Clutch Failure Norway Hertz

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Nov 12, 2018
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#1
Hi,

It seems I maybe should've read a little bit before renting my car in Norway but then again when you never had an issue how can you really realize you're about to get fooled. We recently rented a car in Norway from the 1st of August to the 10th and after driving from Oslo to Bergen (500km give or take) we were heading to Volda from Bergen (300km). After around 75km the clutch started slipping so we stopped and called the Hertz incident line to get help. They sent us a towing and dropped us a the Skoda dealership where we had to take a taxi, that we paid, to get to another Hertz location to get a car. Upon our arrival we meet with 5 other customers who had mechanical failures with their car and had replacement cars. When it was our turn to be served, we asked the lady at the desk if we would have to pay anything since, cleary this was a lack of maintenance (After reading for a bit it seems like it's not that obvious for Hertz) and she confirmed that we wouldn't have to pay anything and she even confirmed with her manager that was next to her on the floor as long as someone she called on the phone. We were also told that out taxi would be reimbursed which was not.

Fast track to the 25th of Octobre, I see on my credit car balance that I have been billed for 4118,97 $CAD which translates to 25399,00 NOK. I see in my e-mails that I got an invoice in my spam e-mail from Hertz with the statement : DAMAGE TO RENTED CAR for that amount. I then call my bank to ask them to revert the charges and they tell me it's already gone and before appealing I need to give them a chance to explain themselves before appealing to the charges. I called Hertz international where I was told I would be contacted which I wasn't. I then sent them this e-mail :

Hi,

I received the 25th of october an automated message from Hertz for the rental number : (rental number) with an invoice (invoice_number) attached to it. There is no description whatsoever except the fact that the car was supposely "damaged" (DAMAGE TO RENTED CAR). The folowing day an unauthorized transaction was done on my credit card to the amount of 4118,97 $CAD which translates to 25399,00 NOK.

I contacted the canadian office of hertz on he 30th of Octobre 2018 asking some explaination which they did not provide and was told this was an international issue and they were to contact me. The contact name was (Name_of_employee), employee id : (employee_id). Please provide further information regarding the so called "damage" since again, there was NO damage to the vehicle I rented.

Kindly,

Simon Desharnais

Atts : (invoice).pdf (26 KB)

I removed the employee info in case it's against ToS or something I'm not aware of.

They responded with this :

Dear Mr. Desharnais,
Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

Our records indicate that you have been billed for damages as the vehicle was returned with a broken clutch. Please find all supporting documents attached.

Thank you again for contacting us.
Sincerely,
Delisha
Customer Service Representative

They have attached to this e-mail an invoice from Skoda for the replacement of the clutch in Norwegian which I tried translating in google translate and is talking about a clutch indeed. A document which I never seem to have received with my adress so I would assume a letter and another invoice looking document.

After reading on the internet about clutches and rental cars in europe I feel a little overwhelmed by all this. I've noticed that some steps SHOULD NOT be taken in order to have better chances of succeeding and this is why I'm asking what should be my next step. This is an absurd amount of money not only for the car that was rented initialy 2000$ CAD for 10 days, but to add this on top is nonsense.

I hope this was detailed enough if not I will provide any more information I have.

Nb. I drove standard cars for 7 years and I am not native english speaking so I apologies for mistakes and weird sentence structure. I am also from Canada.
 

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Nov 12, 2018
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#3
From the invoice of the rental agreement it would seem I had "Collision damage insurance" and "Theft insurance". I would assume that a clutch isn't a "Collision" and is not covered.

I did pay the rental car with RBC VISA Signature card which has a car rental insurance. I will call and see if this could potentially be covered.
 
Sep 17, 2018
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#4
When renting abroad, these kind of situations are common. While the insurance for mechanical failure is usually over priced, I have found that many European companies do not maintain their cars well and will almost always blame you for the problem (and it is difficult to prove otherwise.) I have no proof, but it has also been my experience that automatics -while rarer- are often in better shape, perhaps because they are rented less frequently or there is simply less you can be blamed for. When I had an automatic transmission fail, they were forced to accept it was maintenance or mechanical rather than driving style.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#5
From the invoice of the rental agreement it would seem I had "Collision damage insurance" and "Theft insurance". I would assume that a clutch isn't a "Collision" and is not covered.

I did pay the rental car with RBC VISA Signature card which has a car rental insurance. I will call and see if this could potentially be covered.
Typical insurance does not cover a mechanical breakdown that is not due to an accident.
The amount you were charged is 2-3 times the typical cost for a clutch replacement.
Unfortunately mechanical clutches wear out. How many miles were on the car?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Typical insurance does not cover a mechanical breakdown that is not due to an accident.
The amount you were charged is 2-3 times the typical cost for a clutch replacement.
Unfortunately mechanical clutches wear out. How many miles were on the car?
Labor costs are much higher in Norway as are parts — probably up there with Swiss prices.

Looks like the car had 32553 KM so around 20,200 miles?
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,187
1,121
113
Maui Hawaii
#7
Clutch failu
Labor costs are much higher in Norway as are parts — probably up there with Swiss prices.

Looks like the car had 32553 KM so around 20,200 miles?
Clutch failure at 20K miles in modern cars is usually due to abuse, not normal wear and tear. A manufacturing defect would show up earlier. Mechanical clutches are generally maintenance free. So a claim or lack of maintenance won't work either.
Unfortunately, the OP drove the car ~600 km before failure. They did not note any problems in the first ~500km.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
Clutch failu

Clutch failure at 20K miles in modern cars is usually due to abuse, not normal wear and tear. A manufacturing defect would show up earlier. Mechanical clutches are generally maintenance free. So a claim or lack of maintenance won't work either.
Unfortunately, the OP drove the car ~600 km before failure. They did not note any problems in the first ~500km.
I am not a regular driver but suspect you are right about the failure due to abuse at 20,000 miles. I think the issue with rental cars is that many people rent standard transmissions in Europe as it is cheaper but the renters are not really competent in driving manual transmissions so the clutch gets badly worn. And then the clutch fails on a renter who may not have caused the damage, and how can a renter inspect a clutch for previous abuse?

I only rent automatics now in Europe as I do not want to worry or think about it, and my manual transmissions driving was long long ago — ( about 20 years ago) so I do not know the most modern cars.

I am not sure how to advise the OP because of my lack of understanding the modern manual transmission.
Since there is little maintenance on it these clutches, yes it sounds like lack of maintenance will not be a viable claim.

I will leave the suggestions to those that understand cars better than I do.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,187
1,121
113
Maui Hawaii
#9
I am not a regular driver but suspect you are right about the failure due to abuse at 20,000 miles. I think the issue with rental cars is that many people rent standard transmissions in Europe as it is cheaper but the renters are not really competent in driving manual transmissions so the clutch gets badly worn. And then the clutch fails on a renter who may not have caused the damage, and how can a renter inspect a clutch for previous abuse?

I only rent automatics now in Europe as I do not want to worry or think about it, and my manual transmissions driving was long long ago — ( about 20 years ago) so I do not know the most modern cars.

I am not sure how to advise the OP because of my lack of understanding the modern manual transmission.
Since there is little maintenance on it these clutches, yes it sounds like lack of maintenance will not be a viable claim.

I will leave the suggestions to those that understand cars better than I do.
I have driven manual transmission cars (15+ vehicles from Honda/Toyota/Subaru to Porsche) for 50+ years, and currently drive 3 with a manual transmission. In the '60s clutch failure at 20-30k mi was not unusual. Friction materials have improved greatly (clutch and brake pads) and current mechanical clutches routinely get 50-100+k miles before replacement-my Honda has 107k mi on the original clutch. I just replaced another clutch at 50k and consider it a premature failure. 20k mi before clutch failure is due to incorrect use of the clutch. It may well have been the previous drivers fault but there is no way to prove that.

Manual transmission rental cars are readily available outside the US, and often cost 25-50% less to rent than the identical car with an automatic transmission, so the temptation for previous manual transmission users to rent a manual transmission car is very high. However, the downside is a clutch failure which happens, unlike automatic transmission failure which is very rare in a lower mileage rental car (and would not be charged to the renter).

The OP can make a claim that the premature failure of the clutch was a cumulative event and they should not be charged the full amount.
 
Likes: Christina H