Van issue in Ireland

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Nov 19, 2017
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#1
In August we returned from a family vacation to Ireland. I always use Hertz because I appreciate the excellent service that I have always received. On this occasion my experience could not have been more different. On this trip my family included a group of 7 of us traveling. We each had one small roll aboard suitcase. I reserved, like I always do, through the Hertz website directly. I have been to Europe many times and understand that cars in Europe are smaller. I did not reserve the smallest 7 seat car, rather I went up two sizes to a car that the website describes as:
(S) VW Caddy Maxi Life
or similar

  • 7 Passengers
  • 2 Large Suitcases, 3 Small Suitcases
  • M Air Conditioning
  • 45 miles/gallon or better
This is the largest 7 seat van on the Hertz website. The only larger car is a 12 seat van. I was certain we would fit in the Caddy Max Life or a similar vehicle.
When we arrived at the Dublin South Circular road location to collect our vehicle we had the unfortunate luck to be served by Tommy who told us he was the branch manager. He assigned us to a Pugeot van. The van would not fit even 2 small suitcases behind the third row of seats. I returned to see Tommy and to let him know that I believed there was an error in the car he assigned us. He told me that there was no error and that it was not his problem that my group could not fit into the small van he assigned us. He acknowledged that there was no way that 7 people and 5 suitcases could fit into the vehicle he assigned to us. He knew he could completely take advantage of us as we were all there and were ready to set out on our trip. And that is what he did. He left us no option but to "upgrade" to a larger vehicle and pay an additional 315 EURO. The upgraded vehicle was indeed a VW Caddy Max Life, the exact vehicle the Hertz website cites as the vehicle I reserved.
When I returned the car at the airport in Dublin I was told to email customer service. I did so and received this response:

Good evening Mr. Forgues,
Thank you for contacting us here at Hertz Ireland relative to your rental.
Please find attached, a copy of your final invoice and also a signed copy of your rental agreement.
I would like to advise that we, at Hertz Ireland, do not guarantee make or model of vehicle. At the time of reservation, you booked a manually transmitted, seven seated vehicle. When you arrived at the desk, a 2017 registered, seven seated vehicle, from the category reserved was provided Mr. Forgues. Unfortunately this vehicle did not meet your needs and you opted to upgrade to a larger vehicle with automatic transmission. The upgrade charge would apply going from manual to automatic, this too had to be considered in tandem with the space in the upgraded vehicle.
Relative to the queried upgrade charge, I can confirm that the vehicle you were assigned and that you subsequently drove for the duration of rental was therefore, multiple categories superior to the one reserved.
Please note that the rental has now been completed and it is fair to state that you had optimum use of the upgraded vehicle for the duration of rental.
See attached a copy of the signed rental agreement which shows that all charges were stated, signed for and therefore accepted at the time of rental. By signing the said document, you are declaring you have read, understood and therefore accepted all stated charges.
In conclusion, I can confirm, much to your dissatisfaction, that no refund is due on this occasion Mr. Forgues.
Thank you for your time.
Kindest regards,
Clive

I responded back and with a screen shot of their website showing what I reserved. I never heard back. I welcome your advice on how I can escalate this. I have all of my documentation.

Thanks
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,658
12,680
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
But one thing - did you indeed rent a standard and not an automatic? If so, then you were really upgraded by going to an automatic.

We have company contacts on top of our page. Find the one for Hertz and write to the first executive shown since you have already dealt with customer service.

Send him copies of your original reservation and then what you were given. It important to have that copy to verify what you reserved. Give him a week to reply. If he doesn't or still says no, move to the next executive, Repeat weekly until you get all the way through the executives. Let us know what they say.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,617
6,628
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#3
Just want to confirm the facts. You reserved a vehicle. They gave you a different vehicle. That vehicle would not accommodate your group. They allowed you to pay an upgrade for ... the vehicle you had reserved. The transmission type is not relevant to your issue.

I've been the victim of Irish logic in the past, but it did not cost me nearly 400 euro. This is such a case of baloney. And the person reading your original letter obviously has no capability to process the English language. I don't think there's anything in this world that irritates me more than a response that does not address the issue ... and in your case actively tries to cloud the issue.

Compose a concise, polite email to Hertz customer service requesting a refund. Allow them two weeks (it may take that long for them to find a rep who can read). If no answer or if you don't like it, use our Company Contacts to contact the first executive, wait a week and go up the exec beanstalk, waiting a week between each one.

Your job is to make the person reading your letter want to help you. Polite, patient and persistent usually results in success.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#4
The Caddy Max Life and the Peugeot 5008 vans are pretty much alike in terms of size. I don't think you are going to get much luggage in either with 7 people.

Also, the following information is noted concerning this vehicle category:
  • The vehicles shown are examples. Specific makes/models within a car class may vary in availability and features such as passenger seating, luggage capacity, equipment and mileage.
  • For vehicles with 3rd row seating, luggage capacity will vary when the 3rd row is upright and/or folded down.
European car rental agencies normally put a premium on upgrades from manual to automatic and rarely provide these for free. Definitely, try writing the company executives as Neil suggested, but I think you will have an uphill battle, especially if you were offered a similar vehicle, but then accepted the upgraded at the time.

Hertz.JPG
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,658
12,680
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
Just want to confirm the facts. You reserved a vehicle. They gave you a different vehicle. That vehicle would not accommodate your group. They allowed you to pay an upgrade for ... the vehicle you had reserved. The transmission type is not relevant to your issue.

I've been the victim of Irish logic in the past, but it did not cost me nearly 400 euro. This is such a case of baloney. And the person reading your original letter obviously has no capability to process the English language. I don't think there's anything in this world that irritates me more than a response that does not address the issue ... and in your case actively tries to cloud the issue.

Compose a concise, polite email to Hertz customer service requesting a refund. Allow them two weeks (it may take that long for them to find a rep who can read). If no answer or if you don't like it, use our Company Contacts to contact the first executive, wait a week and go up the exec beanstalk, waiting a week between each one.

Your job is to make the person reading your letter want to help you. Polite, patient and persistent usually results in success.
Actually the transmission does make a difference because an automatic is always more expensive than a manual. If the original requested was a manual transmission, that may be why our writer was given the other model- the automatic is an upgrade.
 
Nov 19, 2017
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#6
Thanks all for your input. See the attached. I reserved a Caddy. The Caddy easily fit 7 of us with 7 small bags. I reserved the biggest 7 passenger van. The original car they assigned us would only fit 2 small bags. We had to have a car the size of the Caddy which is why I reserved a car the size of the Caddy.

I did reserve a manual and I wanted to drive a manual. The small Pugeot was a manual. The Caddy we were forced to upgrade to was an automatic. I get that in Europe automatic is an extra charge. In my case I did not want an automatic, I just wanted a car of similar size to what I had reserved. It was all very disappointing when they did indeed have a van of the size I reserved but made me pay an additional 315 EURO for it.

Here is the timeline of events so far:

1. I reserved and prepaid for a van rental from 7/26-8/2
2. When I returned the car I was told to email Hertz Ireland customer service
3. When I returned home I did so
4. On 8/21 I received the message from Clive
5. I responded to Clive with CC to Hertz VP Benzal
6. On 9/15 I had not heard anything so I sent it to Benzal again
7. On 10/26 I had not heard anything so I sent it to Hertz VP Smith

To date I have not heard back from Smith. Should I continue to reach out to Hertz? Any advice is most appreciated. I really did my research before I rented.
 

Attachments

Sep 19, 2015
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#7
As a frequent car renter in Europe I can assure people that an automatic transmission costs significantly more. And I have attached a provisional booking on Hertz for Ireland.

Any frequent renter knows that the car model is not guaranteed. It is a category (size, transmission etc.) that one reserved.
 

Attachments

Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
IMG_6841.PNG And Europcar in Ireland -- exact same category and sample model and date -- there is a big difference between manual and automatic transmission VW polo. Manual euro 93.05. VW polo automatic euro 150.73. Same dates in Ireland.
 

Attachments

Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Christina is correct. They offered you the Peugeot because it was a standard. They likely didn't have the other one in a standard.

And automatic is ALWAYS more money than a standard- thus it IS an upgrade and you really don't have a legitimate claim. They should have explained that and you also should have told us you reserved a manual car because that is pertinent information in this case.

Cars that hold 7 people are very difficult to guarantee. The only manual they had was what they gave you.

I just did a quick price comparison on Hertz - 3 nights for the VW for a manual was 220.56 E and the same in automatic was 344.30 E. I don't know how long you had the car, but that extra seems right if you had the car for a week or so.

Also, when you click on the details of the car type, it clearly states that the luggage capacity will vary if you are using the third row upright. :

Please note:

• The vehicles shown are examples. Specific makes/models within a car class may vary in availability and features such as passenger seating, luggage capacity, equipment and mileage.
• For vehicles with 3rd row seating, luggage capacity will vary when the 3rd row is upright and/or folded down.
• For 15-passenger vehicles, luggage capacity may be limited compared to 12-passenger vehicles.


So I hate to say it but you really don't have a claim. You can certainly write to the Executives and see what happens, but if you get a no all the way down the line, this is why.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
In August we returned from a family vacation to Ireland. I always use Hertz because I appreciate the excellent service that I have always received. On this occasion my experience could not have been more different. On this trip my family included a group of 7 of us traveling. We each had one small roll aboard suitcase. I reserved, like I always do, through the Hertz website directly. I have been to Europe many times and understand that cars in Europe are smaller. I did not reserve the smallest 7 seat car, rather I went up two sizes to a car that the website describes as:
(S) VW Caddy Maxi Life
or similar

  • 7 Passengers
  • 2 Large Suitcases, 3 Small Suitcases
  • M Air Conditioning
  • 45 miles/gallon or better
May I ask why you cut out the part that a manual transmission was reserved? You edited it out and left the "M" which is why there is M Air Conditioning. As is evident on the screenshot attached the M was part of Manual Transmission.
 

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Nov 19, 2017
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#13
Thank you all for the input. I really appreciate it.

I was not leaving out the transmission information. I did not want an automatic which is why I did not reserve one. I did want a vehicle that would accommodate my group which is why I booked the largest 7 passenger van. To then be assigned a small van when I arrived was my issue. I could have reserved a small van in the first place and saved about 250 EURO. Then I would have understood needing to pay for a larger van and I would have had the money to do so. And to be assigned a small Pugeot van that would only hold 2 small suitcases but them actually having the exact model I reserved, although in an automatic, was also very disappointing.

I very much appreciate the collective wisdom on this. I rent often, and always with Hertz. This just seemed to me like such a bait and switch. Please let me know if you all think I am off base.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,658
12,680
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
Unfortunately, the description clearly says "or similar" which means if they don't have that particular model available when you arrive they substitute the closest they have- which was what you received.

They only had an automatic, which was an upgrade and always costs extra.

It's my opinion you don't have a case but it will not hurt you to write to Hertz. The worst that can happen is you go all the way up the execitive chain and they say no. The best is you find an executive who might give you a partial refund. I just said if you go all the way up and get a no all the way up- that's the reason why.

It won't hurt you to try.
 
Nov 19, 2017
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#15
Unfortunately, the description clearly says "or similar" which means if they don't have that particular model available when you arrive they substitute the closest they have- which was what you received.

They only had an automatic, which was an upgrade and always costs extra.

It's my opinion you don't have a case but it will not hurt you to write to Hertz. The worst that can happen is you go all the way up the execitive chain and they say no. The best is you find an executive who might give you a partial refund. I just said if you go all the way up and get a no all the way up- that's the reason why.

It won't hurt you to try.
Thank you Neil. I understand about the "or similar" but my question is what is similar. Don't they have to substitute a car of the same or larger size? The car they assigned me was not similar.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
If there is a desire for any goodwill resolution from the company I would not use terms like bait and switch. This was not a bait and switch. A manual in a certain class was reserved and received. An automatic was later chosen and that costs more money.

You acknowledge that an automatic costs more; this is not just a Hertz issue -- so why is the term bait and switch being used?

It was written that "I was certain we would fit..." but unless one knows the car models and interior configuration there is no way to know that. Some cars have smaller luggage storage areas and more leg room.

From the timeline it appears that the primary and secondary contacts have received emails and have not responded. They may not have responded as they think Clive explained the issue. It is poor form not to respond even to say "sorry but Clive was correct and nothing more".
The only above Smith is the CEO
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,658
12,680
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
Thank you Neil. I understand about the "or similar" but my question is what is similar. Don't they have to substitute a car of the same or larger size? The car they assigned me was not similar.
Not if they don't have one on the lot- they can only substitute what they have on the lot.

I think you should write to Hertz. But I agree with Christina about not being insulting when you do write.
 
Nov 19, 2017
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#18
Thanks All. I appreciate your input and I have been careful to be respectful and patient throughout this case. I will continue to do so.

Based on your feedback I will send the request to the CEO in the hopes that I will received some return communication.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,617
6,628
113
San Francisco
#20
Thank you Neil. I understand about the "or similar" but my question is what is similar. Don't they have to substitute a car of the same or larger size? The car they assigned me was not similar.
I guess I'm the lone voice here that agrees with you. Reserving a vehicle for 7 people and 7 small suitcases is straightforward - they have those little icons showing what each model will hold. To give you a smaller van when they had the van you originally reserved (albeit with an auto tranny but it would carry your 7/7) ... and surcharge you for the van that will hold your group just doesn't seem right. It seems very customer unfriendly to me; technically an automatic is more expensive, but Hertz's first objective should be to make you happy and give you a vehicle that will hold 7/7 no matter what kind of transmission it has.

While you and I might be wrong, I would take this as far as I could. The fact that you're a loyal Hertz customer should count for something.