Hertz is the world’s worst car-rental company

This post has little to do with Suzuki guitar. Okay, nothing to do with Suzuki guitar. But this is my blog; I’m pissed at Hertz; so I’m blogging about it here.

On Friday March 16, I made arrangements to travel to LA the next day to visit a dying friend. My hotel (a Radisson) referred me to Hertz for a “deal” on car rental. I already had an offer from Alamo, but I figured I’d give Hertz a shot.

On the phone, Hertz quotes me $330 for a week’s rental. I say it’s too high because Alamo quoted me $270. The Hertz rep asks me if I have any major credit cards that might get me a discount. I propose two, a USAA card and a Chase card. She checks. The USAA discount would get me to $260, and the Chase discount is even better: $230 and change. “Great,” I say, “book it.” The agent takes all my info, tells me I’m all set, and gives me a confirmation number.

As she gave me the confirmation number, I specifically thought to myself, “Should I write this down? Nah, there’s really no need. They’ve got my name in the system.”

So I arrive at LAX Friday night and get to the Hertz counter at 11 pm. I give my name.

Agent: “Sorry, we don’t have a reservation for you. Do you have a confirmation number? No? Well, the best rate I’m showing is $430 [or thereabouts].”

Me: “Whoa, that’s way too high. Let me talk to the manager.”

Hertz: “Okay, but it’s spring break. We can’t just give you the lower rate without some proof it was quoted to you.”

The manager comes out. He wants a confirmation number. I wake up my wife and ask her to look on my desk in case I wrote it down on my page with travel notes, but I didn’t. The manager and his agent see me do this and hear me talking to her.

So I tell my story again, and I’m visibly distraught: I’m visiting a dying friend; I made a reservation on the phone by referral from Radisson; I was quoted $330, then $260, then $230. I ask: “Why would I make this up? You want proof that I got the quote — your proof is that I’m standing here at the Hertz counter telling you this story. Why would I show up here?”

Manager: “Do you know the name of the person you spoke with?”

Me: “No. I saw no reason to ask her name. You are telling me you can’t help me because you don’t believe me?”

Manager: “We can get you a car, sir.”

Me: “I know you can get me a car. But I expect a car at the rate I was quoted, $230.”

Manager: “We can’t do that.”

Muttering obscenities, I ask for my ID and credit-card back and leave Hertz. I ask the Hertz shuttle guy to take me back to the airport because I am going to use a different rental-car company. He offers to drop me at Avis or Budget, which are on the way back to the airport. (This is the only thoughtful thing a Hertz employee did for me.)

He drops me at Avis. I tell my story. They give me a car for $260. (I think they should have done better on the price, but the person I dealt with was totally courteous, and I needed a damn car.)

So Hertz, if you’re listening:

You suck. You treated me like crap, and you showed yourselves to be utter morons. Even if your counter people genuinely thought I was lying—which only a moron would think (why, why, why do you think a person would show up at your counter at 11 pm and invent a story—and cry—and wake his wife up—just to get a lower rate on a car—a rate that is in spitting distance of your competitor’s advertised rates?)—a sane manager would have just given me what I wanted to avoid the possibility that I was telling the truth and would publicize your horridness on social media. Which I am doing now.

Hertz is the world’s worst car-rental company.

12 thoughts on “Hertz is the world’s worst car-rental company”

  1. Hertz SUCKS. Years ago they charged me for a mid-size vehicle and I had a compact car, which I requested. As a woman, all the men in the Hertz place argued with me that I did not know what I was talking about when I argued that they were overcharging me. Wouldn’t budge. You know…a silly stupid housewife doesn’t know a thing about cars.

    I sent my husband back there and they changed the rate immediately and refunded the difference.

    1. Sounds like the Hertz I know and loathe. Thanks for sharing! The more negative stories about Hertz on the net, the better.

  2. I travel for a living and believe me Hertz is BY FAR the best out there. I feel bad for you but believe it or not people are always trying to get a better price and make up all kinds of stories Even if you were Presidents Club, like I am, the answer would have been the same. They have to set a policy and stick to it. If they give everyone the benefit of the doubt then everyone would tell stories to get a better rate. On a final note…..How can you be pissed at them because of your OWN Mistake of not writing down the confirmation number????? That is why it is call a CONFIRMATION number.

    1. Steve, I’m glad you’ve been happy with Hertz. As far as your belief that Hertz must “set a policy and stick to it,” that’s just not true. There’s a line between giving “everyone” the benefit of the doubt and sometimes giving people the benefit of the doubt. Good companies exercise discretion in customer service all the time; they do not necessarily have to follow rigid, inflexible rules. Finally, I agree that it would have been better if I had written down my confirmation number. But a sensibly run company would not require a confirmation number. A sensibly run company would create a record in their own system when you book a reservation, and that record would continue to exist, and would be findable without a confirmation number.

      So, I’m glad you like Hertz. But I stand by my statement that Hertz behaved inexcusably toward me, and that inexcusable behavior illustrates (1) pitiful information systems and (2) an anti-customer-service culture.

  3. Hertz does suck, i booked the car for my parents for thanksgiving, they needed it for 4 days…but since they were closed thursday and sunday the said come and pick it up on wed and keep it until monday for the same price $251 some kind of weekly deal. I went there to make sure it was like all right as the booking over the phone, the guy at the counter says yes we have you in the system everything is here just make sure you explain to them the 200 deductible. So they go there to pick it up on wedsday, told them the name and all that made them sing the receipt. Turns out the car was only for two days, but since the were closed, i called first thing friday morning to explain that the car was needed for four days…they said ok we’ll fix it. So im thinking sweet, no more worries. Returned the car, check the credit card the total was $571, i called the up see what the deal is? They look it over, and tell me that they dont know what happened and that i will be refunded $300 dollars. One week goes by, two, three, four still nothing, they keep telling me its processing! I was going to call the credit card and cancel the unauthorized transaction, but i figured id call Hertz first, so that’s when they told me 300 dollars was going to be refunded…so i went and paid the bill…Still waiting on this and will find a lawyer if i have to but will not let these crooks steal my money!

  4. My own experience:
    Sunday Jan. 12, prior to my trip to visit my ailing mother in Columbia, MO, I booked reservations through AAA for a car rental with Hertz.
    Rates were good (as quoted and “guaranteed”) were good and I’ve always thought of Hertz as the “best” of the rental agencies. How wrong I was!
    The sequence of events:
    1. Arrive Lambert Intl. Airport, St. Louis. Go to Hertz counter which is closed. I’m advised to proceed directly to the Hertz rental place via shuttle.
    2. I , along with about 8 others, wait over 10 minutes for a Hertz shuttle to arrive. Other shuttles come and go repeatedly during this time (2 times for Avis).
    3. I wait in line at the Hertz counter for > 10 minutes. As I wait, both Hertz people behind the counter do not appear to be occupied doing anything. One yawns and does a leisurely stretch. When I finally ask if I can be served they look at me as if I’m being impertinent and tell me they will attend to me shortly.
    4. When I finally get service, I’m told that the terms of the AAA reservation are not valid. The attendant doesn’t even try to reconcile. The terms of AAA reservation were $109 for the total (Jan. 14 thru Jan. 17th) for an _intermediate_ sized car. Instead, I was given a “take or leave” rental of a compact car (the smallest I’ve ever ridden in a rental place) and with a total to be $302. (This does include a loss damage waiver of 86. 97).
    5. The car is too far too small for me to give a ride to my sickly mother in Columbia. So the next day, I attempted to call Hertz to see if I might upgrade. They told me (after minutes on the phone tree) that I needed to contact the local office at the St. Louis airport. I did so and waited on hold for 15 minutes and 57 seconds on the phone before finally giving up.

    No more Hertz

  5. It really sucks. They suck so much that I want to share it!!!!! So mad at HERTTTTZZZ.
    It’s my first time using Hertz and so disappointed and displeased at their attitude and their service.
    I have used different rental company and never had this kind of issues with them.

    Issue #1. Upgraded a car at pickup, which was not inspected. It was raining all day and the car was slipping on wet roads all the way to the destination. Almost killed in that car. CRAZY?!

    Issue #2 We couldn’t find any Hertz. The map showing on google wasn’t correct. We wasted our time and gas. Finally found one on the last day of rental. (this is not really their problem though, but the attitude they show about it makes me mad.)

    Issues#3 The Reps I talked to were impolite and rude. The first one told me they gave us a better car at exchange so they can’t do anything about it. Ha! The truth is we didn’t get the better car. She didn’t even apologize for the inconvenience we had nor have sorry-attitute at all. The second one did not even wanna bother with it. He told me to call the place where I rented a car and talked to the manager there.

    I have have more issues, but don’t have to time to describe..
    so mad!!!! I thought Hertz is one of the nicest and greatest rental company before, but not anymore.
    Reps are so inconsiderate.

  6. Here is what i send to the BBB over Hertz. I hate them for what they did to us. Rube/Unhelpful and wouldn’t work with us. Left Me my Family (with two kids) stuck at airport 100 miles from home. Misinformed at pick that cased this.
    Hertz Left me and My Family Stranded at an AirPort 100 Miles from home with two Little Kids. Not Helpful or Understanding/rude. My fiance rented us a Car online Months before we needed it, Did the pay now price. On July 23 she went to pick it up and the only thing they asked her was “would you like to add our insurance”? She said no we have Full coverage. This was a 2012 Passat with 63300 miles. On our way down to the beach we started to have car trouble so we pulled into the Hertz at Charleston WV Yeager airport. They didn’t have any Full sized cars left and wanted to give me a compact car.I said I can’t take that, I have two kids, a car seat and were packed full; I asked are you telling my only option is to chance it? With some Lip from the hertz lady she reluctantly gave us a van (After 10 minuets of talking with her). We had pulled into the first floor of the parking garage and walked into the Hertz station. The car they gave us was on the 2nd floor. Since we didn’t have a car seat my fiance walked to the kids down the steps to the other car while i hopped into the Van and was going to drive it down to the first floor to get our stuff from the other car. Well the Hertz Employee left her station to come outside and smoke, before i could pull out of my spot she said Stop! I checked before i came out here ( sounds like she was mad because she had to give us a van and wanted revenge) Get out of the car and give me the keys. I’m going to void your contract; that fast. I asked why, what happen. She just kept saying you can’t drive this car because you’re not on the contract. I told her She has been driving this entire Time, I’m just going down to the first floor because we didn’t’ have a car seat. Plus we had no idea, can you just add me then? Maybe just a warning so we would KNOW? Were a 100 miles from home and hundreds of miles from our destination. We need a car! She said no meet me inside. So now my 9 year old is crying scared and gets sick, 3 year old scared, my fiance is upset and were stuck at the airport. Since we paid well in advance we were able to get a good deal. Now to get a car for the same time period it was around a $1000, money we didn’t’ have extra. This was 30 minuets before the airport closed and only 30 minutes for me to figure out what i was going to do for my family before everything closed, lights out. I had asked many times can we just add me, give us a warning she said no. Seeing that my family was upset the nice lady at the Avis car rental said I hate to see your kids upset come over here and let me see what i can do. With a little work she got us a car that we could afford but had to shorten our stay with our family vacation that we have already paid in full. Now that this has happen I’m told we can’t get any of our money back. Hertz please give us a call and make this right. We were more than willing to pay the extra money to add me as a driver, we really had no idea that was needed, we were never asked we thought we were covered. The car was covered with full coverage insurance, we live in the same home. Our ID’s/Bills prove that, We have raised our two kids for 5 years in the same home. We thought we were doing the right thing, really truly had no idea. Can you call/email us to make this right. At a very minimum return all of our money. confirmation Number GXXXXXXXX. We just didn’t know. When she picked up the car she wasn’t ask. So when the lady asked for the keys we were stunned. That’s why we asked over and over again just to add me as a driver to solve all the problems. We weren’t trying to be “sneaky” we were just not informed. . Thanks for your help. Now days you can’t make an honest mistake without getting slammed to the wall. Now for some reason we also have an Unapproved Charge of $21.22 on our card. Also the contract she voided, she accidentally had me sign it not my fiance who rented it. The lady seemed really nervous and I was told that she did this very same thing just last week. hlp

    1. Yep, they super suck! Never rent one in Eureka CA. THEY ARE CRAP! I got in at 10:30 pm only to find out they didn’t have a car for me even though I booked it weeks in advance. Dangerous situation they put me in! The cars they do have smell like weed and dirty feet! People at the counter appear stoned and inefficient!!!

  7. Zero Stars

    Dirty out side of car and they changed me $9.99 per gallon after they told me at the counter that they had the best gas prices around the area. I’m a Gold member and remember now why I stopped using them. Downtown Portland…

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