As an Avis Preferred, Budget Fastbreak and Hertz Gold Plus member, I rent about 30 cars a year, usually with Avis as their prices are generally the best. However, I recently had need of a van at short notice, and my nearest Avis depots were both booked out. Hertz had the next best price and had one available, so I went with them. This is actually the first time I’ve booked a van with them since becoming a Gold Plus member, and to be honest, I was really disappointed, so I thought I would share my experience in the form of my responses to their post-rental survey.
The first and perhaps most important question:
The next question is “Why?” I broke it down into 10 points.
- The credit card surcharge was not explained or even mentioned at the time of collection which is deceptive. It is also unclear on the website or the terms as to when this surcharge applies, leaving one guessing. Why is this even needed anyway? Avis gives better prices with no surcharge at all.
- The fact that the bond is debited from the account rather than held on the account. To me, this is very suspicious given how easy it is to hold a bond on a credit card.
- The fact that Gold Plus members even have to pay a bond, Avis doesn’t charge me a bond as an Avis Preferred customer.
- The bond is extremely high in my opinion!
- It turns out the person serving us did not know or understand the way tolling works on Hertz vehicles, and we appear to have been charged twice for tolls by following her advice.
- No e-tags in the vehicle for tolls with tolls automatically added to our account like other rental providers.
- The extra KM charge is deceptive. The quote explicitly states additional KM’s are charged at a rate of $0.25/KM and that taxes are included. When we pick up the vehicle, we are told it’s actually $0.27/KM because of GST. Apparently, the quote was incorrect then because the quote DID NOT include taxes on the extra KM’s.
- I was told I would be emailed an invoice the next morning after returning the vehicle since they were shutting up the shop on our return. Three days on I was still waiting for it. What’s going on here, shouldn’t this be an automatic thing on completion of the rental? Other providers do that. (Extra note for readers: I emailed them about it and held off publishing this post for three months to see if an invoice ever arrived. Three months on it still hasn’t been received, and I’ve not had a single response from customer service about it. I’ve gone to the website and found a receipt, but that receipt explicitly states it is not an invoice and to contact customer service for an invoice.)
- The person serving was friendly and tried to be helpful though so that gets 1 point towards a recommendation.
- The vehicle was also good, no issues with it so that gets the second point towards a recommendation.
I rent around 20-30 vehicles a year of different shapes and sizes for varying durations all over the place, so I’ve seen it all before. No individual thing was inherently awful, and I’ve encountered all these things separately before, but all up, these things make me very distrustful of Hertz and sceptical about doing business with them in the future.
That said, I do like the ability to earn points towards free rentals with Hertz while at the same time earn points with my choice of third party rewards program including the likes of Velocity Frequent Flyer points or Accor Le Club points. It’s a great feature of their loyalty program. Avis and Budget only let you earn third party reward points, so it’s like getting double the rewards. Do I want to deal with a company that is untrustworthy just to get double the rewards though? It’s tempting, but at the end of the day, I’d prefer to deal with a company I can trust, and that puts Hertz at the bottom of the list of rental car providers I will use in the future. I’d rent from them again if they were the cheapest or only option, but that would be about it.
I’d love to hear your experience with Hertz Gold Plus program. Am I the only one that’s had such a bad experience with it? Do they always hide their surcharges and incorrectly claim tax inclusivity on their quotes? Let me know in the comments below!
Feature image credit: istock.com/tupungato