Good morning folks. An issue that arose from my past weekend so wanted to provide a caution to everyone.
First of all, I tend to be a very loyal member to a program whether it is hotels, airlines and car rentals .I tend to have my preference and my 'back-up' if prices are significantly different, availability, location, etc. SO..I generally rent from National Car Rental as I build up 'free days' and I pick ANY car on the lot with my Executive Elite status. However, this past weekend at LAX, Hertz (my back-up (Gold Member) and I believe Marriott Loyalty partner), the same car was 40% cheaper and therefore I went that direction...no problem for two days.
Returning the rental last night, I noted the car rental bill at check-out was $57+ more than my contract (over 71% markup!). I advised the attendant and she advised that I should call the Hertz 1-800# in the morning and I did a few hours ago. I checked my credit card statement and they had billed me the extra $$. When I called the customer service, they agreed with the error and said they would fix it. They could not provide an explanation for the error (in their favor by 71%!) so sent me to the LAX location to obtain the explanation only to be put into a voicemail system.
I usually check bills but would not have noticed a few $$ difference but a difference of $57 on a $81 contract I did. I CAUTION others of this 'scam'. I have emailed the Hertz customer service wanting a defined explanation to this tort. So I was wondering if any of you have had similar experiences with car rentals, hotels, restaurants, etc.
Maybe I will start a blog on personal ways of detecting frauds so stand-by for that. All the best. Phil
I am not a big fan of Hertz. Their rates are almost always higher and in some cases much higher than competitors. I use a corporate code for Enterprise and boy it has saved me lots of $. The fact they have non airport locations is awesome, and when renting from the airport the rates are still good. Their cars are good and the associates are friendly. I can honestly say I have rented from Enterprise at EWR, DTW, SFO, OGG, and locally and all my experiences have been good. The other corporate code I have it for Budget. Now I prefer Enterprise over Budget but I did rent from them a Jeep Grand Cherokee and when I got in it, it had 42 miles on it! A brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee and at a great rate. Can't beat that.
I've found that the trick with Hertz is checking rates over and over again. I selected them for my upcoming trip to Hawaii (3 rentals on 3 islands). I've modified my bookings more times than I care to admit and the price for each of the 3 is now on par (if not slightly lower) than most of the major competitors. It took a while (looking up the same itinerary) so many times, but each time the price dropped, I locked in the lower rate. Add to that the Hertz Five Star status (thanks to being a UA SIlver which came with Marriott Platinum) and I'll walk straight to my car (I don't rent enough to earn status otherwise so this is a nice plus for me).
No matter where I rent, I usually end up with an almost new car (a couple thousand miles at most). After I do my county collecting and rack up 3-5k miles in a week, I can only imagine what the folks think when I return the vehicle.
HERTZ called...said it is a glitch in their system which means they have been aware of this for awhile and fail to advise the consumer! I see a CLASS ACTION here for sure. The manager would not talk with me at their customer service. The admission by the agent truly adds fuel to my fire. Preying tactics on the consumer.
bejacob you know if you sign up for Avis Preferred after the first rental where you need to go to the counter for DL and CC verification purposes you walk right to your car and bypass the rental counter as well?
My experience with Avis has been mixed. Often they've been higher priced than Hertz (I know, I know, it's hard to imagine) at least where I've wanted to go. I used to use Dollar and Thrifty (now owned by Hertz, if I remember correctly). Have used Budget and Alamo before. Rented from Advantage once and ended up with a blowout which I was charged for (long story ).
In any case, many of the majors are about the same (in my opinion) so it's just a matter of picking one out of a hat most of the time. There may not be as much competition as in the past, but if one company always ended up higher than everybody else, they'd eventually lose business. I did use Hotwire once (out of ATL) and ended up with a great deal. Guess who they sent me to ... Hertz.
I always do my price comparison. What I don't do is go with one of the second-tier companies. If anything goes wrong, I'd rather have a large company try to make things right than deal with someone who might not be around next time I'm in town.
Find a company you like and as long as the price is reasonable, stick with 'em. Loyalty may not mean quite as much as it does with hotels, but it can help now and then.
I've rented from Hertz twice in the last year, not much of a fan. I normally can find a lower rate on Avis using my "special discount" codes (and no not the gov't rate anymore), even lower than the Hertz "UA MileagePlus, AMEX Rate, Baby Boomer Over 50 Rate and even the Marriott Rate".
I was just setting up my travel for the next month (five days a week, every week) and I noticed that when I was setting up a rental with Hertz that they would only show me full size and up (to the sports and luxury cars). At first I was peeved that no compact or mid-sized cars were available. For some reason I pressed the back key on the browser and went forward again to re-check.
Suddenly the compact and mid-size choices were visible to me.
Then I repeated the same process for the other three weeks of reservations and the web site behavior repeated itself.
Someone must of decided to be "clever" and set it up so more expensive cars show first, then when you reload the page the less expensive vehicles show up. That is a pretty dirty trick and I bet that a certain number of people just go "oh well, I will take what they have".
I am a presidents circle Hertz customer who rents every week. I use a Hertz rental three times more often than I am in my own personal car. My rentals are on a corporate rate and some will say "don't worry about it, your client pays the bill" but we are an employee owned company and our pay and profit is based upon how well we manage our expenses.
I will be giving this feedback up to our corporate travel planners who negotiate our rates with Hertz. This is dirty pool.
I too am not a fan of Hertz. Every time I've looked at their rates, they're much higher (sometimes even double) everyone else. I most recently rented from Avis via Costco Travel at KOA. IAHFLYR, with Avis Preferred, you need not visit the counter again after your first time. This was explained to me at KOA when their computers crashed and they couldn't do my initial CC verification for about 10 minutes But my experience with them was positive. The car I had we decently nice and fairly new too, but I just didn't care for my Altima. It's engine & transmission were not fun to deal with on Saddle Road!
Hey bejacob, did you check out Discount Hawaii Car Rental Maui Car Rentals Honolulu Kona Kauai Hilo Waikiki? They are often (but not always) cheaper than going directly thru the agency and may offer additional perks free of charge like 2nd driver. I use them here and there for neighbor islands. I also use Costco Travel for car rentals pretty often too now. Either that or I deal directly with the agency or sometimes search through MasterCard.
Personally I seem to use Alamo and Enterprise the most. They have been the most cost effective for me and I usually get agreeable cars with them. It irritates me to know end, however, how National, Alamo and Enterprise all have different loyalty programs, even though they're all under the Drive Alliance umbrella. So I'm enrolled with all 3 of them and Avis Preferred. I don't rent enough to earn elite statuses and haven't even gotten a free day yet, so cost is my primary driver (without sacrificing quality of course).
I do really want to try Silvercar next time I'm in a market they serve. Prices aren't the greatest, but the value is excellent and I've hear such great things about their process and their service.
I do like Hertz Gold, but some of their rates are ridiculous compared to others in certain cities. Its easy enough to sign up for Express service at other rental car companies. Waiting in line for a rental car has to be up there with worst travel experiences especially just coming off a flight.
I am not a fan of rental cars. The amount of taxes added, especially at airports, by the local tax agencies is obscene. I am becoming a big fan of public transportation and have had good results with Uber lately. I signed up with Car 2 Go if I need short term transportation while traveling. I have also just signed up with Silvercar which rents only Audi A4s and you do it all from your phone. Right now they are only in 11 cities, but they appear to be growing fast. Their daily rate starts at $59 and climbs up to $99 based on demand in that particular market. Unfortunately, they still have to collect all the obscene taxes.
Thanks curiousone..never heard of Car 2 Go but like the idea. I don't think we have the Silvercar out these parts but I will look into. Also, UBER is not truly available in Vegas...yet...and almost used it for the first time last month in Denver but I ended up getting a ride to the airport from a friend.
I have used Budget for my rentals though there's plenty of local shops as well. I'm a National user here and most places and initially looked at using Hertz there as there's no National. Hertz will not allow you to take the cars on the ferry across to St John, so if that's on your travel plans (and it should be) then you'll want to use someone else's cars. It's not an issue of just "violating the rules" the ferry people won't let you on the boats, I've seen them turn folks away.
So that said, I've used Budget and for the last 3 yrs not had any issues. I book well in advance, I always book the 4 door jeep and I always take the insurance. I never take the insurance anywhere else but with it, they don't even bat an eye at the jeep when I drop it off. Watched them pick a jeep apart for another person returning, heard "we have to evaluate everything since you dont have coverage" ....
My problem with Hertz is that they add a significant amount of overhead to their authorization for a rental. Being on the road all the time, I have found using them that I would become over extended at times because Hertz would add $300 or more to the authorization then take up to a week or more to release it. On some of the longer expense cycles with my old company it was pretty painful having rented multiple cars in a 2 or 3 week period, it at one point added over $1500 in "authorized - pending charges" on top of the several thousand bucks in actual rental charges.
So budget buyer beware, the final price you pay is not the price you'll need to actually rent a car from Hertz. National I know only authorizes for the stated amount if using a standard credit card. All bets are off if using a check card
I am coming into this a little late but I do want to add a quick comment. I had been renting from Hertz very specifically because they were a partner to Marriott and I believe also with IHG. Allegedly, there is a discount but clearly there is really no advantage. Last February I had an issue with the agreed amount of points etc. It is not worth providing all the facts, but believe me, Hertz could not have cared less. It was a horrible experience. Time consuming and extremely frustrating. I don't think anything anyone does will change their attitude. You can leave Hertz and go to another car rental agency but they might own that one also.
I've found that booking through Costco travel often gets you the best price - even better than any of the so-called discounts we get through Marriott or elsewhere for Hertz or Budget. Plus with Costco there are no hidden fees, you don't have to prepay, you can have an extra driver at no additional charge, you get an automatic upgrade to the next class of cars, and you can cancel at any time. I usually end up with Alamo or Enterprise. I've had a few problems with Alamo on the last two rentals. The last rental car was not full of fuel when I picked it up - it only had 3/4 of a tank. But I didn't have time to mess around and wait, so I just took the car. And it was a VW Jetta which is a much nicer car than I'd expect for booking the cheapest car available. The car before that was a Ford Focus which had a very touchy transmission so I returned it for a different car. They claimed there was nothing wrong with the car and that's just how the Ford Focus drives, but I am sure they are wrong about that. The transmission was so herky-jerky that I had a hard time backing out of parking spots as I couldn't accelerate smoothly at all. They charged me $89 in fuel charges as I swapped cars without refueling the Focus which I guess was my fault. So I'm not sure about Alamo. It's ok I guess. Enterprise has been ok, too. I'll pay extra to rent from a place onsite at the airport just to avoid a long shuttle. Worst rental ever was from Advantage in HNL - beat up, scratched up high mileage old car with terrible service at the rental car desk. I will not use Advantage again! Also, never book through Allegiant as you have to prepay, and there is only one driver allowed, and there are hidden fees they tack on at the end.
I just compared Costo Avis and Hertz rate with the companies own online rates for an upcoming trip and found the Costco rates higher without any discount rates being applied for Avis and Hertz. When I applied a few discount codes to Avis and Hertz the rate from Costo was almost twice as much.
All included all taxes and airport fees.
Granted I have some deeply discount rate codes for Avis and Hertz to be able to find these lower rates, but I had not even thought of Costco previously and will in all future car rental searches as you always need more options.
I have found that Alamo or Enterprise are almost always less expensive than Hertz or Avis, with or without discounts. I have a couple of memberships that give pretty hefty discounts at Hertz, but even with the steep discounts, Hertz is still so much more expensive than Alamo or Enterprise. Why is this? Are they that much better?
I was just looking at rental cars for an upcoming trip to PHL (5 days). I got a quote through the citi prestige concierge, the cheapest price for a midsize being $257 from hertz despite their advertising of "20% off through world elite mastercard". Prices on the OTAs were higher than that (as I didn't want to use firefly). I then used the amex platinum CDP for hertz and my price went from $257 for a mid size to $192 for a full size.
And Costco gives you and automatic upgrade from the class of car you're actually purchasing, plus you can add an extra driver without an additional fee, and you can cancel at any time. Last time I rented through Costco, I rented the cheapest thing available but got upgraded to a specialty car which was several classes higher than what I paid for.
I typically use Hertz or when ever possible www.silvercar.com (limited number of airports) - since I enjoy driving their 'trick out' Audi A4s.
Once I have locked in the best rate I can locate, I them go to www.autoslash.com and enter the reservation information. I have found autoslash to be a fabulous service for continuously searching for lower rates. Most auto rental companies are constantly adjusting rates based upon projected activity and availabilty of inventory at destinations - autoslash seems to find these lower rates when the happening and locks them in for my reservations.
This system may work for you.
Not sure I would call it a "scam" or "fraud". The charge was wrong. Operator error is most likely culprit. But it's excellent advice to review your bill. I often fail to do that until weeks later (sometimes more). Difficult to remember exactly what happened and even more difficult to prove the charge was wrong. Catch it immediately.
I have to say I have found National to be the best - especially if you often travel to major hubs where you end up being to pick nearly any car, just get in and drive it out. Also, the free days policy makes sense, and they have at least two promo's a year where you are earning extra free cars on top of your normal free cars (one-two-free) promotions. Avis has recently changed to a totally messed up program, where you can't really tell what you have until you go to book a car and try to use mysterious points you've earned. Hertz rewards don't compare and are not a good value at all.
You can try booking your car rental reservations using discount codes provided to member groups. Try the following: