Hertz charged me $300 for a smoking fee but neither of us smokes!

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Oct 24, 2019
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#1
My girlfriend and I rented a car from Hertz in George bush airport in Houston Texas last weekend. We returned the car exactly as it was given to us. Then yesterday I see a $300 charge on my debit card form them for a "smoking fee". NEITHER OF US SMOKES! They say they have pictures of ash on the floor of the car. This is a joke. that literally could have come from anywhere. We didn't leave burn holes of the car smelling like smoke. Since again, neither of us smokes. I tried going to executive customer care and the woman said she would investigate and get back to us. They email back my girlfriend saying the car was not returned in the same condition they gave it to us and to respect their decision on the matter. SCREW THAT. What am I supposed to do? I will not accept losing 300 dollars to them!
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#2
You can escalate this to the Hertz. If you do:

IMPORTANT: when you reach out to the corporate level . . .
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite and professional
Do not attach files - explain that you can send them separately if necessary
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in our company contacts for Hertz (that is a link)
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
 
Oct 24, 2019
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#4
You can escalate this to the Hertz. If you do:

IMPORTANT: when you reach out to the corporate level . . .
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite and professional
Do not attach files - explain that you can send them separately if necessary
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in our company contacts for Hertz (that is a link)
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
I initially called the number for the Houston branch, that directed me to a call center. They said only the branch manager can reverse the charges. Today I called the executive customer service line and the woman said she would look into it. she sent my girlfriend an email stating the car was not returned in the same condition it was given to us in. When we returned it nobody inspected it in front of us. It was basically a guy who was in a parking garage and just said park the car here and we did and went in and gave the keys back. I have a list of executives emails I got from this forum. Guess ill start emailing them one by one. I refuse to accept this. They said they had a picture of ash but would not show it to me.
 
May 1, 2018
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#5
Renter's are getting smart and starting to take pictures and videos of the cars at pickup and drop off to combat fraudulent damage claims. It sounds like shady rental locations are reacting by claiming these smoking fees instead since it's impossible to collect any evidence to prove/disprove the allegations.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
20,324
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6
Renter's are getting smart and starting to take pictures and videos of the cars at pickup and drop off to combat fraudulent damage claims. It sounds like shady rental locations are reacting by claiming these smoking fees instead since it's impossible to collect any evidence to prove/disprove the allegations.
I do this but you can’t photograph an odor.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#7
“Impossible to prove” (or Disprove) and a poster recently criticized me for calling these people Slimy.
 
Last edited:

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#8
This is becoming so annoying ... someone must be paying these ridiculous "damages" or the rental car companies would not keep cheating their customers. It will probably take some legislation to force them to desist. Used to be a vehicle renter only had to worry about the guys that rented a few cars out of their garage behaving badly, but now all of them are on the bandwagon.

Keep your cool, they just throw out these charges hoping one in ten will stick and they can pad their bottom line. Be polite and concise but be firm. If they can't prove it, you aren't going to pay it. Over and over again, until they finally give up. Bunch of weasels.
 
Oct 24, 2019
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#10
As hard as it is I am definitely keeping my cool and not being mean or using harsh language. It cracked me up though when the woman said to "please respect our decision" on the matter. Like I am just going to accept this and lay down. Aint no way no how that's happening. I sent an email last night to Gregory Crum who is like senior vice president of customer service or something. I'll start with him and work my way up the ladder until I get my money back.
 
Nov 7, 2019
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#11
As hard as it is I am definitely keeping my cool and not being mean or using harsh language. It cracked me up though when the woman said to "please respect our decision" on the matter. Like I am just going to accept this and lay down. Aint no way no how that's happening. I sent an email last night to Gregory Crum who is like senior vice president of customer service or something. I'll start with him and work my way up the ladder until I get my money back.
Can't you just dispute the charge with your credit card company?
 
May 1, 2018
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#12
Can't you just dispute the charge with your credit card company?
Credit card disputes exist to correct "Billing Errors". You can read all about it here. Given the OP's communication with Hertz, they can be pretty certain this was an intentional charge and not an error.

By suggesting to the OP that they dispute the charge using a process developed to correct billing errors when it's clearly not, you are advising the OP to commit fraud. The moderators on this boards generally prefer you don't advocate the commission of fraudulent acts.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#13
Credit card disputes exist to correct "Billing Errors". You can read all about it here. Given the OP's communication with Hertz, they can be pretty certain this was an intentional charge and not an error.

By suggesting to the OP that they dispute the charge using a process developed to correct billing errors when it's clearly not, you are advising the OP to commit fraud. The moderators on this boards generally prefer you don't advocate the commission of fraudulent acts.

Billing errors are not just unintentional charges. They also include disputes about goods and unauthorized charges (discussed in the ftc site you linked).

In this case, the OP would claim that he only authorized charges for damages to the car. Since he didn't smoke, there were no damages so the charge is unauthorized.

This is a pretty typical kind of challenge--definiyely not fraud.
 
May 1, 2018
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#15
In this case, the OP would claim that he only authorized charges for damages to the car.
Are you certain the rental agreement didn't have a section authorizing hertz to add additional charges for smoking (as well was tolls, parking tickets, etc.)? I'm not a frequent Hertz renter but I'm pretty sure the other places I rent from include language that pre-authorizes these incidental charges.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#16
Read the original post. Paid with a debit card.
I have disputed charges made with my debit card before, several times. It basically worked the same way, as with a credit card, except that my credit union cancelled my card and issued me a new one immediately so that a new charge couldn't be processed by the vendor. But, just because it's a debit card doesn't mean you cannot dispute a charge.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#17
Are you certain the rental agreement didn't have a section authorizing hertz to add additional charges for smoking (as well was tolls, parking tickets, etc.)? I'm not a frequent Hertz renter but I'm pretty sure the other places I rent from include language that pre-authorizes these incidental charges.
I'd guess it does. But since it authorizes the charge for smoking damage, if he didn't smoke the charge wasn't authorized.
 
Likes: mmb
Nov 7, 2019
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#18
Credit card disputes exist to correct "Billing Errors". You can read all about it here. Given the OP's communication with Hertz, they can be pretty certain this was an intentional charge and not an error.

By suggesting to the OP that they dispute the charge using a process developed to correct billing errors when it's clearly not, you are advising the OP to commit fraud. The moderators on this boards generally prefer you don't advocate the commission of fraudulent acts.
Hold on there fella---no one is suggesting fraudulent acts. This rental company is committing fraud by suggesting the OP ruined the car with smoking when he clearly did not.

When I purchased merchandise in the past that was defective, and the seller refused to refund my money/accept the return, my credit card company stepped in and refunded me.

Just relaying my experience for what it's worth.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
20,324
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#19
I'd guess it does. But since it authorizes the charge for smoking damage, if he didn't smoke the charge wasn't authorized.
We have seen charges like this disputed and won. The only issue the OP has it they used a debit card.

We have had several consumers win these type of cases using our thread on disputing the charges with the executives at the car rental company.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#20
The rules for credit/debit card disputes are easy to remember. FIRST you attempt to work with the merchant, no matter what the problem. If you're right and you don't get satisfaction, disputing the charge is your LAST move. A smoking charge in a rental car? Read your contract first. You should not expect your card issuer to do your work for you.