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.