Hertz Rental Car at Long Beach Airport tried to fraudulently charge me for gas

I spent the holidays in California and flew in and out of Long Beach Airport. It’s a convenient, small airport where the rental car lots are on the airport property. As a Delta Platinum member, I received President’s Circle status with Hertz and therefore decided to give them a try during my vacation.

The benefits of President’s Circle status include: Guaranteed Upgrades, Widest Selection of cars, 4 months free CLEAR airport trial and a dedicated Hertz Rewards line.

This is what the rental car area at Long Beach Airport looks like.

Long Beach Airport rental

Courtesy Google Maps

You can see in the distance the Hertz booth to the left. This is where you pick up your keys and also return your keys – there was no one to physically meet you when you returned the car. As part of their printed instructions, it said to tell the agent in the booth the fuel level and the mileage.

I had filed the car completely up the previous day at a Costco so that I would only have a few gallons to fill up when we returned the car. I stopped at a Chevron right by the airport.

The Chevron

After filling up, I took the car back to the return area, noted the mileage and fuel level and handed the keys to the Hertz agent, got a receipt and was on my way.

Three days later I noticed an additional charge from Hertz for $24.45. I called Hertz customer service and was told the reason for the extra charge was because I hadn’t filled the car up all the way and that they charge $9.95/gallon. This means that they were saying that I was 2 1/2 gallons empty returning the car. This, of course, is an outright lie and fraudulent based on where I had filled up the car – a mere 1.5 miles away from the airport. I protested and said that I had the receipt showing that I had filled up minutes before returning. They told me that I could send the receipt in to their email and they would research it. Today, I saw a refund returned back to my card.

The bigger question is – was this a one off overlook or is this a pattern of hoping customers won’t notice extra charges on their bill? Is there any punishment for the Hertz customer service that lied about the gas not being filled up? I will no longer trust Hertz’s car rental folks and will take pictures documenting mileage and gas and have an agent confirm this in person before every dropping off another car to Hertz.

Comments

  1. How do you know for sure it was fraud and not an honest mistake, especially since they corrected it so quickly?

  2. I don’t think this was anything fraudulent. I’ve rented and returned many cars to Hertz at LGB and never had any issues like this, so without further data points I wouldn’t see any reason to attribute malice.

  3. This is becoming common. I have had the same issue with Avis recently. I underfilled the tank (.5 and 1.5 gallons). I complained at checkout so they removed the charges.

  4. I got the lie from one of the hyatt property fraudulently charged me for upgrade. I asked the front desk when checking out, but got the answer that I won’t be charged as bill shown. The bill was to make Hyatt finance happy! Later, I received the bill and did fight for it to get my money back…

  5. I had this happen to me at MCO by budget. They charged my card almost $200 claiming I returned the car empty. Thankfully I had the return receipt showing a Full gas tank and the gas receipt. I even took a picture of the odometer and dash. It was a total scam. Budget promptly refunded my money and apologized. Im convinced that this is a scam that happens often.

  6. Not only do I keep the gas receipts, but I snap a photo of the dashboard upon return ensuring the odometer and gas gauge are in the same shot. Came in handy one time when Budget at San Antonio airport claimed my full tank of gas was completely EMPTY. They reversed that charge pretty quick after they got the photo.

  7. I had a rental from them while I got my car fixed. They picked my car up from the garage that fixed my car. About a month after they charged me 45 dollars for gas. When I called they said it was empty. In which I said that wasnt true since I had driven less than 50 miles in the car. They told me they would get back to me. I had to call then back 2 days later. They changed their story and tried to say that I had signed up for their gas. I had kept my stuff and told then that it showed on my receipt that I declined the charges. They then tried to go right back to I gave them the car empty. At that point I told then if they didnt refund me the money I would be calling a lawyer and they could then pay for all of those charged. They finally agreed to give me my money back. Never again will I use Hertz.

  8. Why would multi million dollar companies that don’t pay their employees commission try to scam you and ruin their entire reputation over $24-25

    The fact they admitted fault and reimbursed you instantly shows they aren’t scamming. If they were scamming everyone they wouldn’t be in business

  9. Hertz has done this a couple of times to me in the past year. I am President’s Circle member as well.
    They have credited it back to me, only after spending 20+ minutes on the phone, half of that on hold waiting for customer service. I mentioned it the subsequent trip through the same rental location and they decided not to check my car back in. I had to call and have CS force then location to close out my rental.

  10. Budget at STL tries the same thing, even though my fastbreak profile declines the gas option. I noticed immediately that the dollar amount didn’t match my reservation, but the clerk said she couldn’t reverse it there. I had to call in and provide a bunch of info. Always check your receipt!

  11. Same thing happened to me at Hertz Phoenix Sky Harbor. And I’m Presidents Circle, too.

    Brought back completely full and got the receipt 15 minutes later with the charge. No way they could verify that in 15 minutes with no attendants.

    If it happens again I’m done with Hertz..

  12. It was not fraud at all. When the vehicle is taken to the pumps and it allows more fuel, the customer will be charged.

  13. Hertz did the same thing to my son and I. They charged us $161.00 for gas. Therefore they did not refund us our $200 deposit after the return of the car. They said that we returned the car on empty. We are also a member of the Presidential Club. We rent cars from them all of the time. So we know the procedure when it comes to the fueling process. We only had the car for one day and it was a local rental. We did not leave the County. It only took $21 dollar to fill it back up before we return it. The gas station located right at the airport. We kept the receipt. It was very difficult getting our money back. After days of trying to get our money back, they finally agreed to refund it. It took about 3 weeks to get the refund back. All was refund but $22.00. It was exhausting so I just let them keep it.

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