Hertz Car Rental Bait & Switch

By Graeme

I reserved a vehicle through Hertz.com for a recent trip to Liberia - Costa Rica, the car was picked up December 5 and returned on December 12. The reservation was for a sub-compact at a weekly rate of $105.97 (that included license charge and service charge). I decided to rent from Hertz as the price was cheaper than the other companies and I figured it was a large well known company.

Issue #1 : Rental Cost : When I went to pick up the vehicle, I was informed that the cost of the rental was $132 / week, plus $13.93 license and $27.93 service charge (a total of $173.86 vs the reservation rate of $105.97). In addition, I was told that the car I had reserved was in San Jose (and not available) and it would cost and additional $5 / day for a vehicle that they had available (now a total of $208.86 vs the reservation rate of $105.97). I have never been to a rental agency where they didn’t honour the reservation rate, and if the vehicle class was not available it would be a free upgrade to the one that was available. When I expressed my concerns with the price I was told if I wanted the car that was the price, otherwise I would have to get a car from somewhere else (take it or leave it). Keep in mind that this is the first day of a week long vacation, and there was a tight schedule to make a wedding at the Tabacon Resort (3 hrs away). I didn’t have the luxury of spending time trying to find another rental car, nor should I have had to.

Issue #2 : Insurance : I had existing rental car coverage for CDW (Mastercard) and Third Party (Monnex), and had paperwork for both. At first Hertz representative wouldn’t except either and insisted I needed to pay both (I was told that neither were opt-outable), finally after a phone conversation with my credit card company the Hertz rep conceded that yes I could opt out of the CDW (which I did), but I could still not opt out of the third party and that it didn’t matter if I had insurance. In doing research when I got home I confirmed that yes you can opt out of it in Costa Rica if you have documentation from your insurance company (which I had). The Third Party Insurance cost an additional $84.

Issue #3: Currency Exchange : The reservation was made in US$, the paperwork at the agency in Costa Rica was in US$, but it was then converted to Colones at an unfavourable exchange rate for final payment (which was never mentioned until I returned the vehicle), an additional 6.4% cost ($20).

When I rent a car, the expectation is that the reservation is honoured, I understand there can additional local fees (like the extra I paid for a road safety kit) or taxes. I feel that in this situation I was taken advantage of because I was on vacation and didn’t have the ability to source another rental car company and it was a “take it or leave it” attitude from the Hertz Representative. At best this is dishonest, I think it borders on criminal (fraud).

Hindsight is 20/20 and now that I’ve had the problem with Hertz I did some searching and found no shortage of similar complaints.

I will NEVER rent from Hertz again.

6 Responses to “Hertz Car Rental Bait & Switch”

  1. 0

    thatgengirl says...

    … But you’re reviewing an incident that happened in Costa Rica. Individual store practices do not reflect the company as a whole. If you contact Hertz headquarters, and get the same treatment, *then* you would have a valid arguement for discontinuing service with them.

  2. 0

    thatgengirl says...

    Sorry, that might have sounded rude. My concern is that you’re allowing an incident at a franchise to taint your view of the company as a whole. It would make more sense to say that you’re never using the Liberia Hertz again.

    Also, have you done anything to allow Hertz to rectify the situation? Perhaps by contacting customer service and providing proof of the discrepencies?

  3. I decided to rent from Hertz as the price was cheaper than the other companies and I figured it was a large well known company.97 (that included license charge and service charge)..The reservation was for a sub-compact at a weekly rate of $105?

  4. 0

    Robbiii says...

    I find that the promotional rates that all car rental companies, are never, ever, honoured. It’s excatly has you described, it baits the comsumer to rent from that company and you never received that rate, nor the vechile
    that was advertised. The car rental companies operate is a racket…. particularly the national chains. Always beware

  5. 0

    R M says...

    I just got burned by this exact same issue. A rate of $192 that included taxes and fees turned into $366 when I arrive in person. Then due to the shady exchange rate even though all documents were in dollars, it became $392. Utterly outrageous. I plan on contesting with my credit card company stating I only agree to pay the $192.

  6. 0

    John Johnson says...

    I just got back from Liberia and experienced the exact same thing. A quoted and reserved rate of $261 for a small SUV turned into $439. The attendant insisted that I had to pay the insurance even though I have rental car coverage through my carrier. We were also charged a $39 service charge for unknown services.

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