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Nightmare with Hertz - can anyone help?

  • 08-10-2008 4:54pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,236 Dannyboy83


    Hello Ladies and gents,

    Apologies if I have posted this in the wrong section, this is my first time on the board. I signed up here as I feel I've been taken advantage of by Hertz and was hoping someone could give advice/share experiences.

    My story in short:

    I was recently in Lithuania on holidays, visiting my girlfriends family. I rented a car at Kaunas Airport through Hertz for 8 days, totalling to approximately 400 Euro.
    I have never been involved in any type of road accident in any country where I've driven, for example I drove in Poland 2 years ago which I would consider to have a more complicated road system than Lithuania, so I took Theft and collision insurance.
    I did not take the super collision insurance which would have reduced the excess to 0, as I felt the price was highly excessive at 16 euro per day, almost half the cost of renting the car per day, given that 8 days cover in Lithuania would be equal to 1.5 months in Ireland where I do substantially more travelling.

    Charges were deducted from Credit card prior to my arrival in Lithuania and I signed for the car when I landed at the airport.

    I travelled a distance of approximately 650km over the course of the 8 days, was never involved in any collision of any sort and returned the car to the airport a few hours prior to the scheduled time, depositing the keys and form at the Hertz desk like all other customers as the Hertz desk is unmanned on a Sunday evening.

    About 2 weeks later, I received an email from the help desk in Lithuania, regarding the terms of the rental. I assumed it was just a courtesy note as there was no notification in the subject line of what was to follow.

    When I read the agreement, I saw that I was going to be charged over 260 Euro for unreported damages to the car. Photos were sent on my email of the unreported damages. An accompanying charge sheet written in Excel was sent with the agreement, but it was written only in Lithuanian.

    I rang the Hertz office in Kaunas Airport and made enquiries. I informed the assistant that I hadn't been involved in any collisions and told him that I could not understand the charges as they were sent in Lithuanian only.
    I asked to speak to a manager and there was no manager available.
    I explained that I only spoke English, Polish & Russian and did not speak any Lithuanian so I asked for the charges to be translated from Lithuanian into English, the assistant agreed and said a damage sheet which I had signed prior to my rental would be sent on my email on the next working day, detailing the existing damage on the car prior to my rental, and it would be accompanied by an English translation of the charges against me.

    Needless to say, the translation never arrived. In the subsequent days, I received a garbled email stating that it was neither the assistant's duty nor Hertz's responsibility to have the charges translated into English. Futhermore, it was an Opel dealer (name/number not given) who had repaired the car and Hertz Lithuania appeared to have no insight into the process.

    I asked my girlfriend to attempt to translate the charges into English, but she was unable to translate them, as she said the charges didn't seem to make any sense, and some of the terminology appeared to be specialist.
    She suggested to me that coupled with the unco-operative nature of the assistant, it seemed to her like some kind of outrageous stealth tax (Paddy tax for want of a better word)

    In the meanwhile, I checked my bank account and saw that I had been charged E305 extra from my credit card by Hertz. They had charged me without even giving me a chance to understand what I being charged for, regardless of disputing the charges.

    I immediately rang the help desk, asked to speak to a manager and was told none was available. When I questioned the substantial charges made against my credit card - without my approval - the agent developed comprehension problems. I said I was going to contact my solicitor and was told 'do whatever you have to do'.

    The assistant did not appear even remotely interested to hear that the 'unreported damage' to the car most likely occured AFTER I had returned the car to the airport car park from where I had collected it, as other rental cars were being parked in the adjacent spaces.

    The charge on my credit card was E305 which would according to my Lithuanian friends would amount to a month's wages in Lithuania, it would be the equivalent of charging a client E2,500 in Ireland to fix a scratch on a car.


    I've been told to ring my credit card company to prevent Hertz taking any more money for unauthorised charges, but to be honest, I'm not sure what the impact of this will be....perhaps I will be acting illegally in this situation.

    I am unsure of what my next step should be now and would appreciate any advice.
    I'm guessing my only step forward at this stage will be to contact Hertz Ireland and try to get some understanding of the charges etc.

    I'm not sure if this is how business operates in Lithuania or perhaps it is just Hertz business culture, but I hope at the very least even if I never receive an apology, any other person who may consider taking a car from Hertz will think carefully after reading this post.

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Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 16,659 ✭✭✭✭ dahamsta


    Avis are as bad. Here's an email I sent them about a problem I had in Croatia. They don't even reply to their emails until I CC their parent company. I've been at it since August now. Shower of ****s.
    This would have been a lot easier to explain in person, however if you insist. Copies of the email confirmation from Avis Ireland and rental agreement from Avis Croatia are attached, together with a photo of the car.

    The car suffered some minor damage in Dubrovnik, while unattended overnight in the car park in our hotel; we filled out the incident report in the Avis wallet if you need the details. When we returned the car to the Avis office in the airport we expected to pay an excess, however the operator there decided with a glance that the repair cost was going to be €600, because both doors were damaged. Myself and my wife have both had work done on our cars and knew this to be excessive, however this was the last day of our honeymoon and we had no intention of ruining it by starting a dispute with a man that obviously had no interest in saying more than three words to us. He effectively threw the bill at my wife, and when she asked politely how we should pay - we didn't even attempt to challenge the bill - he gestured at the Visa terminal and muttered something incomprehensible.

    I'm not going to waste my time disputing the ridiculous excess I was charged for the minor repair work, as I'm sure Avis has all the bases covered with terms and conditions. However even that wasn't enough for the Croatian operator, who added another 250 Kuna to the bill for reasons best known only to himself. I would like that returned for a start, and I would like the bill fact-checked by someone competent to check for further errors, in particular the excess and the taxes charged on both the rental and the excess.

    I would also like it noted for the record that this sting in the tail of our honeymoon will prevent us from renting from Avis again, in Ireland or abroad. We feel we've been taken advantage of and taken for granted, and we won't allow a repeat occurence. As the only negative thing that happened on our entire honeymoon, you can be sure it will be mentioned when we're describing it to our family, friends and colleagues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,386 ✭✭✭ EKRIUQ


    That's seems extortionate, I returned a car once that had a huge scratch around the wheel rim that was done while I was in a supermarket but I wasn't charged anything extra as the coverage damage waiver had a zero excess.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭ punchdrunk


    i know this is a bit late in your case but ALWAYS,ALWAYS take photos of the rental car when you drop it back! they can't argue if you've got proof


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,386 ✭✭✭ EKRIUQ


    Did you have coverage damage waiver insurance on the rental car? This should cover most things


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 16,659 ✭✭✭✭ dahamsta


    Zero excess requires a fee these days in most outlets.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,386 ✭✭✭ EKRIUQ


    Zero excess requires a fee these days in most outlets.

    Probably depends on the Company, I usually use Argus for quotes and book through them


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,011 ✭✭✭✭ Run_to_da_hills


    punchdrunk wrote: »
    i know this is a bit late in your case but ALWAYS,ALWAYS take photos of the rental car when you drop it back! they can't argue if you've got proof

    You would want them to witness you taking the photos and sign to it, whats stopping them from saying that the photos were taken before any damage was done.

    Something to be said for "Rent a wreck" :Dhttp://www.rent-a-wreck.is/


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 16,659 ✭✭✭✭ dahamsta


    Namesco wrote: »
    Probably depends on the Company, I usually use Argus for quotes and book through them
    Argus charges "excess reimbursement insurance" to reduce their excess to zero, according to their website. About a fiver per day on a €50 rental.

    I've learned my lesson, I'll pay for the excess in future. But Avis is still in the wrong here imho. The amount charged for repairs isn't reasonable, and they charged me more than the excess anyway.

    I'm not sure if I can take them to Small Claims for that, don't think you can claim against a lease. I will if I can though, I've had enough of them at this stage. I've asked my solicitor to look into the rest.

    The problem with scumbags like this is that they stall and stall and stall and hope you'll forget about it. Of course anyone that knows dahamsta knows that I'll just get worse and worse and worse... :)

    adam


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭ punchdrunk


    You would want them to witness you taking the photos and sign to it, whats stopping them from saying that the photos were taken before any damage was done.

    Something to be said for "Rent a wreck" :Dhttp://www.rent-a-wreck.is/

    happened to my dad a couple of years ago,they said he scratched it,his response was well were do you want the photo's of the car sent to prove i didn't? and the problem was swiftly dropped on their part


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 17,715 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Nody


    The amount charged for repairs isn't reasonable
    Ask them for the invoice.
    and they charged me more than the excess anyway.
    Of course they would charge more, it is a damn insurance! The insurance works on the principle that 99.9 cases out of a 100 it will NOT be used to cover the 0.1 time it is required. If people could buy the excess insurance to cover all damage AFTER the car is damaged what would be the point of it?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,174 mathias


    I'm not sure if this is how business operates in Lithuania or perhaps it is just Hertz business culture, but I hope at the very least even if I never receive an apology, any other person who may consider taking a car from Hertz will think carefully after reading this post.

    This is not just Hertz , this is practically every car hire company in Europe at the moment , if you dont take the extra insurance you had better be prepared with a camera and the time to cover every inch of the car for damage before you take it.

    Otherwise you will be charged excessively for every scratch you missed , whether you caused it or not.

    The best thing to do is take the extra insurance , its a racket I know , but what can you do ?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,418 Jip


    I can only add to what others said about taking photos of a car when you hand it back, I've been renting cars for years for business and personal use and always insist an employee comes out with me and signs the damage diagram before and after I take the car showing there's been no additional damage when I hand it back. We usually take photos too but this year my wife took a video walking around the car outside the office, that way you can be almost sure they won't try taking advantage of you.
    OP, check out the Sunday Times website, a couple of months ago the Travel section had a campaign about exactly what you experienced with readers from all over mailing in their experiences.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,424 ✭✭✭ MOH


    Hertz did the same thing to my father in Ireland 4 years ago. Hit him with a massive damage fee, most of that damage being caused by the tow truck they sent out after he had a breakdown, who managed to drop the car while lifting it.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 16,659 ✭✭✭✭ dahamsta


    Nody wrote: »
    Ask them for the invoice.
    They're in Croatia, which is why Avis Ireland is supposed to be "investigating". If you'd read my post, you'd know that.
    Of course they would charge more, it is a damn insurance!
    Lose the tone when you're talking to me, and make an effort to understand what people are saying before posting kneejerk responses. I know what an excess is, but I'm not sure you do so I'll explain: The excess is the amount you pay before the insurance kicks in, and they overcharged me on that -- the excess on the rental was ~€600, they charged me ~€635. I want that €35 back.

    There may be people stupid enough to try to insure a risk after the fact, but I'm not one of them. I'd say different about someone that makes assumptions about people though, or posts commentary without actually reading what they're supposed to be commenting on properly.

    adam


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,236 Dannyboy83


    punchdrunk wrote: »
    i know this is a bit late in your case but ALWAYS,ALWAYS take photos of the rental car when you drop it back! they can't argue if you've got proof

    I appreciate your advice, but let me simply say "for the future" ..I will never, ever use Hertz again if I can help it, but I will certainly never use Hertz Lithuania again.

    Unfortunately, the only flight going into Lithuania that day was landing at about 10.30pm, so it was very dark by the time I collected the car.

    Also, when I returned the car on the Sunday evening, the desk was unmanned, despite two outgoing flight to Dublin and to Frankfurt. I'm beginning to suspect this is done on purpose, if no one is available to view the car and sign off before you get your flight home, you are essentially signing a blank cheque.

    My father was renting an equivalent car in Spain at the time. When I compared notes with him, I realised I had been charged about 200%-300% percent more than him across the board, from rental charges to insurance charges. He also said that in Malaga, he has never seen the car rental desks unmanned.

    Unfortunately, it looks like Hertz Lithuania took advantage of my good will and naivety and simply extorted whatever possible out of me.


    The whole reason I used Hertz was because I was explicitly warned by Lithuanian friends to use a reputable Car Hire agency, Lithuania generally has a reputation for greed and taking advantage of tourists, particularly in Kaunas.
    I assumed that Hertz Lithuania would be reputable, especially since they're prices were higher than everybody else. You tend to associate that with a level of quality, but it seems in reality, they are just out to extort every possible euro out of the customer that they can.

    I will probably make many return trips to Kaunas, I am not going to let this experience ruin the destination for me, but anybody who ever asks me about car hire - well.........I think the facts speak for themselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,375 ✭✭✭ kmick


    I find cancelling your credit card and ordering a new one after using a rental car is your safest bet.

    Dont get caught out again...!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,236 Dannyboy83


    Namesco wrote: »
    Did you have coverage damage waiver insurance on the rental car? This should cover most things

    I paid for "Collision Damage Waiver" at a cost of 6,95 per day (excess of E464)
    I paid for "Theft Protection" at a cost of 4,63 per day
    I pay for my own private "Personal Accident Insurance" so I did not avail of this

    I did not take the "Super Collision Damage Waiver" which would have cost an extra E16 per day (or an extra E128 for the 8 days). The sole function of this policy is to reduce your excess to 0.


    The actual costs were:
    Paints, tools – 118.39
    Repair works – 145.09

    Total: 263.48





    So either Hertz Car Rental in Kaunas/UAB Balticar or the the Opel Dealer who they claim repaired the car decided to take advantage of me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,236 Dannyboy83


    Argus charges "excess reimbursement insurance" to reduce their excess to zero, according to their website. About a fiver per day on a €50 rental.

    I've learned my lesson, I'll pay for the excess in future. But Avis is still in the wrong here imho. The amount charged for repairs isn't reasonable, and they charged me more than the excess anyway.

    I'm not sure if I can take them to Small Claims for that, don't think you can claim against a lease. I will if I can though, I've had enough of them at this stage. I've asked my solicitor to look into the rest.

    The problem with scumbags like this is that they stall and stall and stall and hope you'll forget about it. Of course anyone that knows dahamsta knows that I'll just get worse and worse and worse... :)

    adam

    E5 per day on a E50 per day rental would amount to about 10%, which you would assume is reasonable.

    UAB Balticar use as E16 charge on a E32 per day rental which amounts to 50%!!!!


    How would you go about taking them to the small claims court?

    The main reason i'm posting here is because I'm wondering what to do next really, when my credit card statement arrives, I'm going to ring Hertz in Dublin and ask them for some answers, or at the very least a translation of the charges!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,236 Dannyboy83


    Jip wrote: »
    I can only add to what others said about taking photos of a car when you hand it back, I've been renting cars for years for business and personal use and always insist an employee comes out with me and signs the damage diagram before and after I take the car showing there's been no additional damage when I hand it back. We usually take photos too but this year my wife took a video walking around the car outside the office, that way you can be almost sure they won't try taking advantage of you.
    OP, check out the Sunday Times website, a couple of months ago the Travel section had a campaign about exactly what you experienced with readers from all over mailing in their experiences.

    I will look for this, thanks.
    Might offer a course of action.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,393 ✭✭✭ Climate Expert


    punchdrunk wrote: »
    i know this is a bit late in your case but ALWAYS,ALWAYS take photos of the rental car when you drop it back! they can't argue if you've got proof
    I always do this as well.

    It can be hard getting your cc company on your side to issue a chargeback in these cases.

    If you booked in Ireland through Hertz you should be able to take them to the small claims court. I did this before and won fairly handy.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,236 Dannyboy83


    I always do this as well.

    It can be hard getting your cc company on your side to issue a chargeback in these cases.

    If you booked in Ireland through Hertz you should be able to take them to the small claims court. I did this before and won fairly handy.

    I booked from my office in work in Cork, but I booked it directly with the agency in Lithuania over the net.

    I've probably shot myself in the foot (again), what do you reckon mate?


    Seems to be a dirty business nonetheless, I'm surprised by it all really to be honest.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,393 ✭✭✭ Climate Expert


    Dannyboy83 wrote: »
    I booked from my office in work in Cork, but I booked it directly with the agency in Lithuania over the net.

    I've probably shot myself in the foot (again), what do you reckon mate?


    Seems to be a dirty business nonetheless, I'm surprised by it all really to be honest.
    It is a terrible business and very consumer unfriendly. Did you go through www.hertz.ie to make the booking. I'd just fire off a claim (€15) for hertz Irleand and see what happens. In my case i booked through an Irish broker. They tried to wash their hands of it but the Judge saw otherwise.

    Write a complaint to the Hertz head office about this and say you know its a scam and that you will never use Hertz again unless they resolve it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,269 ✭✭✭ DamoKen


    kmick wrote: »
    I find cancelling your credit card and ordering a new one after using a rental car is your safest bet.

    Dont get caught out again...!

    did that today after checking my online account and seeing AutoEuropa have charged an extra 100 to my card with no explanation. This is after ruining our holiday 2 weeks ago when it transpired the drop off point as agreed in the contract doesn't open Sundays. Had a snotty p*ick telling me when I rang the only office they appear to have open in the whole of Sicily that I'd broken the contract as the car hadn't been returned to the dropoff by 10am. This was said as I was standing outside said closed dropoff!
    In the end had to drive 100km back to Palermo which we'd passed on the way, drop the car and get a taxi costing 160 euro back!

    I've decided that in the future I'm just going to report my card stolen anytime I get back from holidays where I hire a car, gangsters! Worst thing is how do you contest a scratch that wasn't there, a tank you filled but then two weeks later they say you didn't and charge you for it?

    No idea why I was charged but I'll never use them again, most unhelpful ignorant f*ckers I've ever dealt with, standard reply when I asked where do I drop the car was "Not my problem"


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,069 sunnysoutheast


    Unfortunately this appears to be almost standard practice in this industry at present, we've heard virtually the same story from a few people now which puts me off renting a car TBH. Like other posters have said you're better off gritting your teeth and paying for the waivers. Stories of multiple phantom repairs at great expense abound.

    The only surefire way otherwise is to go over every inch of the car and drag one of the staff out to sign the form, not an option all the time of course.

    You should also check all fluid levels when you pick the car up, if the oil dries up they'll try charging you for a new engine. Happened to an old neighbour of mine because the rental company had left the oil filler cap off, probably for weeks with nobody looking under the bonnet.

    SSE


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,461 ✭✭✭✭ ejmaztec


    Having hired cars in the Czech Republic during the last for or five years, I find that all of the hire companies that I've used don't give a toss whether you get overcharged or not. I've used Budget, Sixt and Alamo, booked by either Argus or Nova Car Hire. Only once did I ever get charged the Euro amount quoted. The agents and the hire companies simply ignore any requests for refunds, or explanations as to why there are differences (between €40 and €50 each time). I'm glad that I was never involved in a collision.

    Trying to get the agents to recover any differences is also a waste of time. The hire companies probably have world-class reputations, but the people they employ barely understand English, or pretend they don't understand English.

    After my last trip, a couple of months ago, I'm going through the annual trauma of trying to find out why I'm short €40 again. I think that it might be more effective were I to hop on a plane to Prague, just to plant a brick through the Alamo car-hire window and see if they understand that.

    Re the agents, I prefer dealing with Nova Car-hire, who seem to earn less commission than Argus, by about 50%.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,332 311


    Another way people get caught out ,is been taken to the drivers door of the car and shown the mileage,how clean the car is. Without checking over the entire bodywork of the car.

    I've gotten a ,"Oh I didn't know that mark was there" before from a hire rep.:mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,461 ✭✭✭✭ ejmaztec


    311 wrote: »
    Another way people get caught out ,is been taken to the drivers door of the car and shown the mileage,how clean the car is. Without checking over the entire bodywork of the car.

    I've gotten a ,"Oh I didn't know that mark was there" before from a hire rep.:mad:

    Not to mention having to tell them that you know that a couple of wheel-trims seem to be missing from their brand-new car, so's you don't get stung for them when you drop the car off. :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 40 ✭✭✭ AnotherHelenD


    www.insurance4carhire.com offer an annual policy.
    www.carhireexcess.com (blue insurance) also.

    I think the car hire companies charge extortionate prices for insurance and desk staff can get quite narky when you refuse to avail of it.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 16,659 ✭✭✭✭ dahamsta


    I was actually surprised that Avis Croatia didn't try to upsell it to me. I think it's the first time that's happened. Maybe if they'd sold it to me the locals couldn't pull their scam...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,375 ✭✭✭ kmick


    Can you use 3V vouchers to pay for a car? They are a one off voucher so they could not re-charge you.


This discussion has been closed.
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