Reader Shawn shared their experience booking an award with Hertz recently and getting charged full price for the rental anyway, then getting caught up in the void of the rental company’s lack of customer service channels.
- He redeemed Hertz points for a rental at the San Francisco airport.
- His name was on the board on arrival, and it directed him to the Presidents Circle area where a Hertz employee directed him to take his choice of four cars that were there.
- The award was for a standard sized vehicle, but all that were there were SUV crossovers (“2 Buicks, a Hyundai and a Kia”). With the shortage of cars recently it’s not surprising to see Hertz assigning whatever car is available rather than giving the reserved car class to the customer. He took the Kia as it was “smallest” and he’d “be doing a lot of driving and California gas prices are high.”
When he returned the car he got an emailed receipt showing he was charged “the full dollar amount of the rental.” When he called customer service he faced “several long holds” but was finally told he was charged because he “did not select the right vehicle type at SFO.”
In other words, he used his point for a standard vehicle. Hertz didn’t have that car, so the points couldn’t be used. Hertz did him a favor by renting him anything at all, but demanded cash for that rental. Only they never told the customer this was happening and that his award reservation wasn’t valid.
Hertz agreed to a “one-time exception” to return his points. He still had to pay, but Hertz agreed not to keep both his points and his money and this was supposed to be a favor.
Since that call he’s tried to get attention and resolution from Hertz to no available, including emailing ‘Executive Office’ addresses fond online and followup calls to customer service and attempts to escalate the case. He’s just asking for the points to be taken and the charge reversed, as it should have been from the start.
I would consider the following steps:
- Dispute the charge with the customer’s credit card. The charge wasn’t authorized. And there’s confirmation (the award booking) that this wasn’t supposed to be cost of the rental.
- Complain to his state’s consumer protection department
- Sue in small claims court for return of the funds
Ultimately however renting from Hertz he should consider himself lucky that there were even cars available to reserve that they actually honored the reservation and that he wasn’t sent to prison for stealing the car he’d rented.