We’ve rented from and even recommended Hertz to our readers several times in the past. After being Hertz customers in Spain, Germany, Brazil, USA, and Jordan, we’ve been quite happy with their service over the years. However, our experience today in Miami has changed all of that. Upon returning the car, the location manager Armando, accused me of being a liar and a fraud. This kind of accusation to a long time customer is extremely upsetting. However, after we proved Armando wrong, he still didn’t apologize for his conduct and in fact continued to blame us for the situation. Read on, to know how it all happened.
The Pick Up (the not so bad part…)
We picked up our rental from Ft Lauderdale airport and had to return it two days later with a full tank of fuel at Miami airport. Seems simple enough. When we arrived at Hertz at almost 11PM on Friday night, the pick up agents were really not prepared for their job – giving to us the keys of a vehicle that had already been reserved.
Luckily the line was not long so we managed to get an agent, who proceeded to pawn us off to a kiosk. Now, this is something I had never seen before. I was there, video conferencing with a virtual agent (well, she was at the other end of the conference line), I told her my reservation details and she asked me to swipe my credit card in the kiosk. BEEP! The Kiosk wouldn’t accept my credit card because it has a chip. Hertz, 2016 called, all credit cards have chips these days. Might want to fire your kiosk contractor.
So now I got redirected to another agent who hadn’t washed her hair since 2001. It looks like Hertz in Florida doesn’t pay their agents enough to afford some shampoo every now and then. Ms. Messy Hair then redirected us to yet another agent who looked like it was her first day on the job.
At least this agent was friendly because in this journey with Hertz, she was the only friendly person we encountered. So Ms. Friendly but Incompetent looked at my license. She gave it back to me and said “THIS AIN’T IN ENGLISH. COULD YOU PLEASE TRANSLATE THAT FOR ME?”. My license IS in English. It has some Arabic text next to the English stuff because it’s issued in Dubai. So I explained to her that the license was in English and that she just needed to look at it carefully. “OH CUZ I SAW HERE DAT DERE WAS SOME FUNNY CHARACTERS SO I THOUGHT IT WEREN’T IN ENGLISH”. Well, that’s alright, if you like I’ll read out the important stuff to you.
Once we had all the license info down, she said that the computer wouldn’t accept the country of the license. So she looks at me and said “YOU KNOW WHAT CUNTRY CODE IS FOR DOOBAI?”. And I replied “Umm.. UAE?”. And she said the computer wouldn’t accept that. She needed a two letter code. Since I’m an internet guy, I thought she should try AE which is the country code for the UAE. That didn’t work either. Mysterious.
Eventually, she called Sam who was at another counter and he knew what to put in. He said “Oh and we should upgrade him too”. She replied “But I already assigned him a car”. Then he looked at my license (because it’s from Dubai) and said “Well, he’s got money so we should charge him for an upgrade.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Then she asked me if I wanted to buy some insurance and I said “But I paid for full insurance”. She had to call Sam again but the dynamic duo managed to figure it out.
She finally issued by contract and said “Your car is in lot 73. Here’s the car damage report, fill it up before you exit”. Now, my normal experience has been that you get this paper and the agents will see what damage the car has and you can tell them to mark some other stuff if you notice it on the car. I never had to fill this paper up myself.
We finally went to our car in Lot 73 and it had a ton of scratches on the bonnet, some dents on the door, and some scratches on the underside. I noted all of these on the paper.
We loaded up our stuff and drove towards the exit. At the exit the lady looks at my contract and says “YOU ALL ARE IN THE WRONG CAR!”. So I said “Well, the lady told us to pick up the car from Lot 73″. She said “Oh she doesn’t know what she’s doing, I’ll issue you a new contract”. So, she generated a new contract and people who were behind me in line actually started honking at me. Finally, I asked her about the car damage report paper that I had filled out with all the dents, scratches, etc. and she said “Oh you have full insurance so you don’t need that at all.”. Alrighty, so off we go!
The Return (the really bad part!)
We pulled into the Hertz lot with 2 hours left to our flight. The girl looks at the car and says “Do you know where these scratches on the bonnet came from?”. So I thought “Hello to you too!” and then said “I don’t know but they were there from before”. She said “Oh but I’m going to have to note them here because you should’ve noted them on the paper.” I had noted them on the paper, luckily, I still had the paper in the glove compartment.
Accusation #1 – You should’ve noted the scratches, dents, etc. on the paper – even though I had tried to ask about this earlier and had been advised that this is not required during check out. Plus, I had full insurance.
Then she gets into the car, turns the key and says “Oh you didn’t fill this car up. We’ll charge you $10 per gallon plus service fees”. Apparently in this car, the fuel gauge stops a little short of full. This is how we had received the car and I had taken it to a fuel station and tanked it up before returning it.
Accusation #2 – You didn’t fill up the car. We’re going to charge you for it.
I replied, actually, I did fill it up. Since we’ve rented in so many countries, I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping the receipt from these fuel stops before returning cars. So I showed her the receipt which showed that I had filled up the car just before returning it.
I explained that the gauge just looks like this, it was just like this when we took the car as well. And in any case, I had just filled it up.
Accusation #3 – You filled this up at 10.30, it’s 12PM now. I don’t know where you went between that because the car shows it’s not full. You might have driven around a lot after that.
I explained to her that Florida has just switched to daylight savings time a week ago and I filled up the car at 11:30 just before coming to the airport. The cash register probably just says 10:30 because it wasn’t adjusted yet. In any case, the gas station is 4.1 miles from here (I showed this to her on Google Maps).
Accusation #4 – She called her colleague who came and said that I didn’t fill it up properly. That I might have stopped the fuel before it was getting full.
A gallon of fuel costs $1.99 here. Why would I do something like that? If I went to the trouble of filling it up, why would I leave it $2 short? It looked like they were not interested in hearing anything, even though I had a receipt from a gas station really close to the airport.
She called her manager Armando who was even worse than these two. “Sir you didn’t fill up the car.” To which I again stressed that I did fill it up until the gas stopped. He said “Close the contract as 7/8ths full.” And I said “Honestly, are you calling me a liar?”. And he said “No, you just didn’t fill it up because the car says it’s not full. We’ll charge you $10 per gallon for this because you agreed to this in your contract”. So I said “Yes, that’s why I filled it up. If you want to try filling it up, go ahead, it won’t take more fuel.”. He said to me “You had to fill it up within 5 miles of the airport.”
I showed him Google maps on my phone where it said the refueling station was 4.1 miles from the airport. He wouldn’t even look at it. He just repeated himself with the whole 5 miles thing. By now, we had just 1 hour and 30 minutes left for our flight and it was getting really stressful. I didn’t really want to fight so much for $10 but all these multiple accusations were getting to me. It was now about the principle of it.
So I said “If you can’t fill up any more fuel into this car, my rental should be free.” He said “Okay, lets go and see.” He still didn’t believe me, so he said “Come with me, we’ll go and try to fill it.”
I said “Okay, how long will this take?” And he said “Just 1 minute”. So I said “Alright then!” We got back into the car drove to the in-garage-Hertz-refueling station while Zara stood there with all our luggage in the parking lot. The lady at the refueling station tried to fill it up. The moment she started filling it, it auto-stopped. The reading was 0.26 gallons. She tried to force more fuel into the car, it kept stopping. Eventually it went to 0.53 gallons but it wouldn’t take any more. She had to stop there.
I said to Armando “See, not even a gallon goes in! I did fill it up and you continued to make all these accusations in spite of seeing a receipt”.
At this point I hoped Armando would apologize for his behavior. However, he didn’t really care. He said “Oh this car is defective, that’s why the fuel gauge doesn’t go all the way to full.” Well, his first choice was to call the customer a liar inspite of being presented a receipt – why didn’t he think of that before? But being proven wrong didn’t deter him. All this was still my fault because:
Accusation #5 – “You should’ve reported the defective fuel gauge when you checked out the car.”
I replied to him that the lady at the exit had looked at the dashboard to get the odometer reading (because she had to generate a new contract) and she should’ve noted a fuel gauge issue if there was one. So we returned to the parking lot and he said “I’ll give you a refund for the fuel charge”. Oh, so they had already charged me! They had already closed my contract with 7/8ths full as instructed by Armando earlier!
At this point of time, I told Armando that I found his conduct extremely rude and unprofessional and that he should apologize. His words were “I apologize that the car was defective.”
I couldn’t believe it! Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to spare since we had a little over an hour left for our flight so we had to leave. I told him that I will take this up with his superiors and inform Hertz. To this, his reply was “That’s fine, I will also take note of this conversation.”. Whatever that meant.
It looks like Hertz is all about scamming customers for the little things. Their staff seem to be absolutely untrained and the way they behave with customers makes you want to never rent with Hertz ever again. This isn’t even an isolated incident. If you check on Yelp, you’ll see some really terrible experiences. I wonder why Hertz Corporate Headquarters don’t look at those reviews.
For us, this is it with Hertz. The least that I expected was an apology from Armando. He’s one of the location managers at the Miami Airport after all. I thought the “Manager” title meant something, I guess at Hertz it doesn’t. Their staff has no clue about how to go about things, they rent you the wrong car, and even though you do everything right, they accuse you of trying to defraud them. After renting for so many years and coming to expect quality service, the last thing you want is to be called a liar and not even get an apology. They wasted our time, and our experience returning the car in Miami after a wonderful two days just left a bad taste.
On top of that, this makes for a really stressful experience if you still have to board a flight. We still had to run through check-in, TSA, etc. and board the flight.
Stay away from Hertz if you want to have a good holiday! #HertzHurts