Andrea Saint James needed to rent a car in Los Angeles when she attended her friend Mary Morgan’s wedding.
Saint James did her research, took careful notes and found a rental from Hertz for $493. The cost seemed reasonable for 13 days. Before she committed to it, she, Morgan, and the Hertz agent discussed the possibility of picking the car up in Lakewood, Calif., and dropping it off at the airport at LAX, a difference of about 20 miles.
The representative informed her that it was possible, but that Hertz would probably tack on a $50 surcharge for her to return it at the airport. Saint James thought that was fair and her friend rented the car for her.
“Imagine our shock when I returned the car with more gas than I got it with and in perfect condition,” Saint James exclaimed, “We learned that the surcharge was $1,500 extra! All that for 10 days in a Yaris? I could have bought a car for that!”
Although Saint James was chomping at the bit to take on Hertz immediately, Morgan calmed her down and told her to let her credit card company fight it out for her. But then Morgan unintentionally paid off the charge — $1,993 — and now Saint James is feeling a lot of pressure, because the original intent was for her to pay her friend back. If she is forced to pay this extra $1,500, it will cause her financial hardship.
Morgan did make numerous calls to both Hertz and Visa, but Hertz claimed the renters, “broke the contract,” and refuses to refund the surcharge.
She’s not alone. There are other accounts of this problem.
Our son didn’t do the right thing and returned his car (on time – no damages) at a different Boston Hertz facility 65 miles away from where he should have. Hertz provided no receipt – stated everything was okay – then took an additional $2,036 out of his credit card account with no warning.
Discussion on that site seemed to indicate that the charges were due to a “different place return” rate, rather than a “same place return” rate and that because the renter returned the car to a different location, he “broke the contract.”
Did the language in Morgan’s contract specify that her rental car would be returned to a different location, or was it just a verbal conversation that Saint James and Morgan had with the Hertz representative? Since Hertz now claims Morgan “broke the contract,” it sounds like the arrangements to return the car to a different location were not captured in writing.
Saint James is asking us to step in and try to get what she considers an outrageous and unjustified extra fee credited back to Morgan’s Visa.