Question: For nearly a month now, I’ve been fighting to recover more than $280 from Hertz in connection with a reservation for a Mexican rental I made through Hotwire.
I reserved a Hertz car for a week in Mexico for an estimated $113 — a flat $90 for the rental of the car, and an estimated $23 in taxes and fees. I did not pay Hotwire at the time of the reservation and understood that I would pay Hertz directly when I rented the car.
At the Hertz desk in Mexico, I was presented with an entirely different set of charges. There, I heard for the first time about the mandatory Mexican liability insurance. I did not have the option of declining the insurance, which amounted to approximately $110 for the week.
But that wasn’t the only surprising charge. The price of the car had mysteriously risen to around $108, and I was assessed a “service charge” of approximately $135. No one at Hertz or Hotwire has yet been able to tell me what that’s about. Together with two smaller fees of about $44, my total bill came to $397.
The day after I returned from Mexico, I contacted both Hotwire and Hertz. Although their stories have varied slightly over the weeks, each company tells me that I should go talk to the other. Hotwire says it has no control over what Hertz bills me, and Hertz says it has no control over what Hotwire quotes me.
Given the enormous discrepancy in price and the hours I’ve spent trying to get this matter resolved, I am seeking a refund of the full $283 difference between the $113 reservation price and $397 charge. Hertz has my money, but Hotwire made the representations that led me to the Hertz desk in Mexico. Can you help me get my refund? — Brian Perez-Daple, Arlington, Va.
Answer: You should have been charged the rate you were quoted. When you weren’t, Hotwire should have asked Hertz to refund the money on your behalf.