Hold charges & requirements for France rental?

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Jan 15, 2018
2
0
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#1
I'm renting from the CDG hertz in a few weeks and made the reservation over the phone for the sole purpose of making sure all my "t"s were crossed and my "i"s dotted. The reservation itself is fine, but I'm discovering the info I received at the time of booking may be incorrect. I'm hoping fellow travelers have some experience. Its not my first time renting abroad, but it IS my first time renting through Hertz internationally and I may be regretting it.

1. No one can conclusively say if I need an International Drivers Licence. Its not a big deal to go get one, I'm AAA, just aggravated I've been told varying things. I'll cover my bases.
2. There may be an exceptionally high credit card hold when I rent (1500Euros) that no one can confirm or deny.

One agent at Hertz happened to mention a "hold" on my credit card when I pick up the rental, and I said, "no problem" because in the US its a reasonable fee I expect. She said to be forewarned its 1500 Euro, which I pointed out is absurd (its over 2000$ USD). Now I've talked to 4 different Hertz agents from web to international to customer care and not a single one can confirm or deny this. I find it very hard to believe people just show up in Europe and aren't surprised by such a hold (and yes, I understand its just a hold)- but I want to ensure I am ALSO not surprised. Another agent, to get me off the phone, I suspect, mentioned I should just bring a letter from my credit card assuring Hertz that I am covered on my rental. This sounds.... suspicious.

Anyone have experience with this?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,982
12,231
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
Often they put a large hold on your card if you don’t purchase their insurance. They hold a large amount in case you have an accident and have to pay for damages. You need to determine the best way to ensure you have enough insurance over there.
 
Likes: VoR61

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
350
430
63
St. Louis
#4
Many car rental agencies overseas will rent to you without an International Licence or translation. The issue though may be whether your legal to drive without one or the other. Usually driving requirements can be found by visting the countries embassy website (or sometimes on the US embassy website). Here is the information from the French Embassy on driving requirements in France:

"You may drive with a valid U.S. driver’s license if it is accompanied by a notarized translation in French. It is strongly recommended that you carry an International Driving Permit. You must be 18 years of age or older to drive in France"​
 
Jan 19, 2018
10
27
13
63
#5
I have been renting cars at CDG (mostly from Hertz) 3-4x/year for the last 4 years and have been taking short-term leases every summer for over 25 years. I have never been asked for an international driver's license. Never been asked by any "gendarmes" either BUT after reading the terms and conditions posted by Christina I would play it safe and get that international license. I'm renting in CDG April 15, I'm going to AAA today! Hertz WILL charge you for loss of use should you come across a gendarme who chooses to follow the letter of law and confiscate the car. Not likely but could happen.

Do get a letter from your credit card showing that you have car rental insurance. Hertz at CDG is pretty good about knowing some major US credit card benefits but really can you expect them to know if ,for example, your Chase United card (recent edition) has insurance but my much older Chase United does not? Last year I witnessed a distraught American family having to fork over an extra 900euros for insurance because they did not know (or could prove) if their Chase Amazon card had rental insurance.
There will be a substantial hold on your credit card. My experience has been close to 700euros.

Check the date on your driver's license. It has to have been valid for at least 1 year. Most European licenses note the original date of validity but not so for many states. My NY license only shows my renewal date so whenever we renew a license we keep the old one with us to show continuous driving priviledges.
Watch out for Dynamic Currency Conversion! They should ask, but don't usually, if you want to pay in US$ or Euros. If your credit card does not have foreign purchase fees you absolutely want to pay in Euros. Hertz's conversion rate is very favorable to them and will cost you anywhere from $4 to $8 more a day! Watch out for the following language before signing (it is not translated into the English portion of the contract) "choisi de payer mes frais de location dans la devise de mon pays" CROSS IT OUT! I also write in several places on the contract "je paie en Euros". Check the receipt to see that it is in Euros (though they sometimes convert that later to US$ "for yor convenience", so keep the receipts!)

Lastly be sure to inspect the car very carefully before leaving the lot. Take photos of any pre-existing and make sure it is noted on the contract. Do not take any agents word that it is too small or OK, the returning agent might see it differently. When returning the car take plenty of time-stamped photos of the car outside, inside and of the gas gauge. Hertz France Customer service is really unpleasant to deal with (and I am French!). I have had to contest unwarranted charges for at least half of my car rentals (not just with Hertz and affiliates and not just in France....this is an industry-wide problem) and won each time but so time consuming!
 

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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,393
6,452
113
San Francisco
#6
The "international drivers license" topic has been debated for a long time. Originally, I always got one but haven't bothered in years. I don't think the car rental places care (but I rent through AutoEurope, a broker. so that may make me seem like a lesser risk). What the IDL really does is translate your pertinent information into the language of the country you are driving in. In all my travels, I have never met a law enforcement person who will admit to speaking/reading any language but their own.

I think the subject seems mysterious because so many rental stations are franchised and often have "their own" rules.

When it comes to renting a car worth thousands of euros, there's really no way to escape the CC hold except by using a very strong credit card like AmEx or a Chase Sapphire. I always decline the rental company's coverage, and have never been asked for "proof" of insurance; occasionally they want to know who carries the coverage on my personal vehicles.

I think that renting through AutoEurope, having a strong CC, being well dressed when picking up the vehicle and a confident manner are good ways to get the car rental vultures to back off.
 
Likes: AMA

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,393
6,452
113
San Francisco
#7
The "international drivers license" topic has been debated for a long time. Originally, I always got one but haven't bothered in years. I don't think the car rental places care (but I rent through AutoEurope, a broker. so that may make me seem like a lesser risk). What the IDL really does is translate your pertinent information into the language of the country you are driving in. In all my travels, I have never met a law enforcement person who will admit to speaking/reading any language but their own.

I think the subject seems mysterious because so many rental stations are franchised and often have "their own" rules.

When it comes to renting a car worth thousands of euros, there's really no way to escape the CC hold except by using a very strong credit card like AmEx or a Chase Sapphire. I always decline the rental company's coverage, and have never been asked for "proof" of insurance; occasionally they want to know who carries the coverage on my personal vehicles.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,393
6,452
113
San Francisco
#8
I'm renting from the CDG hertz in a few weeks and made the reservation over the phone for the sole purpose of making sure all my "t"s were crossed and my "i"s dotted. The reservation itself is fine, but I'm discovering the info I received at the time of booking may be incorrect. I'm hoping fellow travelers have some experience. Its not my first time renting abroad, but it IS my first time renting through Hertz internationally and I may be regretting it.

1. No one can conclusively say if I need an International Drivers Licence. Its not a big deal to go get one, I'm AAA, just aggravated I've been told varying things. I'll cover my bases.
2. There may be an exceptionally high credit card hold when I rent (1500Euros) that no one can confirm or deny.

One agent at Hertz happened to mention a "hold" on my credit card when I pick up the rental, and I said, "no problem" because in the US its a reasonable fee I expect. She said to be forewarned its 1500 Euro, which I pointed out is absurd (its over 2000$ USD). Now I've talked to 4 different Hertz agents from web to international to customer care and not a single one can confirm or deny this. I find it very hard to believe people just show up in Europe and aren't surprised by such a hold (and yes, I understand its just a hold)- but I want to ensure I am ALSO not surprised. Another agent, to get me off the phone, I suspect, mentioned I should just bring a letter from my credit card assuring Hertz that I am covered on my rental. This sounds.... suspicious.

Anyone have experience with this?
hzp, have you checked into increasing the credit limit on your CC? Then you can play their little game with impunity.