Hertz demands an additional $658 one year after rental. Can it do that?

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By Christopher Elliott

Almost a year after another driver rear-ends his Hertz rental, Michael Edgar receives a demand for an additional $658. How can he get the company to drop the bill?

Question

I rented a car from Hertz more than a year ago. Another motorist rear-ended my rental. I was slightly hurt, and the rental sustained minor damage to the bumper.  

I followed all the rules during the claims process. The other driver’s insurance paid a $2,000 claim to Hertz. A Hertz representative told me the claim was closed. 

I got a call almost 10 months after the accident from Hertz telling me I still owe them $658 for loss of use, underpayment by the other driver’s insurance and a processing fee. Hertz claims it called me “many times.” But it was the first time I had heard from the company.

I can’t file another claim with my insurance because I’m past the 60-day limit. I thought it was a scam because it was so long after the accident, it just didn’t seem realistic. Hertz has now sent my case to collections.  

What can I do?  I’ve sent emails to customer relations, and I used your reference guide to email corporate members of Hertz. But I keep getting the runaround. Hertz now refuses to speak to me, only referring me to the outside collection agency. I would appreciate any assistance in this matter. — Michael Edgar, Vancouver, Wash.

Answer

Hertz should have closed your claim when it said it did. The fees it’s charging for loss of use and processing are controversial. Some might even call them junk fees. Loss of use covers the hypothetical revenue the car rental company would get if the vehicle wasn’t in the repair shop. Many insurance adjusters won’t cover this fee. Chances are, the other driver’s insurance wouldn’t cover it — leaving you with the bill. (Related: Should I have to pay for my car rental to be towed?)

The administrative fee is also problematic. It’s essentially asking you to cover the car rental company’s other costs associated with repairing the vehicle, such as employee salaries and other overhead expenses. Again, I’m betting her insurance refused to pay this junk fee. (Related: How can you be sure I damaged my rental car?)

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If an employee tells you that you’re good to go, you should be good to go. But it’s best to get this decision in writing. That’s particularly true when you’re dealing with a car rental damage claim.  (Here’s what you need to know before renting your next car.)

I see you tried to use the executive contacts for Hertz on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. Someone should have responded quickly and fixed this for you.

My advocacy team and I contacted Hertz on your behalf. It dropped the claim against you.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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