A $2,132 dropoff charge? Seriously, Hertz?

It’s one of the largest upcharges we’ve seen in a long time: from a $1,440 bill at reservation to a $3,572 invoice when Ivy Myles returns her Hertz rental car in Australia.

Question: I had a confirmed reservation with Hertz for a compact car in Australia. Even considering the exchange rate and conversion from Australian dollars the estimate was $1,440.

When I returned the car, they charged me $3,572, and I paid with a credit card. I felt it was not a good spot or time for discussion, and I was sure I could fix this later. It hasn’t worked out that way. I may be ignorant of the ways of the world and need to let it be, but my mind says, “What?” Can you help me get a refund? — Ivy Myles, Tucson, Ariz.

Answer: A $2,000 upcharge is pretty significant. I’m surprised they didn’t explain the additional charge when you returned the car.

I realize you were still traveling when you initially contacted us, but you could have also tried appealing to the executive contacts at Hertz that we list on our site. You contacted us, and we reached out to Hertz on your behalf.

Hertz noted that your original reservation was prepaid through a third party, and not directly with Hertz. You should have received a voucher from the booking source, and it’s not clear from your correspondence if you carried that with you. It’s essential to carry printed documents with you, especially when traveling abroad.

Even people with electronic devices should have a backup copy since you never know when and where you will have internet access. If you had the voucher, it would have been worth it to take the time and the opportunity to ask for a supervisor on site and see if they could resolve the issue before paying such an enormous upcharge.

Related story:   When Hertz tells a customer he is "too old" to rent, is age discrimination at work?

Hertz originally directed you to the third party booking source to get your refund, but after our advocates contacted them, Hertz agreed to issue the refund you were due. You wrote us back, confirming the refund and letting us know you thought the refund was due primarily to our intervention. We’re just glad it worked out.

Michelle Bell

Michelle worked in the travel and hospitality industry for almost two decades. Born in Germany, she has lived in 15 states and two foreign countries, and traveled to more than 35 countries. After living and working in Southeast Asia for several years, she now resides in New Orleans. Read more of Michelle Bell's articles here.

  • sirwired

    If somebody’s trying to charge me $2k more than I expected, up until the very last minute I need to go check in for the flight is the best time for discussion. Everything is a LOT easier to work out when you aren’t trying to fix things after the fact.

    And I expect that if he had glanced at the summary page of the rental agreement when picking up the car, this could have been fixed even before the rental started, which of course is the BEST time to fix problems. You don’t even have to read every last eye-straining word of the whole six-foot-long thing, just look at the summary page for surprises on charges.

  • Chris Johnson

    It sounds like he dropped off his rental car at a different place than he rented it. Depending on the locations and/or company, some rental companies have a major problem with this and will impose obscenely high charges so no one in their right mind will do it (if they think to ask about it beforehand). One time I rented an Enterprise car from an airport location after work to drive out of town for the weekend and on the way back, called to find out if I could return it to a non-airport location closer to my home. I was told the charge to do that would be $999 so I came to my senses and returned it to the same airport location, taking public transit to get home. I believe the non-airport Enterprise locations are franchises while the airport locations are company owned so I can see why they’d do this.

  • Rebecca

    In what universe does someone just not worry about over $2k? I wish I had that problem.

  • Jeff W.

    Was this a one-way rental? Specifically was it returned from a different location from where it was picked up. Even if that location is in the same city. That is the only possible explanation I conjure on the surcharge.

    There is often a high surcharge for such rentals — but I have never seen $2K high. It usually occurs when one location is a corporate owned and the other is a franchise. Those transactions are more complicated on the back-end.

    If there was a surcharge, it should have been disclosed at the time of the reservation. (Unless the car was dropped off at a location other than was the reservation specified. But the post does not indicate that this was the case.) So good job in securing the refund.

  • Jeff W.

    I am sure there was worry about the $2k. But that she could put the $2k on the credit card, make her flight, and deal with it when she got home.

    True panic would have certainly hit once the CC had to be paid.

  • Ben

    I guess I’m missing the part where this is a “dropoff charge” and not just the cost of the rental erroneously charged despite the consumer’s prepayment.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Did half the article get lost or something? I see no explanation as to what exactly he was charged for. The headline is the only place where the dropoff line is used so I’m guessing maybe he didn’t return the car to the same location as where he rented it? Not at all clear what happened.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Yeah, he says he didn’t think it was a good time for a discussion but when somebody is overcharging you by $2 grand you make the time right then.

  • Dutchess

    I want to know in what universe someone rents a car that tallies up to $1400??


    Depends on the length of the rental. We rented in Australia for a little over 2 weeks. The bill was high.

  • Bill___A

    Houston. In April.

  • cscasi

    Those to whom money is never an issue, I suppose. :-) Unfortunately I am not anywhere near in that category.

  • cscasi

    Also depends on whether or not you are being charged for the number of miles drive; (not unlimited miles) which can prove to be quite expensive if one drives hundreds of miles or more. Also, did he get insurance through the rental agency? Just a thought.

  • Other things add to the cost. Insurance, etc. Typically when I’m overseas, I get insurance. Has paid off for me.

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