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.
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.
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.