Charged for smoking

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Feb 22, 2021
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I had a Hertz rental while my car was in the shop, I barely used it and though I am a smoker, I NEVER smoked in it. When I got the rental there was weed in the gear shift, a random pill jammed in the carpet and sticky stuff on the consoles. I gave it back in way cleaner conditions than I received it, and yet I got charged a 400$ cleaning fee for smoking. I had nothing in my bank account so it's a full overdraft, and after contacting their customer service, they just don't care. I don't understand, I never broke my contract, I cleaned the hell out of that car, why am I being punished? How is this legal?
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,868
5,680
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the United States
You can escalate this using the contacts provided in this link: Hertz
be sure to start at the lowest level and that you give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
politely state only what they "need to know" in order to understand your experience and your request quickly (3-5 minutes)


Please take the time to update this thread as you progress toward a resolution. Your feedback is important to the forum advocates (volunteers).
 
Feb 17, 2021
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Hey there - Sounds super frustrating! I assume you do not have any pictures of the condition of the vehicle (I am not saying you should, , just wondering if you did). I would compile a timeline of when and where you used the car, something like:
  • 1/2/21 - Picked-up car at XYZ, and notice is smelled smokey. Dove care with windows open xx miles
  • 1/3/21 - Next day drove car xx miles from a-z and it smelled bably the whole time
  • 1/4/21 - returned car to xyz, told them it smelled smokey the whole time.
The write to Hertz (https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/hertz/) with details about the rental and condition of the vehicle.

I think the best approach here is to express your disappointment about the rental experience and customer service, versus an angry tone.

If you post a draft of a letter, I'm sure someone (even me!) will be happy to give it once-over!

Peter
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
I had a Hertz rental while my car was in the shop, I barely used it and though I am a smoker, I NEVER smoked in it. When I got the rental there was weed in the gear shift, a random pill jammed in the carpet and sticky stuff on the consoles. I gave it back in way cleaner conditions than I received it, and yet I got charged a 400$ cleaning fee for smoking. I had nothing in my bank account so it's a full overdraft, and after contacting their customer service, they just don't care. I don't understand, I never broke my contract, I cleaned the hell out of that car, why am I being punished? How is this legal?
Unfortunately as a smoker, all of your clothing is permeated with the byproducts of cigarette smoke. This is transferred to the seating, headliner, and carpet in the car. You do not have to smoke in the car for this to happen. When you returned the car the smell of smoke was apparent to the cleaners who are required to: 1) report this to their supervisors, and 2) clean the car to make it rentable to the next renter. That is why you were charged a "smoking" fee. It is for the cost of cleaning the car upon your return.

Had the car not been cleaned the next renter would likely have refused it since Hertz has a strict no smoking policy for its cars. I personally would not have accepted the car for rental and Hertz would have been out the cost of cleaning and a day of lost rental revenue.

You can appeal to Hertz as per post #2, and perhaps get the charge reduced.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
10,647
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San Francisco
FOR OUR READERS These days, if there's anything wrong with a rental car, no matter how seemingly unimportant it might be, you have to return it and pick up a different car. These companies seem unable to work with any of their customers when it comes to returning a car with issues. They just slap a big charge on your CC. The only way to protect yourself is to be sure you are given a "perfect" vehicle when you leave the lot.
 

Sam

Jan 22, 2015
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Colorado
I just returned a rental car, as mine was in the shop, after an accident. In the rental car that I had, the first one that they tried to give me was filthy. Dirt and sticky stuff everywhere.

The 2nd car they gave me smelled like someone had smoked in it. As the smell doesn't bother me that much, I accepted the car.
The one thing I did do, was as I was doing the walk around with the agent, I asked them to put there head in the car and smell. The noticed the smell of smoke and I made sure that it was documented on my account before I left the lot.

I returned the car over a week ago, and no charge has appeared on my account as of yet. But I still have the before and after photos on my phone, and will keep them on there for a few more months,
 
Apr 1, 2019
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Regardless if you smoke or not is not the issue. You did not smoke in the car. Be firm and polite.