It’s Not Me, It’s You – My Breakup Story with Hertz

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I see myself as a glass half full kinda girl. I don’t enjoy ranting, but today I just have to rant. So be forewarned, I’m DONE with Hertz. I am so done and fed up, and breaking up ain’t hard to do.

Here’s the story. I rent cars A LOT. Back in 2013, a Hertz satellite office opened up in a Chevrolet dealership in my neighborhood. Sweet! And for a while, it indeed was sweet. The two guys who worked there, Travis and Chris, were great. Good with customers, fun senses of humor, they knew never to give me a Nissan Versa (the seats are hard as rocks), and it was actually a pleasure to rent from them. So Hertz got all my business.

Hertz let Travis go, I think because he was the manager and the more expensive employee. For a while, Chris held down the fort by himself. But the car dealership hired Chris away from Hertz. I still see him, and he’s treated better and making way more money than when he was with Hertz.

That’s when the troubles started.

Every time I’d go in, a different person was working, and they just weren’t on the ball. I knew more about the process than they did. I was thinking it was time to call it quits with Hertz, but then they hired a guy, John, who was competent, good natured under stress, and had good customer service skills. And besides, he’d bring his adorable dog to work with him. You can’t break up with Hertz when the guy’s dog is so cute, right?

I wondered how long he’d last, and then one day, I called and a woman answered the phone. Uh oh. Sure enough, John and his dog were gone. So the past few times I’ve rented a car, there have been a series of different people behind the desk. Hertz seems to bring over people from their other locations on a daily basis.

My experience last week pushed me over the edge and I’m done with Hertz, for good. I called the day before I was going to pick up my car and told them exactly what time I’d be there. OK, they assured me. No problem. However, the woman working that day gave us the worst customer service ever. And that’s not just me talking. When it was all said and done and we were in the car driving away, the friend I was with said, “That was the worst customer service I’ve ever seen.”

I’ll keep it simple. The Hertz woman had the worst attitude. She kept “acting” like she had a headache and that helping us was simply a bother to her. At one point, she said to the man who brings the rental cars to the front, “Hurry up, I can’t wait to get rid of these two.” She had her food from lunch all over the counter with our paperwork. She kept telling me she didn’t have my information and I kept telling her it was all there in her computer and that I had rented at this location many times.

We finally got out of there after she took a lot of time, due to incompetence, creating as much of a mess as she could out of our reservation. The car, however, was dirty inside, had no windshield washer fluid in it, and I noticed later on that the registration tags were expired. Thankfully, 5 days later when I returned the car, the same woman wasn’t working.

The guy working had been brought in for the day from another Hertz location, was nice enough, but was afraid to say anything except, “just call the manager if you have any complaints.” Boy was I missing the days of Travis and Chris, when if something like a dirty car, no windshield washer fluid, or an expired plate had happened, they’d have given me a coupon for a discount on my next rental.

OK, but who’s the manager and can I call them? It took a while for the Hertz employee to tell me and then find a number for the Hertz district manager. I’ve been calling her everyday for a week. She never answers, and I’ll let you guess if she’ll ever calls me back :)

I surely don’t think Hertz cares at all if they lose my business, but when you’ve been dancing with one partner for so long, you don’t know who to dance with next. So help me out here! I am done with Hertz. Who should I rent from going forward? I’m not concerned with price as I always get a good deal, but I do expect good customer service. Is this even possible these days from the car rental companies?

26 thoughts on “It’s Not Me, It’s You – My Breakup Story with Hertz

  1. rjb

    This is standard operating procedure at most Hertz locations. I thought your post was going to be about:
    *Hertz charging you the wrong rates
    *Hertz giving you a damaged car and then trying to ding you for it upon return
    *Hertz insisting you picked up a car when you were 1000 miles away and then pursuing you for months for a car that you never rented
    *Hertz at cutting off you rental privileges, closing your Gold account and deleting your points for not paying for the car I never rented
    *Hertz giving you beat up, high mileage cars with expired inspections and/or tags

    Poor customer service? That’s normal. All of these things have happened to me at IAD Airport. That’s why I never use Hertz anymore. Take a look at Hertz stock price. (HTZ) Its not just you and I that have noticed that Hertz is an absolute train wreck.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Holy cow, rjb. I bow to your ordeals with Hertz. I see I had it good for a while, at least. I have seen the stock price. I’m amazed this little rental kiosk has stayed open at the Chevy dealership.

      Reply
  2. Gardy

    Since I got Emerald status w National thru my CSr card, I’ve been using them and have had great experiences. Bypassing the counter and going right to the car after a long flight is amazing, esp after spends no so much time before waiting in horrendous (in terms of rental agencies) places like DEN

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Thanks, Gardy. I’ll get out my CSr card and start using National! Glad to hear it’s working well for you.

      Reply
  3. Gene

    It sounds like you got spoiled and that you are overreacting. Being done with one car rental company forever is only going to hurt you in the long run. My advice is to not be so loyal to any one company. They ultimately don’t care if they lose your business, so why be loyal unless it benefits you?

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Good point, Gene, about not being loyal to any one rental company. I really don’t think I was overreacting though. Customer service is the differentiating factor when I decide who to spend my money with.

      Reply
  4. George

    I decided to never rent from Hertz again when the last time, at Hertz LAX Airport, they tried to rob me after returning the car. A few days later they e-mailed me and told that I had damaged the car. First they said it was in the back, then they said it was on the passenger side… They must run such a scam over that place…

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Sorry to hear that story, George. Sounds scary. I only rented from Hertz once at LAX and it was at 1 AM and the place was packed with people who hadn’t made reservations ahead of time. There was no special line for Hertz members. What a mess, but nothing like your situation.

      Reply
  5. sat

    I had a different experience with Hertz, they over charged me one day rental because I dropped the key in the drop box available in the airport car rental counter. At the time of the rental they told me it is ok to drop the key and I will not be charged any extra amount.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      HI sat, I hope you were able to get a refund for that charge. I’ve never used the drop box for the key when it’s been offered. Thanks for the warning, though.

      Reply
  6. Joseph

    If ever renting at PHX Sky Harbor, be sure to avoid Budget. Horrible experience renting there and the woman you describe in the post reminds me a lot of the person that “assisted” me at their counter. They can be sure I won’t be back.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Hi Joseph, You touched on another place I hate to rent cars. The whole PHX set-up is an awful mess. Hertz is bad too, with no line for people who already have reservations, and insufficient and inefficient help. I’ll stay away from Budget at PHX. Thanks for the warning :)

      Reply
  7. iahphx

    Good — and bad — employees come and go at car rental agencies. It’s not really a reason to prefer one to another. Well, I guess if the experience is truly horrific due to a certain staffing situation, maybe I’d avoid that agency location until that employee left. Which likely wouldn’t be very long.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Interesting point about avoiding that location. But it really is time for me to give my business to another agency and see how it goes. My rates are always good and comparable agency to agency, so the staffing does make a difference to me. And that there’s no one THERE when things go wrong, that’s not the kind of business I do business with. Thanks for your comments!

      Reply
  8. Nick

    This is normal for Hertz, that they suck. A few years back I used them in Kansas City. Had a problem with the counter agent and I insisted that I speak with the district manager. Boy, was that a let down. The district manager “Elizabeth” was far worse than the counter guy that I had the problem with. I had a great trip to Kansas City – EXCEPT FOR HERTZ. Man o man I was so fed up with them. Still am. What a bummer.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Thanks for your story. At least you got to the district manager :) Given that the one here has never responded to my calls, I’m thinking she might be worse, too! KC is a fun city, I agree.

      Reply
  9. Jon W.

    In general I think pretty much all major rental companies, even the Hertzs, Avises, and Nationals of the world have good and bad locations based on whoever the franchise owner or independent operator is. I think in the respect, neighborhood rental locations are even more hit and miss regardless of company and are very vulnerable to understaffing.

    That said, I do love Avis. I don’t rent enough to be President’s or Chairman’s club but as a Preferred Pro I find it nice enough to meet me needs. At airport locations I usually get an upgrade to a class up and if I want to switch, the Preferred counters at LAX or SFO are fairly quick and the people are nice enough. Failing that, I do love the exchange row option if I don’t like my car as I can get another intermediate car (sometimes a standard or full size as well) or small SUV for the same rental rate. Even as preferred, you get the exchange or uprgrade row option.

    So maybe you can try that out. I’ve heard great things about National too, but haven’t rented with them in eons. I just avoid Enterprise like the plague after a couple of bad nickel and diming experiences. And I only rent from Hertz if their rates are a lot more competitive price and location wise.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation, Jon. I never thought of whether this was a franchise or corporately owned location. My guess would be corporate. I do know the Chevy dealer has nothing to do with them. I’ll look into Avis and National and avoid Enterprise. Again, thanks for your suggestions :)

      Reply
    1. shelli

      Looks like I’ll have to give a few other rental companies a try and then see which works best for me. As everyone has said, customer service varies a lot from location to location and company to company, so we shall see.

      Reply
    2. Richard

      Kudos on the Enterprise referral. I’ve never been disappointed with the guys at the Tampa airport location. Reserved a full size for pick-up at noon one day, but arrived about an hour early. Instead of making me wait for the full-size, they upgraded me to a KIA Sportage SUV without hesitation. Much nicer car. Friendly, funny guys with no attitude at the counter. And “They’ll pick you up” at the Sheraton Westshore if you need to stay overnight after a late flight into Tampa. I recommend Enterprise highly.

      Reply
      1. shelli

        Wow, Richard. Thanks for the Enterprise thumbs up. Sounds like the kind of customer service I’m looking for. Will check them out, for sure!

        Reply
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