is something I would see quite a bit more for local people who tried to rent with a debit card than for foreigners who tried to rent with a debit card. Also there are different risks sometimes applicable based on whether a renter is using a credit card instead of a debit card. Also the card-provided insurance coverage or even home insurance coverage for rental car isn’t uniform and that can mean something in terms of what kind of authorization a rental location may try to charge. This isn’t to say that there isn’t probably also a racial discrepancy in the practices of some rental car locations.

  32. This is outrageous if true. I will add my experiences, which were good. I only rent Teslas via Hertz. In the beginning, there was a rule to bring it back with the same amount of charge as you received it. They were always at 50 to 80%. I always did, so I never knew what the “fine” would be. Now it is posted online that if you fail to do that, there is an $8 “convenience fee”. To charge a Tesla costs about $12. The last two times I rented, including 3 days ago, the check out charge was at 98%. It takes 15 minutes to charge a Tesla from 10% to 80%. It takes an hour to get it to 98%. So it is a no-brainer to just pay the fee and not waste time. Obvious to me, they are charging them to 98% so that you wont have time to bring it back with 98%, wont be able to, and they make a few extra bucks. I did this, and the fee was added. No problem.

  33. There is no situation where it should be $277. Furthermore, any company that rents electric vehicles should have charging stations on site and should be able to replenish the battery seamlessly. Customers should be encouraged not to waste time charging before they return the vehicle. A nominal charge to top up should be all that’s required. Trying to maximize revenue and rip off customers is the strategy a lot of places use, but they should instead provide a good service for a reasonable price.

  34. Same thing happened to me but my was truck I put 26 gallons it looked filled they charge me over$150
    They said it wasn’t full
    And it’s a small truck 1500 Silverado

  35. Simply fill the teslas passenger or battery pack with gasoline as the contract calls for! Any issues from this is hertz’s problem then!

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