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Daniel Bramich
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Disappointed with Hertz...

Between a rock and a hard place

In summer 2015, I rented a car from Hertz via their website that advertised space for two large suitcases and one small suitcase. However, on arrival at the airport where I was to pick up the car, after nearly 24 hours of intercontinental flights and transfers, I found that the car that I was to be provided with could only fit one of the two suitcases I had with me in its boot (and my suitcases were not exceptionally big)! With no other cars available in the same rental category, the only solution that I was offered was to upgrade to a larger car and pay the difference! Furthermore, I had pre-paid the rental fees, so I could not simply cancel the rental and go to another company in the airport. With an onward journey of a few hours driving still to go, I had to bite the bullet, pay up, and resign myself to writing a complaint later on. Clearly this is a case of misleading advertising that abuses the situation the customer is in when he/she arrives. There is little choice but to accept to pay for an upgrade if you want to be able to complete your journey, or enjoy your holiday. I was further vindicated when I spotted the same car advertised at the airport office as only being able to accommodate one large and one small suitcase (at odds with what was advertised on the website).

Inaccurate description of a rental car

I duly wrote a complaint directly to Hertz customer relations arguing my case, but I was very disappointed indeed with their response and lack of empathy with the situation. Here is their response:

From: customer-relations-uk@hertz.com
To: dan.bramich@hotmail.co.uk
Subject: Ref: 5680353
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:09:28 +0100

Dear Mr Bramich,

Thank you for contacting us. I appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

I have reviewed the upgrade charge on your invoice. Our records show you chose to upgrade your rental vehicle to a larger type than that reserved. As you had the benefit of this additional service during your rental, I am not in a position to refund this charge.

Unfortunately the luggage capacity displayed on our website is only a guideline and is not in every case the exact amount of luggage that the vehicle can facilitate for.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for contacting us and we look forward to serving you in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Megan

Hertz Customer Services
https://www.hertz.com

So apparently instead of being forced to pay for an upgrade on the car because I could not fit my luggage in the boot, I had chosen of my own free will to do this, and furthermore I had benefited from the whole situation. Seems like they think I should actually thank them for their fantastic hassle-free service!

I thought I would give them a second chance to consider my complaint by writing back and explaining that the car had been inaccurately described on the website, and correctly described at the local office, and that I had been given no choice but to upgrade the car at additional cost to myself. Why did I bother? Effectively I got the same email response as before:

From: customer-relations-uk@hertz.com
To: dan.bramich@hotmail.co.uk
Subject: Ref: 5680353
Date: 05 August 2015 10:47:54

Dear Mr Bramich,

Thank you for contacting us. I appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

As previously mentioned in our last response the description of the vehicles in the car groups are only guides.

I have reviewed the Vehicle Upgrade charge on your invoice. Our records show you accepted this additional service, and you had the benefit of it during your rental. With this in mind, I am not in a position to refund this charge.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for contacting us and we look forward to serving you in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Sara

Hertz Customer Services
https://www.hertz.com

So I escalated the whole thing to the European Car Rental Conciliation Service. And guess what? Hertz changed tone immediately. I was told that "Hertz are very sorry that you were charged for a vehicle upgrade, and can understand this must have caused great concern." Furthermore they refunded the extra amount charged to cover the upgrade.

Couldn't Hertz have just done the right thing straight away without having to resort to arbitration? I have to say I won't use Hertz again if I can help it. It felt like I had to "tell the teacher" before they would admit to having done anything wrong!




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