Hertz Toll-Tracking Scam

Rent a car, steal the PlatePass toll tracking device, use it as an Uber driver on all your airport runs while the tolls get billed to whomever rents the car next. That seems like a dangerous ploy, since presumably there are photos of your vehicle going through the tolls and you could be easily tracked down. Or perhaps not.

No [use of] toll road and nowhere near any. Two weeks after [the rental] I get a credit charge on my statement of US$920…apparently for tolls New York and the tunnels to Jersey.

I email Hertz and finally get a reply that my rental wasn’t associated with any of these tolls, and for me to contact the toll company plate pass! Hertz didn’t want to help in any way and wont reply to any emails.

After contacting plate pass there were 96 tolls incurred in ten days! I’m in the process of gathering credit card statements to show where I was in those ten days to prove it wasn’t my vehicle. Obviously the toll transponder was removed from my vehicle prior to rental and was used in another vehicle.

It seems that to exonerate yourself it’s on you to catch the person who did the deed. And in order to catch the person you’d need the cooperation of PlatePass (let alone Hertz). But good luck getting that. So maybe this is a better scam than it initially might seem.

You could say this is ‘Hertz being Hertz’ but this seems like something could happen with any rental car company in a major city.

(HT: Jonathan W.)

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. Doesn’t have to be a major city – beyond some turnpikes in rural areas, someone could rent a car in a major city, then the next person does a one-way rental somewhere that doesn’t even have tolls nearby, then you are the next person afterwards to rent it.

  2. Don’t the rental car companies put GPS trackers in all of their cars now – which would show where the car was when the toll charge came through?

  3. Not only Hertz. Recently rented a car for a day with Avis. I filled up the car car upon return, of course they charged a full tank of gas to me which I had to dispute (always save receipts for rental cars!!). They also charged tolls, even though I had my own toll tag. Again, had to give those receipts to get those charges reversed. These rental car companies are all crap these days, but Hertz is certainly the worst.

    Always save every gas receipt and every toll receipt when getting a rental. And always get a finalized receipt at the end.

  4. I went through the same nightmare with PlatePass/Hertz during Thanksgiving 2021, also in the NY/NJ area.

    They had me crossing bridges and paying tolls in areas where I never drove.

    It was a mess and PlatePass was horrible to deal with.

    From now on I will snap a photo at each toll collection point to indicate place and time, just in case I’m ever forced to prove it again.

  5. If the person has an email from the merchant itself saying the charges aren’t legit, seems like a slam dunk credit card dispute case.

  6. @ChadMC — I would go a step further and say that car rental companies are just not set up to resolve complex customer service issues. It’s not (only) that no one wants to help, it’s that no one even knows HOW to help.

    I have rented from National for years, almost always without any issues whatsoever — they are on the whole the most reliable part of my travel experience. But when I *did* have an issue, resolving it was a nightmare.

    In my case, someone at a small airport in Texas mistyped a key tag and checked in the car I’d rented at SFO; halfway through my rental I got a receipt for my $2500 one-way trip in the car I was still driving, already charged to my card.

    Calling the main customer service line was completely useless — I could barely get them to understand what the problem *was* — and most local office numbers now route directly to central reservations. Only when I finally wrangled a number for the local office did I find anyone who could resolve the issue. On top of it, the charge for my *actual* rental got screwed up, because no one knew how to reopen the rental. It was never quite right but I gave up once they were only overcharging me for $25 or so.

    After all of that — multiple days, probably a dozen calls, and a mistaken $2500 credit card charge — I barely even got an apology, let alone any sort of customer service gesture.

  7. It’s Hertz, one disappointment after another. Not sure why anyone uses them anymore.

  8. Wait, Hertz admits it’s not her, they have her money and they won’t give it back? Weasels!

  9. I don’t get why they don’t just use license plates at this point. Doubly so since they aren’t even passing along the EZpass discounts. If someone wanted to start that Class Action I would be all ears.

  10. Dan said: I would go a step further and say that car rental companies are just not set up to resolve complex customer service issues.

    Agreed. I had a radiator spring a leak in an Avis car, costing me hours. Avis replaced the car and comped the rental, which was fair enough. Months later another Avis department charged me for the repair! I wasted another couple hours writing emails and it took them over another month to reverse this obvious error.

    It’s not just Hertz.

  11. ALWAYS get your credit card company to change your cc # after you rent a car. Tell them you lost the card somewhere.

  12. This is a smart scam- thanks for alerting me to it. Only problem is, I can’t figure out how to safeguard myself from this. Recently did a rental in the NYC area and rented the PlatePass- a scam in itself, for $23 a day before any tolls! I reviewed all the paperwork, and don’t see anywhere they noted the toll tag number to double check. In fact, I’d guess its just the one assigned to the car, which you only got at car pick up.

    I guess you could take a picture of the actual PlatePass with the rental agent, then if charges come in for a different number PlatePass assigned to your car, you can prove the actual unit you used. Regardless, not something I would normally check on a rental car- thanks for the heads up.

  13. I have you all beat! I rented a car in Philadelphia IAP from Budget which I did every month to go do my Air Force Reserve duty in Delaware. I returned the car in good condition. Apparently after I returned it the car parkers took it on a joy ride and totaled it. I got a bill for a complete loss of vehicle. It took a while to prove I returned a normal vehicle and got a receipt when turning it in in
    good condition. They weren’t sure I got a receipt for a wreck when returning. The mega charges were finally rescinded when I proved I returned the vehicle and was home in Chicago when the wreck occurred. SAVE RECEIPTS!!!

  14. Isn’t technology GREAT!
    Until the scammers show up or the tech has a glitch and the outsourced
    customer service doesn’t have any answers!
    I’m currently trying to claim my free Amazon Prime free Grubhub+ offer and of course there’s a “glitch” connecting the two accounts and of course Amir on one end and Rogelio on the other don’t have a clue.
    I’m shocked I actually got through to a human on the Amazon end
    AFTER 40 MINUTES of dodge the AI.
    Efficiency my be-hind!

  15. I don’t use the rental car windshield toll pass at all. Total rip off. I purchased a UniPass on Amazon. It’s good in 19 states and I have it tied to my home state toll system. It’s legal to use on any rental car but be sure to change the rental car’s description and license tag in the app PRIOR to driving away from the rental car center and IMMEDIATELY change those parameters back when returning the rental car. I was able to prove that some toll charges incurred after the rental car was returned were not my charges as the rental return receipt was prior to the tolls incurred by the next renter. As others have mentioned, I always take pictures of the entire rental car to include the top and the instrument panel with my watch or the car’s clock to show date and time of checkout and return.

  16. Doesn’t add up. Someone spends a hundred bucks to rent a car just to steal the PlatePass to save like $50 in tolls, returns the car and Hertz doesn’t notice the missing toll device when renting to the next guy? What am I missing?

  17. Im the renter that this article alluded to. I sent literally dozens of emails to hertz and platepass. Hertz finally admitted my rental wasn’t associated with the 92 tolls, but did nothing to help and couldn’t give give a rats #$@! They just hope you give up, they’re just a bunch of maggots! Platepass originally said that after looking into they found NO discrepancies in the tolls and that it was my rental. When I asked for photographic proof they a photo is only taken during a toll violation. I sent them ten credit card transactions I from the ten days I rented the car. These actually proved the card was used somewhere else not where the rental was. Amazingly all of a sudden two reps from platepass said they had found discrepancies in the tolls and my rental and would refund the AUD$1306! Hallelujah its a miracle! Suddenly discrepancies which weren’t there before have appeared! Theres a coverup going on between hertz and platepass without doubt.

  18. I rented from Hertz. Declined the “all-inclusive” PlatePass option ($10/day) because I knew I’d be using a toll road ONCE on my way out of the airport and ONCE on the way back. No tolls in between.

    This is what Hertz’s website says:

    “How Much Does It Cost?

    If you use PlatePass®, you will be charged for each toll at the highest, undiscounted toll rate plus a $5.95 convenience fee for each calendar day when tolls are incurred. There is no maximum PlatePass convenience fee. PlatePass LLC will automatically charge the credit card used for the rental, typically one-to-three weeks after the rental closes. Processing of charges can at times take up to a month or more. Cash customers will be invoiced by PlatePass LLC. PlatePass® charges will not appear on your invoice for your rental. PlatePass® charges can be viewed at http://www.platepass.com.”


    But PlatePass billed me $9.99/day for every day of my rental! Their email with the charges said:

    “Our records indicate you declined the PlatePass All-Inclusive tolling option at the start of your rental, but during your rental you activated the transponder device affixed to the car windshield and incurred tolls. As a result, the card used for your Hertz rental was charged the cost of the PlatePass All-Inclusive rate as applicable to your rental period. ”

    What a complete scam. A class-action lawsuit waiting to happen. Sign me up as the lead plaintiff.

  19. Actually you won’t “easily” be tracked down as you suggest because plate pass told me that cars are only photographed when there is a toll violation.

  20. It’s not just Hertz. I am fighting it right now from Avis. I was in the deep South, while simultaneously being charged $280 for tolls in the Northeast. To boot, the tolls were for a five axle vehicle, which I assume means a tractor-trailer.

    No luck resolving so far. Avis replied right away with a rather arrogant statement that I had to contact the eToll vendor “as agreed to in the terms of the rental.” Guess I’ll read those from now on. Anyway, the e-Toll vendor has yet to reply. And AMEX in an atypical bad move for them, won’t let me protest the charge until the statement posts.

  21. Had the same thing happen to me. Had a rental for local use and upon return got a charge a few days later for tolls. Toll charges that happened while I was at work, asleep, or on my wY home from work. I contacted CS only for them to tell me I had to prove it wasn’t me and they would not reimburse the card. Like how could I be two places at once?! I told them they needed to show me photographic proof that the vehicle I had was the one going through the tolls, because I was 100% certain it wasn’t. I was willing to fight them on that and I told my credit card company to not allow the charge because I was disputing it. I had to send them receipts from places I was at during the times the toll charges took place. Finally got them to drop the charges.

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