Hertz - Disputing Charges in Italy

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Dec 10, 2018
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#1
I've read through the forum, and now realize I didn't give myself the best chance to not be screwed. I'd still like to hear you opinions on my case.

There were 3 issues with the rental charges. For time sake, I was initially only going to dispute one, but since going through the process I believe there may be some serious deceit going on, so I'd like to pursue more. The rental went from a reserved total of ~$149 to $375 (kind of thankful bc I've seen worse in the forum). Reserved on AMEX Travel, rental company was Hertz. Pickup & drop-off locations left out because I currently have a claim with rental company.

Issues:
1. At the time of the rental, I was told I had to accept the "Fuel Purchase Option" and it would be refunded when I returned the vehicle full. The rental agent also wrote the amount I should be charged when I returned the vehicle full, on the bottom of the rental contract. I have picture proof with timestamp meta-data, but they will not accept this as proof. When I fueled my car, a gas station attendant filled me up and would not provide a receipt unless I tipped him. I didn't tip him or get a receipt.

2. I was charged a one-way transfer fee. I read all material sent to me before the rental and I there was no one-way charge mentioned in either the initial quote or in any fine print/supporting documentation. I read this stuff for charges like this, but there was nothing regarding a one-way fee.

3. This one I've accepted that I have no proof of and I don't plan to fight, but surprised me the most and I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this. When I picked up the car they offered me insurance. After talking some time to think about it and talk to my SO the agent told me it was a good idea for me to get insurance because the agents I return the car to may interpret existing damage as damage caused by me. I thought that was a pretty strong statement, needless to say I purchased the insurance lol.

Resolution Efforts:
1. Contacted Hertz when I arrived back in the US and I disputed the fuel charge. They said they would not accept a picture and asked for a receipt. I told them the gas station attendant would not provide a receipt unless I tipped him, so I didn't get one. They said there was nothing they could do then about the charge and offered me a 20 euro "good will" refund.

2. Filed a dispute with AMEX because I paid with an AMEX card. Hertz Italia sent them a copy of my rental record that was not legible. I cannot read most of this record it was so poorly reproduced/scanned. I can read my name, but only barley. I can hardly read anything else, forget being able to translate the Italian on the receipt. AMEX said this was enough proof to close my claim. They said I could submit another claim by mail, so I send them a letter with additional images and proof to which they denied my claim again. I also mentioned that the proof provided by Hertz was not legible, but they just say they're sorry and tell me to contact Hertz. Very poor dispute resolution in my opinion. It's like they didn't even try to produce the document. It is probably the correct document, but you can't even read the line items. I am skeptical because AMEX receives commission on the total when I book travel through them, so they're motivated to keep that final charge as high as possible.

3. I contacted Hertz today at the advice of AMEX. Hertz asked me to provide the receipt with the hand written total charge without fuel from the rental agent. They have opened up a case for me and I provided customer relations with a copy (picture) of the document. [[Side Note]] The drop-off agent in Italy would not allow me to take the original receipt and raised his voice at me when I tried to walk away with it. This was at an airport drop-off location. Is this a common practice? Everywhere else they provide me with a final receipt and let me keep the original rental contract. Not to mention that he seemed to be intentionally intimidating, but I'm trying to leave any feelings out of this.

My question is, should I pursue any of my issues other than the fuel charge or do I risk being labeled as a "laundry list-er?" Any advice on how to approach my charges if they come back and refuse the fuel charge refund?

Thank you in advance!
 
Dec 10, 2018
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#2
Clarifications:
- I have a picture of the fuel gauge being full at the rental drop-off location. This picture is timestamped with the metadata. This is the picture they will not accept as proof of the vehicle being full
- I have a picture of the rental contract given to me when I picked up the car. They have not commented on this image yet
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
This narrative is far too convoluted for me. Maybe you could make a concise list of the facts in chronological order? If we understand what happened, perhaps we can assist.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
I am afraid I also do not understand.

You say you have a claim with the rental company.
What does that mean? Are these issues part of the claim?

Did you pay for the final fueling in cash or credit card?

I have rented cars often in Italy from the South to the North and thankfully have not had a bad experience.

It is common to have a one way fee but that is usually disclosed.

Can you post your confirmation with your info blacked out?
 
Feb 16, 2018
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#5
You said they offered you 20 euro good will toward the fuel purchase, how much were you charged by Hertz for fuel? You also state that you have a current claim with the rental company, what is that about?
 
Dec 10, 2018
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#6
This narrative is far too convoluted for me. Maybe you could make a concise list of the facts in chronological order? If we understand what happened, perhaps we can assist.
Sorry, I tried to clarify all of the questions people have asked in other threads, guess I poorly executed. I'll include additional information to help clarify.

Chronological order:
1. Reserved car on AMEX Travel's website. Facts at this time:
- Total estimated charges, $145
- Read through all terms & conditions at time of rental, Hertz was the only option that did not state a transfer charge
- I reserved a Hertz rental out of Naples
2. Arrived at the rental counter in Naples. Facts at time of rental:
- I was told I must accept the fuel charge of (~68 euro) to rent, and I would be refunded 68 euro if returned full
- I was charged a one-way/drop charge/transfer fee
- I was told if I didn't get insurance, pre-existing vehicle damage "could probably" be interpreted as caused by me
- Total billed was ~308 euro
3. I returned the vehicle full of fuel in Rome
- Agent did not inspect my vehicle or provide a receipt when I spoke with him. As I walked away he asked me to give him the rental contract. I was confused because I've always kept my rental contract, so I chalked it up as bad english and kept walking. Then he yelled at me, looked very aggressive walking towards me and demanded I give him the contract and told me "you can not take." This was strange to me.
4. I received the charge on my AMEX
- Charge was for 308 euros, this amount includes the fuel charge I was told would be refunded.
5. I disputed the fuel charge with Hertz
- They said they needed a fuel receipt, I explained I was not given a fuel receipt when I asked for one at the station. I paid cash and the attendant said he was "not happy" that I wasn't tipping him and he continued to ignore my request for a receipt.
- I told the customer service agent I had photo evidence with a timestamp that matched my return date, in the photo's metadata. She said they don't accept photo evidence
- They offered me 20 euro "goodwill" credit. I told them I wasn't happy with that resolution and would dispute with my cc company
6. I disputed the fuel charge with AMEX.
- Hertz Italia sent them proof of charges, which was an illegible summary of charges. Check out the attachment, I cannot read the line items
- AMEX said the "complete breakdown of the charge" provided by Hertz was sufficient proof that the fuel charge was valid. I can't read the items, can you?
7. I complained about the quality of the proof to AMEX, they told me to dispute with Hertz
- Note: AMEX is compensated by Hertz based on the 'Total Charged Amount' for anything reserved through AMEX travel, so I asked AMEX if it was a coincidence that they saw nothing wrong with illegible proof sent over by Hertz since they receive a commission. My comment was ignored (understandably) and I was told that AMEX was "sorry I was frustrated with the outcome" of the dispute.
8. Today I disputed the transfer fee and fuel charge with Hertz. I was originally going to accept all but the fuel charges to save the additional hassle, but with the amount of time I've spent, what do I lose to ask for everything that I felt I was wrongfully charged for? I got over the rental agent threatening me to take insurance after a couple days, but now that I'm knee deep in my dispute, why shouldn't I ask for that and the transfer fee as well? I'm already investing 5+ hours and I'll probably need to invest more hours.
 

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Dec 10, 2018
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#7
I am afraid I also do not understand.

You say you have a claim with the rental company.
What does that mean? Are these issues part of the claim?

Did you pay for the final fueling in cash or credit card?

I have rented cars often in Italy from the South to the North and thankfully have not had a bad experience.

It is common to have a one way fee but that is usually disclosed.

Can you post your confirmation with your info blacked out?
Thanks for your response Christina H. I have attached documents. I paid for the final fueling in cash. I found nothing in any of the terms about a one way charge.
 

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Dec 10, 2018
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#8
You said they offered you 20 euro good will toward the fuel purchase, how much were you charged by Hertz for fuel? You also state that you have a current claim with the rental company, what is that about?
I was charged 68.20 euro. The current claim is in reference to the fuel charge. I am disputing that I returned the car full, and also that I am due the refund. Apparently, the agent today told me the Fuel Purchase Option (or whatever I was charged) was not refundable. So when I told her the rental agent wrote the amount I was due on the bottom of the contract if I returned the car full, she was appalled the agent would say that.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
Well barnyski I have to say I am a bit perplexed.

fuel purchase option is just that — an option and basically prepays for a tank of gas and one should not refill it before going.

I do not believe you were incorrectly charged a one way fee —
As to the one way fee of 40 euro — that is often rolled into the taxes and fees section that is on your confirmation — do you see on the AmEx confirmation that charge of taxes and fees for $128.73?

I believe that 128.73 is the US dollar exchange of the following fees in euros

One way. Euro 40
Location service charge euro. 30.59
IVA (value added tax) Euro. 45.96

All those add up to euro 116.55 which is very close to the US dollar estimate of $128.73 — not sure when you made the reservation but that looks about right.

I think the euro 8 is a road tax which is often not included until pickup

What you see on the Hertz rental agreement is the itemization of the fees and taxes which are all lumped together on your email confirmation.

The reason you ended up paying so much more is the fuel purchase option and paying for the zero deductible extra insurance — the insurance was 114 euro and the fuel purchase was 68.20 which is extra of euro 182.20. That is why your rental was so much more than the original quote.

I really have to admit to I have no idea what that full not full and then 254.88 number is —

Your only legitimate complaint is the fuel purchase option. You were not charged an extra drop off fee.

You will likely lose this dispute again because the drop off fee is included in the taxes and fees estimate you got from AmEX.

You run a risk of AmEx cancelling your card by including a legitimate charge in your dispute.

I will look at the Italian receipt later in front of a computer only have phone now.
 
Dec 10, 2018
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#10
Well barnyski I have to say I am a bit perplexed.

fuel purchase option is just that — an option and basically prepays for a tank of gas and one should not refill it before going.
Is it really "optional" when the agent tells you it is required and tells you that you can't rent unless you accept the charge, after I declined it twice? I know you all think this is the first time I've rented a car... but far from it. Is the agent just allowed to say whatever she wants? How did I know it wasn't a country policy?

The drop fee may very well be in the Taxes & Fees but it isn't itemized, and after being threatened to take insurance I apologize if I'm a bit skeptical especially since the fees don't add up. I'm sorry but I feel like Hertz Italia is out to clean my pockets from the conversations I've had with their employees.

I guess I'm just another crazy consumer who wasn't informed how to strongarm the rental agent into doing her job correctly.

Full/Not Full... subtract the fuel charge out of the total.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
I do not doubt that rental car companies strong arm people into getting insurance. I always get the insurance in Italy because I often park on the street.

Hertz does not give a breakdown of the taxes and fees on their reservations and a good argument can be made that they should.

You should not have been told that the fuel option was mandatory. That is where I think you have a case, there would have been no reason for you to fill up.
 
Likes: barnyski

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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16,323
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www.promalvacations.com
#12
What you need to do is have proof with you when you rent that insurance is not required. If you have nothing to dispute what they are saying, you can’t dispute it.

I would have called Hertz from the desk if I had been in your situation and had THEM speak to the agent.
 
Likes: barnyski
Dec 10, 2018
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#13
I do not doubt that rental car companies strong arm people into getting insurance. I always get the insurance in Italy because I often park on the street.

Hertz does not give a breakdown of the taxes and fees on their reservations and a good argument can be made that they should.

You should not have been told that the fuel option was mandatory. That is where I think you have a case, there would have been no reason for you to fill up.
Thanks for your advice. I'll lean on the fuel option.
 
Dec 10, 2018
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#14
What you need to do is have proof with you when you rent that insurance is not required. If you have nothing to dispute what they are saying, you can’t dispute it.

I would have called Hertz from the desk if I had been in your situation and had THEM speak to the agent.
THanks for your advice. I was kind of limited on options, I had no data and no phone calling ability at the time I landed. I guess I forgot to look for a pay phone though.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,235
8,175
113
San Francisco
#16
Sorry, I tried to clarify all of the questions people have asked in other threads, guess I poorly executed. I'll include additional information to help clarify.

Chronological order:
1. Reserved car on AMEX Travel's website. Facts at this time:
- Total estimated charges, $145
- Read through all terms & conditions at time of rental, Hertz was the only option that did not state a transfer charge
- I reserved a Hertz rental out of Naples
2. Arrived at the rental counter in Naples. Facts at time of rental:
- I was told I must accept the fuel charge of (~68 euro) to rent, and I would be refunded 68 euro if returned full
- I was charged a one-way/drop charge/transfer fee
- I was told if I didn't get insurance, pre-existing vehicle damage "could probably" be interpreted as caused by me
- Total billed was ~308 euro
3. I returned the vehicle full of fuel in Rome
- Agent did not inspect my vehicle or provide a receipt when I spoke with him. As I walked away he asked me to give him the rental contract. I was confused because I've always kept my rental contract, so I chalked it up as bad english and kept walking. Then he yelled at me, looked very aggressive walking towards me and demanded I give him the contract and told me "you can not take." This was strange to me.
4. I received the charge on my AMEX
- Charge was for 308 euros, this amount includes the fuel charge I was told would be refunded.
5. I disputed the fuel charge with Hertz
- They said they needed a fuel receipt, I explained I was not given a fuel receipt when I asked for one at the station. I paid cash and the attendant said he was "not happy" that I wasn't tipping him and he continued to ignore my request for a receipt.
- I told the customer service agent I had photo evidence with a timestamp that matched my return date, in the photo's metadata. She said they don't accept photo evidence
- They offered me 20 euro "goodwill" credit. I told them I wasn't happy with that resolution and would dispute with my cc company
6. I disputed the fuel charge with AMEX.
- Hertz Italia sent them proof of charges, which was an illegible summary of charges. Check out the attachment, I cannot read the line items
- AMEX said the "complete breakdown of the charge" provided by Hertz was sufficient proof that the fuel charge was valid. I can't read the items, can you?
7. I complained about the quality of the proof to AMEX, they told me to dispute with Hertz
- Note: AMEX is compensated by Hertz based on the 'Total Charged Amount' for anything reserved through AMEX travel, so I asked AMEX if it was a coincidence that they saw nothing wrong with illegible proof sent over by Hertz since they receive a commission. My comment was ignored (understandably) and I was told that AMEX was "sorry I was frustrated with the outcome" of the dispute.
8. Today I disputed the transfer fee and fuel charge with Hertz. I was originally going to accept all but the fuel charges to save the additional hassle, but with the amount of time I've spent, what do I lose to ask for everything that I felt I was wrongfully charged for? I got over the rental agent threatening me to take insurance after a couple days, but now that I'm knee deep in my dispute, why shouldn't I ask for that and the transfer fee as well? I'm already investing 5+ hours and I'll probably need to invest more hours.
Well, this is like a story that someone would tell in a bad novel. The ugly stuff just never ended, they kept banging away on you until you disappeared into the terminal. The Hertz Italia station in Naples is obviously are very polished at intimidation and aggressiveness. I think there's a tiny chance that Hertz would adjust your final bill, but it would probably take 300 hours of your time. I don't see how you can claw back anything except the fuel overcharge, and that's iffy because you don't have a receipt. Good luck and please let us know what you decide to do, and how it turns out.

FOR OUR OTHER READERS

Use a credit card for travel expenses so you have some protection, don't use a debit card or cash. Understand how insurance works with rental cars, know exactly what you have and what you need to buy from the rental agency. When looking for a rental in Europe, I use a broker, AutoEurope, and have for many years. Not only does AE find me the best price, but I feel that they'll help me if I ever get into trouble with a rental car agency. A US traveller in Europe is particularly vulnerable to this kind of activity ... once you've gone home, you're much less likely to make a fuss when you are over-charged. You have to be pro-active to try to avoid as much chicanery as possible and get problems solved on the spot.
 
Dec 10, 2018
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#17
Well, this is like a story that someone would tell in a bad novel. The ugly stuff just never ended, they kept banging away on you until you disappeared into the terminal. The Hertz Italia station in Naples is obviously are very polished at intimidation and aggressiveness. I think there's a tiny chance that Hertz would adjust your final bill, but it would probably take 300 hours of your time. I don't see how you can claw back anything except the fuel overcharge, and that's iffy because you don't have a receipt. Good luck and please let us know what you decide to do, and how it turns out.

FOR OUR OTHER READERS
Use a credit card for travel expenses so you have some protection, don't use a debit card or cash. Understand how insurance works with rental cars, know exactly what you have and what you need to buy from the rental agency. When looking for a rental in Europe, I use a broker, AutoEurope, and have for many years. Not only does AE find me the best price, but I feel that they'll help me if I ever get into trouble with a rental car agency. A US traveller in Europe is particularly vulnerable to this kind of activity ... once you've gone home, you're much less likely to make a fuss when you are over-charged. You have to be pro-active to try to avoid as much chicanery as possible and get problems solved on the spot.
Thank you for the tips. I knew what I wanted, unfortunately they knew my options were limited. I've tried opening a case and got a non-logical denial from the Customer Service Administrator (attached). I called for an explanation and the customer service agent couldn't explain why my case was denied and said it was closed. I will slowly raise up their ladder and hope for resolution. I am upset enough I'm considering spending much more than a refund would yield to raise the problem. Maybe, there is a small chance I can help future renters & Hertz' business.
 

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