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
We didn’t have that many issues with them but I can assure everyone that workers at Hertz in Miami are extremly unpolite to customers.
Why, in this age, can the damage to the car that already exists not be carried forward from one rental to the next? This part of the rental experience sucks for every rental company!
You experience sounds shoddy. For what it’s worth I never use Hertz as they tend to be on the pricey side here in Europe, but I will make sure not to in the future.
Oh no, I actually have a reservation with Hertz next month from the Fort Lauderdale airport. Hmm… going to look into other options now.
Very very unprofessional way of treating customers. I mean really? Hertz?
I have rented cars for over 30 years (not so much lately) and this sounds about as bad as I could ever imagine. I hope this is an isolated incident. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hertz has legal action against them for this type of intimidation and slander.
I understand that with such a big international company it’s a matter of single experiences but I had to rent with them three times and I had a similar negative experience each time.
I guess that if the opinion of a company comes from these single experiences is not going to be a good one!
Thanks for sharing this…and sorry you’ve been their victim too!
In all of our travels, by far the worst experiences we have had have been with car rental companies. My husband almost got arrested at Geneva airport after an argument with the car behind the counter. 10 security and Police cars rocked up when he called them following our confrontation with him. And this was just one incident. We have learned- never ever rent a car overseas again if possible. These experiences are fraught with frustration. Twice we have turned up to pick up cars, both times in Italy, and the offices had moved but failed to tell us. Twice also, once in France and once in Geneva the offices were not where they said they were and we were forced to drive around for hours trying to locate them. We once nearly missed our flight, like you, because of the arguing with the staff. It’s just not worth the hassle.
We rented from them many of times, Sometimes issues and sometimes they are ok. It’s hit or miss just like traveling to a new country. Some people have good times and some do not. End of the stories they all are bad!
Never used them as too expensive but what a nightmare. Never had a problem renting but dreaded them finding something when I turned it in.
I rarely rent with Hertz, simply because National rental car has always treated me great and has much better prices plus a better loyalty program IMO. With that said I’ve heard similar horror stories about the staff and damage reports from renters at Enterprise, Avis and National, not just Hertz. Hopefully you followed up with the actual station manager about Armando, as such locations tend to have many many shift managers. Talk to the real boss and let them know what happened. I will say you lost a bit of respect form me with some of your other comments though, such as saying someone hadn’t washed their hair since 2001. Just an FYI as I imagine you wrote this in the heat of the moment.
My experience with customer facing roles has always taught me that one has to be dressed well when representing an enterprise of a certain caliber. Having your hair dirty, unkempt, or having your shirt dirty, tucked out in a messy way, etc. are all clear indicators of management issues. The issues I had at check out could have been a premonition of what I should have come to expect from this particular franchise.
That sounds like a nightmare. I’ve booked a Hertz car in Europe – here’s hoping that works out ok :/
I will never use Hertz again either after returning a car we rented at the Orlando airport. The woman checking us in said we had been smoking in the vehicle when we have never smoked a day in our lives. In addition, there is a $200 hold on my mastercard that I was told would be off in 24 hours. It’s been 36 hours and it’s still there. Very rude and unprofessional employees. I will never use them again.
I called three times to inquire about this pick up. Hertz said with a debit card I will need a 200 dollar deposit in addition to rental charge – this is fine. I went to pick up vehicle, manager and rep were very rude, stated I also needed a return flight. I said the reservation clearly states I am driving to Chicago and dropping there. I was driving a family member who is afraid of flying due to previous traumatic experience. They said no airport reservation would be honored without a return flight. They gave me the number for another Hertz. I asked them to please Call for me and explain the situation since it is a holiday weekend – the manager refused to do so. He said it was not his problem. I called and spoke with Duane who told me to come on over, but no vehicles until noon. I went over there and the manager said that no vehicles until even later than that. He had me call to change my reservation to their location, which Hertz could not do when I called because their system showed no vehicles. The location I was at was then able to do a quote on their computer, and said it would no longer cost 315 plus deposit, but between 700 and 900 dollars!!! I ended up taking a bus with my family member back to Chicago as no rentals in the area had anything on a holiday weekend within the price I was given by Priceline, and I was wasting uber money all over the place – 23 hour bus ride and I am 31 weeks pregnant. Hertz is horrible. This is my third bad experience with them and I have sworn them off for life after this last nightmare.
Ouch! Thanks for sharing your Hertz horror story with us, April.
I think these guys have A LONG, long way to go when it comes to customer service.. :S
I dont know how HERTZ are still surviving it is the worst rental company on earth. They are cheaters and somebody should open a legal cases against them and close this bullshit company.
Car Rental is a nightmare nowadays.
Here is what we want:
Full coverage for everything
Road Service when needed
Empty tank at pick up and as little as possible on return, no more fuzz
Any damage is now covered, no discussions regarding petrol, no discussion on scratches and no staff on bonus for the amount they can pull out of you, after the agreement is made, so the staff is now on salary to be polite.
But that is not the way it is, it is a jungle of rules meant to confuse you and pull money out of you and used to trick you, as they know you will not go to court, as the amount is too small and you have not time to call the police.
Only once in Malaga in Spain, I found a car rental company as described. Fixed price, all covered, no tricky rules, pay this amount, take the car, empty tank with 5 liters, you take care of petrol and deliver the car back at the agreed time You send us SMS 30 min before you arrive, they only thing we check is the car is returned on the agreed time. I did not even check competitive prices, but the price was OK. The owner said I have very low costs because I have no fuzz and I have a huge base of permanent customers and the happily refer me to friends, so my cost of marketing are also very low.