Hertz Nightmare: Customer Fined $436 Before They Even Rented The Car

A Hertz customer accomplished a new feat in the annals of rental car company disservice, actually being charged for a red light ticket before even renting the vehicle.

They rented the vehicle on May 15th at the Calgary Airport for a period of six days, starting at 10:30 p.m. However the agent at the airport logged the rental as starting at 10:30 a.m.

  • They were hit with an extra day’s charge, beyond the period they actually had the car for
  • And the previous renter “ran a red light at 2:33pm.” But since the system now saw them as having the car at the time, their credit card was hit with $436.50 for the bill.

It would have been impossible for the customer to have had the car at 2:33 p.m. because they were inflight on American Airlines. They provided copies of their boarding passes. Hertz agreed with them about the rental start time – they removed the extra day’s charge – but they still refused to budge on the red light ticket (or the extra fees associated the with the extra day – Hertz removed only the base rental charge). And now Hertz has refused to communicate further, it seems.

Much of the advice to this customer has been to just dispute the charges and that’s fine if you do not plan to rent from Hertz or any of their affiliated companies again. Even a righteous dispute might get you placed on their Do Not Rent list. Hertz has even been known to ban a customer’s descendants, too.

Considering the Hertz toll scam, charging customers who rent Teslas for failing to fill up the gas and of course a history of customers getting arrested just because they rented from the company – and Hertz refusing to admit its mistake lest the police stop believing them when they file false police reports, just getting charged for tickets written by police before you rented the vehicle doesn’t actually seem that bad in the scheme of things?

One Customer’s Idea: A Custom-Wrap In Case Police Show Up

In fact, isn’t this the least you expect to happen to you when you rent from Hertz? And it’s not even their first example of imposing time travel on a customer. Earlier this year I wrote about one person who tried to rent from Hertz for the very first time and found they’d already been banned by the company.

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. If they rent cars with leather seats then they have chosen to not honestly care about life. That means much more than any law made by man. If people ignore needless and preventable killing and expect those that do those things needlessly to behave then they are behaving as out of line as a person expecting people with drug addictions to behave reliable.

  2. I’ve written about Hertz before. They are beyond shady. Deny insurance, yet insurance is in your contract. You’re at the airport and in a hurry obviously so you sign the contract thinking you’re not paying for insurance because you just declined it. Yet you get a charge worth more than the rental for insurance and there’s nothing that can be done because you signed a contract that they snuck insurance on. This company sucks, Hertz your wallet as the wife and I say.

  3. Why is this and similar actions not fraud. Hello FTC consumer protection agency. Looks like Hertz is involved in deceptive practices, maybe.

  4. The other problem is that some major companies have agreements with Hertz. Their travel departments will utilize them if they have a location where you’re traveling; and; usually; they do. You can almost automatically become a Gold customer without paying any fees.

  5. I’m currently living a Hertz nightmare rental story. Was upsold and deceived by a counter agent to the tune of a $1,200 additional charge for my rental. Countless phone calls and complaint submissions proved fruitless, so I challenged the charges with my credit card company. They immediately refunded and are dealing with Hertz for me. I will NEVER use Hertz again!

  6. I would NEVER rent from Hertz. A couple years ago an out-of-town friend came to see me and rented from Hertz in Miami. He got about a half block from the car rental center when the engine died, and every light imaginable lit up the dash. He walked back, told the Hertz agent where the car was. Hertz wanted to charge him for a full day’s rental plus a huge towing fee. They’re a disgusting company.

  7. I just rented a car (May 2024) from Hertz in Paris, France. I had it for two days and was charged $2,300 (usd). I was seriously taken advantage of. I was tired, jet lagged and didn’t have other rental options. In addition, I waited in line for nearly an hour to get my rental. Be careful if you are going to the Paris Olympics. Take a taxi don’t rent from Hertz. I never will again!!

  8. In case people didnt know despite there being like 6 or 7 well known car rental agencies, there is in fact only three! There is Hertz and there is Enterprise and Avis that’s it folks. Why do I say this? Well I’ll tell you why. Hertz Global not only owns Hertz it also owns Thrifty and Dollar Rent a car as well as Firefly Rent a car. Enterprise owns not only Enterprise but they own National and Alamo rent a car as well. Last but not least is Avis also known as Avis Budget group and they own Avis, Budget, Payless and Zipcar as well. And despite being “competitors” in the market alot of times they work together to create the daily rental costs on vehicles and share their do not rent lists with eachother which can lead to you being banned from renting a car almost anywhere if you have been banned from one of them. Any smaller rental agancies are quickly and ruthlessly edged out of business by these three companies to ensure there is no actual competition. They’re corrupt and don’t care about the consumer. Profit is their mission and no one is going to stand in the way of that.

  9. I have to respond to the comment by David Wishengrad. What does leather have to do with the article and about false charges? Perhaps you should post on a PETA page and stop wasting space here regarding your love of cows. I love leather and beef!

  10. I agree with above post. Leather seats are wonderful. Man made materials don’t even come close to the luxurious feel and breathability of genuine leather.

  11. To answer others’ questions: At many major US airports Hertz is by far the most inexpensive if you don’t want to take a shuttle off-site. So many people take their chances that they won’t get falsely arrested or have to deal with bogus charges like this. I have chosen to just avoid them out of principle even if the odds are my experience will be uneventful.

  12. We rented an electric car by the suggestion of Hertz and it was the worst idea that they’ve ever had they were no charging stations along 95 that we could easily find and when we did find one it didn’t exist because it had been removed even after we drove an hour out of 95 towards Florida it was a disaster and we want nothing to do with electric cars and I’ll tell you it was we’ll never drive one again it was just really really a bad experience all the way around and it hurts really didn’t give a crap.

  13. Many of the comments are asking why anyone would rent from Hertz when things like this happen. My questions are what is Hertz’ response and what are they doing to correct these ongoing issues? When I read this article, it seems obvious that they would ack they’re in the wrong and would correct the issue. Is there more to it?
    It was only a few years ago that Hertz was hit with a large fine for incorrectly/falsely accusing hundreds of people of stealing their cars.

  14. Now lets see, if I’m a retired cowboy boot maker, (Santa Fe, N.M.) and I eat at fast food restaurants and I love many different things, people, “ya most of the time”, animals, water with fish and water without fish in it, my yard, my land, my country, my earth, but I’m still a bad guy because I have teeth that are made to chew meat, grind up plants and and a body that is built to handle both. So God made my original body design for both plant and animal and so HE made a mistake on his designing board? Fat chance on that idea! I’ll see you someplace but it may not be in heaven.

  15. I swore to never use Hertz again when they scammed me as a college student in 1985. I have rented hundreds of cars since then from all the other vendors without incident. They were a rotten company back then and it seems nothing has changed. They are the toilet in a house full of appliances.

  16. companies are scamming customers left and right. Saks is blocking returns and holding on to customer funds by cancelling partial orders with their “discount via gift card” and then holding on the money.

    where is the dept for consumer protection?

  17. I avoid Hertz and have for years. I avoid Avis now also. I returned a car in Wichita Kansas early in the morning before open as I had an early flight. I put the keys in the drop box. I filled the car up outside of the airport. I got billed for filling up the tank of 18 gallons. The tank was full., so I guess I filled up an employees tank. I had a receipt from the station, but they would not take off the charge.

  18. A car I rented from Hertz at KCI broke down on the Kansas Turnpike at 11:00 p.m. I was told that they could not bring me a replacement car. Hertz said to pay the tow truck driver and that they would pay me back. When I returned to KCI with the second rental car, the manager submitted a refund on my credit card. When the refund did not show up on my credit card statement I called Hertz and found that the manager’s refund was not approved by Hertz. I went through the process of submitting an appeal through Hertz for the $370 it cost for the tow. The appeal was denied. I called the manager who said there was nothing he could do since the refund was not approved by the main office at Hertz. I will never rent from Hertz again!

  19. Why is this company still in business? I complained about blatant lies by one of their kiosk reps at the Phoenix airport location (trying to upswell me by telling me that the economy car I rented was actually an electric Smart car with no broom for luggage—even showing me a photo of it) then trying to charge me double for a regular cat (they don’t even rent Smart cars)! No one bothered to respond to my complaints. No call back from the manager after numerous attempts.

  20. Try using ENTERPRISE never ever an issue..unless u r really really stupid, you have the option to go elsewhere, RUN THIS COMPANY SUCKS…

  21. Hi yes me too I was charged 1000$ extra saying that I upgraded when they actually gave me an upgrade I didn’t want because I had been waiting two hrs over my reservation time for a vehicle the airport…there’s no way that I requested a mini van being a single male lol..anyhow they had a make shift reciept not the one they had gave me but one they had produced showing me the charges anf i had no proof because i had thrown it away…so after being charged and told not can be done because they had proof i went outside dug through trash anf walla there the receipt took about a week to return my money i didn’t even get a sorry…if i hadn’t found the receipt would have cost me 1000 ….I have all the correspondence of there shadyness also…

  22. We ( customers) got a solution, just do not rent from them anymore.I will apply this from now on.
    They will run out of customers that they can screw.

  23. I, too, have had some issue with, Hertz. I, fortunately was able to get credited back. Take photos of EVERYTHING! If you have an, American Express card, use it! They are amazing in disputing your case. Remember to read everything before you sign, especially if you are reserving on-line. Good luck.

  24. Consumers must voice their concerns with their decisions. I will not rent from hertz again.

  25. Hertz stock is down 90% in 3 years. PE of 5.31?! Some opportunities perhaps? Hedge fund takeover folks please give a wink first…

  26. Hertz has been a disaster for years. Even as President Circle members we kept running into problems with my wife and we used to rent from many stations around US and Europe. People still renting with them are just playing the lottery to become the next victim of their mismanagement and disregard for customer service. Had much better luck after we switched to National/Enterprise.

  27. They ripped us off for $289. We declined accident coverage. They checked the box anyway. The form was signed and we were on their hook. They won’t make an adjustment. Do not rent from these crooks.

  28. I have not rented with Hertz since being discriminated upon by them. Long story so won’t go into due to all the examples in this article. Just say having 1000k hold on my card for a 6 hour rental finally did me in for them. I recently did priceline where they pick a rental company and you do not know until after paying. It was Hertz lucky I found a better price and was able to get out of it due to priceline price guarantee. Hertz never EVER AGAIN FOR ME.

  29. Josh Whender says:
    June 17, 2024 at 11:22 am
    Jeanie – We can tell you’re MAGA by the way you misue grammar.

    Josh, I can tell you voted for a senile old man currently residing in the White House, judging by your spelling.

  30. I guess I have been lucky. I use them all the time and have never had an issue. I do everything online, where price, duration, extras, etc, are very clear. I use my AmEx Platinum credit card instead of their insurance since I figured Amex is large enough to get their attention. The one thing I do, however, is to take a photo of the car in the lot when I return it, so there is no issue that I returned it. Smartphones show the date and geolocation, but I always get a receipt right there or a few minutes after I return it. I did a key drop once in Florida, and it was fine. I also only pick up and return to airports and not city offices. However, I may feel differently if I were the victim of one of these situations. If I need to pick up in a city, I use Enterprise,

  31. I will never rent a car from Hertz. So glad I do not have to consider working for this viper company.

  32. Hertz is in really bad shape for its earlier blunders and now cheat its customers repeatedly such as charging more than $400 for returning a car to the allegedly “wrong” area of the agreed upon airport

  33. Latest (and last Hertz) rental. The agent tells me to pick any car in row 1 or 2. There’s only ONE gas-powered car (which is what I had a reservation for). The rest all electric. So I load my bags and drive to the exit gate, only to be told by the attendant that the car is reserved for someone else. So he makes the two cars behind me back up and I have to drive back to the counter. I have to wait for the same agent to finish up with another customer. Then he changes the rental car info so that I can keep the car. Whoever reserved the car in advance was in for a surprise.
    This was the final (of several) incidents with Hertz. My experience with Avis seems to be working out better, so far.

  34. I rented from Hertz at LAX in December & never again. I had prepaid through AMEX Travel to get my travel credit & when I arrived was told I had to purchase “California” insurance or they wouldn’t rent to me. That was $23.99 + tax per day. Then when I returned I topped off the tank and paid cash (my mistake) but got the receipt & took a copy of it. One week later Hertz sends me a bill for $128 for returning the car less than full. Disputed with Hertz & they never responded – disputed with AMEX & they responded they would sue me for fraud if I tried to dispute charge. Provided copies of receipts & pictures – still wouldn’t budge. Filed dispute with California AG Office & within 2 weeks they responded to AG with an apology, stating they will use it as a teaching moment & full refund of the Cali insurance & fuel charge. Never actually admitted they were wrong, but through their actions they did. The AG office obviously carries a lot of clout. More & more finding that car rental interactions are the most stressful part of the trip.

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