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08-10-2008, 16:54   #1
Dannyboy83
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Nightmare with Hertz - can anyone help?

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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08-10-2008, 19:23   #2
dahamsta
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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.

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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.
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08-10-2008, 19:41   #3
EKRIUQ
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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.
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08-10-2008, 19:53   #4
punchdrunk
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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
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08-10-2008, 19:54   #5
EKRIUQ
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Did you have coverage damage waiver insurance on the rental car? This should cover most things
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08-10-2008, 21:12   #6
dahamsta
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Zero excess requires a fee these days in most outlets.
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08-10-2008, 21:43   #7
EKRIUQ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMelodrama View Post
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
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08-10-2008, 21:44   #8
 
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Originally Posted by punchdrunk View Post
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" http://www.rent-a-wreck.is/

Last edited by Run_to_da_hills; 08-10-2008 at 21:55.
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08-10-2008, 22:12   #9
dahamsta
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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

Last edited by dahamsta; 08-10-2008 at 22:17.
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09-10-2008, 00:21   #10
punchdrunk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Run_to_da_hills View Post
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" http://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
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09-10-2008, 05:48   #11
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Originally Posted by DaMelodrama View Post
The amount charged for repairs isn't reasonable
Ask them for the invoice.

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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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09-10-2008, 07:01   #12
 
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Quote:
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 ?
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09-10-2008, 10:08   #13
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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.
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09-10-2008, 10:17   #14
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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.
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09-10-2008, 12:06   #15
dahamsta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nody View Post
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.

Quote:
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

Last edited by dahamsta; 09-10-2008 at 12:09.
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