Beware of renting from Hertz in Australia

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Oct 30, 2015
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#1
I am new to this website and forum so if I screw this up, please forgive me.

Two years ago (yes, it still rankles) my husband and I vacationed in Cairns,
Australia. We rented a car through my credit card holder, USAA. We rented from Hertz at the Cairns Airport. I had purchased trip insurance. (I found out much later that they would NOT have covered an accident overseas. That's NOT what they told me when I purchased trip insurance.)

There was no inspection paperwork in our rental agreement. For that matter, there was no kiosk like we have in the US, where you turn in your inspection sheet. We waited for half an hour for 'someone' to tell us we could leave. We saw other renters get in their cars and drive off, so, eventually we did that.
There was NO damage to the car when we got it.
There was NO damage to the car when we returned it, three weeks later. It was dirty but otherwise undamaged.
We returned it one day before our flight back to the US. The girl in the office looked at it and told us to drive it up to the parking lot on the fourth floor (we returned it to the downtown Hertz office as then we could walk back to our hotel.) She gave us an invoice, charged my card $685 Australian and we left.

Thirty six hours later (we were in the US by then) I checked my credit card balance online and saw that Hertz had charged my card $4500 for '''''accident damage". It claimed that I had returned the car at 12 midnight, two days after I'd returned to the US.
I of course sent emails to them saying what the hell, and called my credit card company.
A week later, they charged my card AGAIN for a little over a hundred dollars for "service charges". that's when I called my credit card company and told them to kill the card.
I fought Hertz for the next YEAR. They refused to provide any information regarding the non-existent accident. There was no date, place, time, no police report, insurance claim, ambulance call, no witnesses, no damage estimate, no repair costs, no photos, not a single shred of evidence that there'd been an accident. NOTHING.
I thought that by killing my card I could prevent them from charging it again? WRONG. Credit card companies tell ''creditors'' your new card number.
That's how I learned that Hertz told my CC company that the accident had occurred a week after we'd turned the car in. They sent my CC company an invoice that was totally unlike the one I'd received from the clerk in Cairns. The new one showed that I'd ''''acknowledged' that the car had been damaged and ''agreed' to the charges on my card. However, not only did my plane tickets and insurance policy prove my date of return to the US, there was also no signature on the phony invoice..of course not. It never happened and I never signed their phony invoice.

Over the next year, we-me and my CC company-badgered Hertz for any information to prove their fraudulent charges. I sent snail mail and emails to their corporate offices in Australia. I never got past the desk nazi in Hertz's US office.
It got worse. Hertz USA stonewalled me and my CC company, putting us on a merry go round of clerks and supervisors taking turns telling me to wait while they 'investigated'. But after six months Hertz accused me of waiting too long to challenge the claim and that I would have to pay $25 for them to retrieve the invoice from archives. My original and real one wasn't good enough. I'd 'created' it, they claimed.
About six months into the war I got an email purportedly showing the 'damage'. The email said that the damage was on the 'driver's side' door. The picture was of a maroon car door, the LEFT side of the car. But in Australia, they drive on the wrong side of the road and the driver sits on the RIGHT side. PLUS the car I'd rented was BLACK. And the sender wrote "damage buffed out." WOW. Can you imagine...buffing out over $4500 worth of 'damage'?

It took MONTHS. Hertz refused to answer any questions. Calling corporate was a runaround. Their website for corporate wasn't really corporate. It was an office in New Jersey and I never got further than a supervisor.
Only when I contacted my state Attorney General did I finally get some action. But even then, and even when my CC company demanded proof, they never provided any evidence.
Eventually my CC credited my card with the $4500, saying I had proved beyond any doubt that I was innocent and they were going to take Hertz on by themselves.

My advice? As I've read elsewhere on this forum? Take pictures of the car before and after with time and date. Take LOTS of pictures of license plate, odometer, and write down the VIN. I wish I'd done that. But mostly, when you take up this battle, keep detailed records. Copy every piece of paperwork Hertz gives you. Keep them safe. When you fight them, and when you talk to your Credit company, annotate who you talked to, the time the date, get their extension number, a phone number that doesn't send you through a tree, and most of all, keep track of what was discussed.
Hertz, apparently, is like other car rental agencies...they're going to screw you. Be careful.
 
Jan 8, 2015
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#3
Qorx, I understand the frustration and I would have wanted to kill someone over there. not sure of there is more than one location in that city, but if so, it may be a good idea to point out which one it was, so we don't all assume that one location did you harm when in reality it was a completely different location.
 
Likes: AMA
Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
#4
Thank you, Mike, that's a good idea. We picked up the car at the Cairns Airport. We dropped the car off at the downtown Cairns office because of the convenience of walking back to our hotel afterwards.
Please, though...let me assure you that in our entire three week trip, the horrid Hertz experience was the only downer. The rest of our trip was wonderful.Wonderful people, great food, wonderful sights to see.
 
Likes: AMA
Sep 22, 2015
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#5
Wow! What an ordeal. I am curious, does anyone know if being a member of a loyalty program like Hertz Gold would have achieved better service in a case like this?
 
Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
#6
We have been members of the Hertz Gold club for as long as the program/club has existed. Let's say it's ten years, at least. It didn't make a bit of difference. They fraudulently charged my card $4500 despite our 'membership.' Honestly, I think the only reason they have a '''Hertz gold' program is merely to harvest data for advertisements.
 
Likes: AMA

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#7
Stories like this make me want to pay for a car rental in cash so they have no way of billing my credit card fraudulently.
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#8
Stories like this make me want to pay for a car rental in cash so they have no way of billing my credit card fraudulently.
Many car rental places don't accept cash anymore. They do it for the flip side of what we get, which is when customers do damage cars and lie about it. All of which could be avoided if they'd pay for the minimum wage attendant to walk around your car with you when you pick it up and turn it in.
 
Likes: jsn55
Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
#9
Not only do they not accept cash, the car rental companies don't accept debit cards or checks, either. They want access to your credit. They know they can commit theft on it and there's not much you can do, other than fight them. If you want to learn something even more worrisome, check out the arbitration clause they have in their contracts now. This means you cannot even sue them for fraud. A judge hears their case and yours, and almost always rules for the company.
 
Oct 10, 2015
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#10
If Hertz was stonewalling you and the credit card company, "howcum" the credit card company did not wipe the charge off of your account while awaiting Hertz's next move?
 
Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
#11
Please read my original post. My credit card DID credit my card back with the money Hertz stole. But a credit card company has to investigate all sides of the story. I would bet my boots that there are many people who 'claim' theft or fraud to their CC company when nothing of the sort happened. It would be stupid for them to just take my word for it, even though my word has always been my bond. Even with my stellar credit they had to have proof that no accident had occurred. If an accident had truly happened Hertz would have had pictures, police reports, damage estimates, etc in their hands in a New York Minute. But Hertz couldn't create out of whole cloth what had never happened. They lied and got caught, but it took months to disprove their claim. Trust me, during the entire time my credit card company they did NOT charge me late fees.

And please...make this grammatically correct (if old fashioned) lady happy. If you can't use 'why', please. It's "how come". Not 'howcum'.
 
Sep 22, 2015
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#12
Please read my original post. My credit card DID credit my card back with the money Hertz stole. But a credit card company has to investigate all sides of the story. I would bet my boots that there are many people who 'claim' theft or fraud to their CC company when nothing of the sort happened. It would be stupid for them to just take my word for it, even though my word has always been my bond. Even with my stellar credit they had to have proof that no accident had occurred. If an accident had truly happened Hertz would have had pictures, police reports, damage estimates, etc in their hands in a New York Minute. But Hertz couldn't create out of whole cloth what had never happened. They lied and got caught, but it took months to disprove their claim. Trust me, during the entire time my credit card company they did NOT charge me late fees.

And please...make this grammatically correct (if old fashioned) lady happy. If you can't use 'why', please. It's "how come". Not 'howcum'.
He/she put it in quotes...he was using "poetic license" :)
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 22, 2015
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#13
Not only do they not accept cash, the car rental companies don't accept debit cards or checks, either. They want access to your credit. They know they can commit theft on it and there's not much you can do, other than fight them. If you want to learn something even more worrisome, check out the arbitration clause they have in their contracts now. This means you cannot even sue them for fraud. A judge hears their case and yours, and almost always rules for the company.
An "arbitrator" hears the case, not a judge...although it might be a retired judge
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#14
@Qorx i am so sorry you had this. It sounds awful. These rental car companies are ruthless. Also, you may want to keep a closer eye on your credit for a bit in case they sell off this amount to a collection agency. I have heard of this happening sometimes and you don't want to be caught off guard. Definitely keep your file of evidence, etc in a file somewhere so you can set them straight if this ever rears its head again.
 
Likes: jsn55
Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
#16
@Qorx i am so sorry you had this. It sounds awful. These rental car companies are ruthless. Also, you may want to keep a closer eye on your credit for a bit in case they sell off this amount to a collection agency. I have heard of this happening sometimes and you don't want to be caught off guard. Definitely keep your file of evidence, etc in a file somewhere so you can set them straight if this ever rears its head again.
Thank you,and I shall. After reading a few weeks ago of an unfortunate Hertz customer who had her card charged a YEAR later, I don't trust Hertz.