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.