Vouchers and car dropoff rules differ

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ITN was mailed a copy of the following letter sent by a reader to U.S. and U.K. offices of the Hertz Corporation.

I rented a car at the Manchester, U.K., airport on Aug 25, 2004. I had called the previous day with rental inquiries and then called again the day of the rental to be sure my information was correct.

When I called both times, I specifically asked them several times if we could drop off the car early and maybe at a location other than London’s Heathrow Airport where we had planned to drop it. I asked if we could do this without a charge and if I could get credit for the days not used. We were assured by Hertz that this was the case and so I rented the car.

When we were ready to drop off the car, after four days rather than seven, I again called and was told it was okay to do so. They suggested I call the Manchester pickup point to tell them of the change. When we did this, they were not open, so I called the main number again and they said for us to tell (them) the branch where we were dropping the car off at and that that would be fine. So we did, returning the car to Birmingham airport, U.K., before noon on Aug. 29.

Since we felt we did everything possible that Hertz told us to do, we were surprised to never receive the credit but instead to receive a bill for the whole amount of $301.48 (£163), which is what we would have paid had we kept the car seven days and turned it in at Heathrow on Sept. 1.

I was told at the airport when I dropped off the car that the credit had to come from the corporate office and that it would be mailed to me, but no credit has shown up, nor any check.

I called Hertz here in the USA and they said they would write customer relations and that I could too, if I wanted, so I have written this letter and would like my credit card to be credited for the three days our rental car was not used. I am not sure of the amount, but I was told I would not be charged extra for dropoff, etc. We did fill the gas tank before dropping off the car.

Thanking you in advance,

ROBERT & MARILYN
CHANDLER, Chesterfield, MO

In the answer the Chandlers originally received from Hertz Europe Service Centre, Ltd. (U.K. Customer Services Department, Swords Business Park, Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland), they were told that the company was “unable to refund any unused days which have been paid for with a prepaid voucher. . . once the rental commences, unless in exceptional circumstances such as illness or death.” The Chandlers told ITN, “Our credit card company denied our protest because we did not have a credit slip — when Hertz would not give us one and said their corporate office would take care of it.”

ITN sent another copy of the Chandlers’ letter to Hertz Europe Service Centre in Ireland and received the following reply.

Thank you for forwarding us the letter from Ms. Chandler regarding her recent car rental experience in the U.K. We have investigated the Chandlers’ complaint and are pleased to advise that we have refunded the Chandlers the three unused days on their rental. A letter has been sent to Ms. Chandler advising her of our decision.

While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the miscommunication between Hertz and the Chandlers took place, we decided to honor the original conversation Ms. Chandler had with our representatives.

I would, however, venture to say that most Americans book their European rentals with Hertz’ Affordable Europe product, which allows for refunds on unused portions of prepaid vouchers (minimum 3-day rental). As the Chandlers made their reservation in England, they were booked under a product called World on Wheels, primarily a product for European residents. Unfortunately, this product does not allow for refunds on unused portions of prepaid vouchers.

For other U.S.-based readers heading to Europe whose plans are not 100% confirmed, I would suggest they book Hertz’ Affordable Europe prepaid product for maximum flexibility and to ensure that, should plans change, they receive a refund on any unused portion of their prepaid reservation.

Please do let us know if you have any additional questions.

PAULA R. STIFTER, Manager, Public Affairs, The Hertz Corporation, 225 Brae Blvd., Park Ridge, NJ 07656

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

ITN was mailed a copy of the following letter sent by a reader to U.S. and U.K. offices of the Hertz Corporation.

I rented a car at the Manchester, U.K., airport on Aug 25, 2004. I had called the previous day with rental inquiries and then called again the day of the rental to be sure my information was correct.

When I called both times, I specifically asked them several times if we could drop off the car early and maybe at a location other than London’s Heathrow Airport where we had planned to drop it. I asked if we could do this without a charge and if I could get credit for the days not used. We were assured by Hertz that this was the case and so I rented the car.

When we were ready to drop off the car, after four days rather than seven, I again called and was told it was okay to do so. They suggested I call the Manchester pickup point to tell them of the change. When we did this, they were not open, so I called the main number again and they said for us to tell (them) the branch where we were dropping the car off at and that that would be fine. So we did, returning the car to Birmingham airport, U.K., before noon on Aug. 29.

Since we felt we did everything possible that Hertz told us to do, we were surprised to never receive the credit but instead to receive a bill for the whole amount of $301.48 (£163), which is what we would have paid had we kept the car seven days and turned it in at Heathrow on Sept. 1.

I was told at the airport when I dropped off the car that the credit had to come from the corporate office and that it would be mailed to me, but no credit has shown up, nor any check.

I called Hertz here in the USA and they said they would write customer relations and that I could too, if I wanted, so I have written this letter and would like my credit card to be credited for the three days our rental car was not used. I am not sure of the amount, but I was told I would not be charged extra for dropoff, etc. We did fill the gas tank before dropping off the car.

Thanking you in advance,

ROBERT & MARILYN
CHANDLER, Chesterfield, MO

In the answer the Chandlers originally received from Hertz Europe Service Centre, Ltd. (U.K. Customer Services Department, Swords Business Park, Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland), they were told that the company was “unable to refund any unused days which have been paid for with a prepaid voucher. . . once the rental commences, unless in exceptional circumstances such as illness or death.” The Chandlers told ITN, “Our credit card company denied our protest because we did not have a credit slip — when Hertz would not give us one and said their corporate office would take care of it.”

ITN sent another copy of the Chandlers’ letter to Hertz Europe Service Centre in Ireland and received the following reply.

Thank you for forwarding us the letter from Ms. Chandler regarding her recent car rental experience in the U.K. We have investigated the Chandlers’ complaint and are pleased to advise that we have refunded the Chandlers the three unused days on their rental. A letter has been sent to Ms. Chandler advising her of our decision.

While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the miscommunication between Hertz and the Chandlers took place, we decided to honor the original conversation Ms. Chandler had with our representatives.

I would, however, venture to say that most Americans book their European rentals with Hertz’ Affordable Europe product, which allows for refunds on unused portions of prepaid vouchers (minimum 3-day rental). As the Chandlers made their reservation in England, they were booked under a product called World on Wheels, primarily a product for European residents. Unfortunately, this product does not allow for refunds on unused portions of prepaid vouchers.

For other U.S.-based readers heading to Europe whose plans are not 100% confirmed, I would suggest they book Hertz’ Affordable Europe prepaid product for maximum flexibility and to ensure that, should plans change, they receive a refund on any unused portion of their prepaid reservation.

Please do let us know if you have any additional questions.

PAULA R. STIFTER, Manager, Public Affairs, The Hertz Corporation, 225 Brae Blvd., Park Ridge, NJ 07656