Clean fee - Smoking $300 !!! HELP !!!

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Jan 8, 2019
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#1
We picked up car from Cleveland Hopkins airport on 12/30/18 and returned at Harbor side Financial center on 12/31/18 on time. It was some parking garage of building where we parked and had to come downstairs to check out the car. We waited for few minutes while we can clearly see from the window that agents are free and chit-chatting with each other but still taking time to open the window and check out the customer. The person asked us to stay there while he goes upstairs and inspect the car before checking us out. he looks at us and sees these guys look like students. he may have in mind to take advantage of us. He comes back and tells us '' there were ashes around car windows, thus i am going to have to charge you for smoking." But thing is we never smoked in the car. We refused the claim but he never listened and started talking in rude manner. We asked if we can see the ashes and he refused to show us the ashes. which clearly questions our mind as if there were ashes for real.

Pls help!!
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#2
We picked up car from Cleveland Hopkins airport on 12/30/18 and returned at Harbor side Financial center on 12/31/18 on time. It was some parking garage of building where we parked and had to come downstairs to check out the car. We waited for few minutes while we can clearly see from the window that agents are free and chit-chatting with each other but still taking time to open the window and check out the customer. The person asked us to stay there while he goes upstairs and inspect the car before checking us out. he looks at us and sees these guys look like students. he may have in mind to take advantage of us. He comes back and tells us '' there were ashes around car windows, thus i am going to have to charge you for smoking." But thing is we never smoked in the car. We refused the claim but he never listened and started talking in rude manner. We asked if we can see the ashes and he refused to show us the ashes. which clearly questions our mind as if there were ashes for real.

Pls help!!
What rental agency did you use?
 
Jan 8, 2019
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#3
I am student at University of Buffalo so, we can book rental cars from given link at discount rates.

Personal Rentals
To book online, use the UB customer site for personal travel to make your reservation. By following the link below, our discounted rates are automatically applied:
When prompted during your reservation, select This is a LEISURE trip.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,420
1,391
113
Maui Hawaii
#4
I am student at University of Buffalo so, we can book rental cars from given link at discount rates.

Personal Rentals
To book online, use the UB customer site for personal travel to make your reservation. By following the link below, our discounted rates are automatically applied:
When prompted during your reservation, select This is a LEISURE trip.
You can contact Hertz via email and dispute the charge. You need to include ALL pertinent information in your post in bulletted points. Do not attach any documents. Email the first cust serv person and wait a week. Escalate weekly if no/negative response. Unfortunately, you should have accompanied the person who did the so-called inspection.

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/hertz/
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#5
Another point: you said, " But thing is we never smoked in the car. ". Are you or any of the persons who rode in the car smokers? If so, the smell of smoke will have permeated your clothing and will have been readily noticeable in a closed car by any non-smoker who inspected the car after its return. If the inspector smelled smoke in the car you are going to be charged a cleaning fee, because that car cannot be rented until it is cleaned. Hertz guarantees non-smoking cars. Smokers, or those who live with smokers, are desensitized to the smell of smoke; that smell is readily apparent to non-smokers. If you or others who rode in the car are smokers you will likely have to pay the fee.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Another point: you said, " But thing is we never smoked in the car. ". Are you or any of the persons who rode in the car smokers? If so, the smell of smoke will have permeated your clothing and will have been readily noticeable in a closed car by any non-smoker who inspected the car after its return. If the inspector smelled smoke in the car you are going to be charged a cleaning fee, because that car cannot be rented until it is cleaned. Hertz guarantees non-smoking cars. Smokers, or those who live with smokers, are desensitized to the smell of smoke; that smell is readily apparent to non-smokers. If you or others who rode in the car are smokers you will likely have to pay the fee.
I think this is a stretch. The smoke on clothes is not that extreme and is significantly different from smoking in a car. What do the rental car companies do with someone who has a prescription for medical marijuana? Fine them if the clothes smell? I hate the smell of all of the above.

Notice the car rental people did not say that the car smelled of smoke. They found ashes — again not any smell. This sounds like a bogus charge. I have ended up with ashes on my clothes when passing a smoker in Italy, should I be charged if I stood next to that person on the street?
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,420
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#7
I think this is a stretch. The smoke on clothes is not that extreme and is significantly different from smoking in a car. What do the rental car companies do with someone who has a prescription for medical marijuana? Fine them if the clothes smell? I hate the smell of all of the above.

Notice the car rental people did not say that the car smelled of smoke. They found ashes — again not any smell. This sounds like a bogus charge. I have ended up with ashes on my clothes when passing a smoker in Italy, should I be charged if I stood next to that person on the street?
I can assure you this is not a "stretch". Although this fee may be a scam, I can tell you that as a physician, when I walk into a room I can tell who is a smoker (or lives with a smoker), and after the person leaves the room I can tell a smoker has been in the room for quite some time. This is without anyone actually smoking in the hospital room (fortunately that got banned years ago). And this is in a hospital room with forced ventilation.

A smoker in a closed car in the winter will leave a smell of smoke that certainly can be noticed by a non-smoker who inspects the car immediately upon the cars return. If the person who inspected the car smelled smoke, they would likely look for ashes. The OP has not responded to the question of whether or not anyone in the car was a smoker. If any of them were smokers, the car will smell of smoke.

Google "locard principle".
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,420
1,391
113
Maui Hawaii
#8
I think this is a stretch. The smoke on clothes is not that extreme and is significantly different from smoking in a car. What do the rental car companies do with someone who has a prescription for medical marijuana? Fine them if the clothes smell? I hate the smell of all of the above.
As for prescribed medical marijuana, the auto rental companies are NOT required to allow its use in the rental cars, and if the car smells of marijuana smoke they will charge a cleaning fee. Just because it is "legal" does not mean that is must be allowed by businesses, any more than a business would allow someone to smoke marijuana or tobacco, or drink alcohol or use prescribed sedatives or opiates while at work. When Colorado passed the marijuana laws it was made clear that businesses could prohibit marijuana use and fire people with positive urine tests.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#9
Smoke on clothes is not a stretch. I know a chain smoker and I have to wash all my sofa covers whenever he comes into my house. The smell is absolutely disgusting. If a smoker is sitting on a cloth seat in a car with the windows up, that car is going to reek whether or not they actually lit up in the car.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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#10
This question of the medical marijuana is beside the question — hotels are having legal concerns about violating the ADA for people who have an RX for medical marijuana and smoke it in a hotel — according to lawyers for hotels. And with the move to legalized marijuana a lot of non smoking apt in NYC like mine are grappling with the issue.

But the bottom line for the OP is that the car said no smoking in the car. There was no smell of smoke in the car but only ash.

If the rental car company does not want to rent to smokers because their clothes smell that should be put out in the contract and say that.

And same with hotels.

Somehow parts of an old cigarette and gum (double ick) ended up on the bottom of my shoe. I am starting to clean this up in my hotel room in London and it is partly in the garbage. Could the hotel use that as “proof” Of smoking and would that be justified? No smell of smoke but some garbage? My hotel will charge a cleaning fee. Now I think I need to take out the garbage in my room so I do not get blamed and I still need to clean the rest of the gum off the bottom of my shoe.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,420
1,391
113
Maui Hawaii
#11
Smoke on clothes is not a stretch. I know a chain smoker and I have to wash all my sofa covers whenever he comes into my house. The smell is absolutely disgusting. If a smoker is sitting on a cloth seat in a car with the windows up, that car is going to reek whether or not they actually lit up in the car.
Give them a plastic lawn chair to sit on.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#12
Hertz agent said "ashes along window"; no need to worry about smelling smoke or not in the car. Hertz should produce photos of said ashes. If they can't, they can't charge you for special cleaning. Be polite, patient and persistent. These bogus charges are rampant from rental car companies at every level ... and most of our OPs are able to get it all dropped. It just takes some effort on your part. Do not talk with them by phone, insist on email. Did I mention the patience part?
 
Jan 8, 2019
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#13
This is what i got as a reply but i do not want to accept $150 as refund. because clearly we did not smoke in the car and there is no way we should be charged for it.

Dear -------,

I am corresponding with you on behalf of our Executive Customer Service team. Thank you for providing me this opportunity and for your loyalty as a Hertz Gold member.

I sincerely apologize that your rental experience with Hertz at our Jersey City location did not meet the high standards of service we strive to maintain. As a service-oriented company, we rely on customer feedback to help us maintain and improve our service performance standards. The information you have provided is very important to us, since it tells us how our various locations are doing and where improvements are needed.

I have investigated this matter with our management team at the Jersey City location. Based on our investigation evidence of ashes were found indicating smoking occurred in the vehicle during your rental.
Based on the rental history, it has been determined this did not occur during the prior rental. The charge is valid; however, as a one-time goodwill adjustment I have issued a refund for half of your smoking charges of $150.00. Please allow up to 7 business days for this to reflect on your card ending in 1902.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me directly at executivecustomerservice@hertz.com.

Kind Regards,

Kellie S.
Executive Customer Service
The Hertz Corporation
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#17
Ask them for them. You have no proof of what they are claiming without pictures and without mileage they can’t prove it happened when you had the car.

If they want to take you to court they are going to have to prove it. Did you tell them you asked the clerk when you returned it to show you the ashes and he refused?

If it were me, I would tell them I am not settling for less than the full amount and that if they don’t want to do that, they can take you to court where they will have to prove that there were ashes.

Did you contact your credit card company and dispute the charge?
 
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