I Guess We Don’t Try Harder – Hertz’ Downhill Spiral

(spoiler alert – this has nothing to do with my status or with the cancer Multiple Myeloma – this is simply me venting about customer service gone bad!)

I think I may need to, “Try Harder” with a different car rental company.  I’ve been a Hertz Gold Member for many years.  Unlike other services, such as Dollar (now part of Hertz), Hertz’ service was impeccable, the cars were clean,  they were current make/model and were fully functional.  Over the past year and a half this has slid downhill, and I only wish I could say this was happening slowly.  The problem with the picture I’m portraying is that it’s only true in a very small section of the world, from a land-mass perspective.  This doesn’t happen in Wichita or Indianapolis or Dallas.  The issue I’m facing only occurs in New York City – yes, the Big Apple.  I guess rent had gotten too expensive and with the coming of ZipCar, Hertz was feeling the pressure and started closing their rental locations in the city.

Hertz launched “Hertz On Demand”, now known as Hertz 24/7 a few years ago.  This was Hertz’ competition for ZipCar.  I first signed up for Hertz On Demand but then didn’t use the service for well over a year.  My kids were young and my need for a quick jaunt to anywhere was limited.  When I needed a car it was for a long weekend or a drive to the Outer Banks. 

As my kids have gotten older, the need for a car to get up to Pelham for a rugby game or the Bronx for a basketball game has become more prevalent.   As I started using Hertz 24/7 (as it was now called), it was convenient and if I got the Fiat 500 it was cheaper than taking a taxi one-way.  This was great.  I even put up with the odd change of pickup locations that would occur approximately 30 minutes prior to pick up due to car availability.  I get it, the service is ‘fluid’ and you go where the car is available.

But then I got this car…

 The picture doesn’t need a thousand words.  This was just downright disgusting.

 But they left us a cigarette lighter.  I didn’t check to see if it worked.  I wasn’t going to touch anything in this car.

 This is where the kids had to sit…and look what they found.

I used the Hertz 24/7 Immediate Assistance button.  I explained the situation but I couldn’t get another car, we needed to get to a basketball game.  You know what Hertz gave me?  $25.00 off my rental.

I’ve had rentals where the driver’s seat would only stay reclined fully.  Where the parts of the fender have broken off.  Where the gas card was missing.  All of this I expect from Dollar, but not from Hertz.   And PlatePass is another topic.  When you rent, PlatePass in the car is key in this small land mass known as New York City.  The Lincoln, The Holland, The Midtown tunnels, the RFK (Triboro) Bridge – not only are you paying a ton to get in, you will wait in line forever if you don’t have EzPass. 

My last rental we drove to Baltimore – and it was this rental that brought on my rant.  Here in Manhattan they’ve been shutting down the Hertz locations in the city.  40th East Side closed a few weeks prior to the pictures above being taken.  12th Street and University is no longer listed on their on-line booking site.  To rent from a physical person you need to go to JFK, LGA or EWR.  You can go to a parking lot and talk to a virtual attendant but the parking attendant has to get you the car.  And to prep for your arrival, they print your contract and put it, with the keys, in your car.  Of course the parking lot attendant didn’t know that.  So here’s what happened for my rental to Baltimore…
1) lot attendant had no idea of my rental or any agreement
2) by the time i used the kiosk with the virtual attendant they found the car
3) they couldn’t find the keys to the car parked in front
4) 30 minutes later, after profuse apologies from the agent who happened to be there, I left with my car.
5) arriving at my first toll booth I realized that there is no PlatePass – Jersey Tolls, Delaware Tolls, Maryland Tolls – need I say more?

Returning the car the next day, albeit late, I waited for the lot attendant who told me all is fine and I don’t need to do anything else.  The next few days I still hadn’t received an invoice and Hertz was hitting my Amex for $100.00 each day.   Finally I got an email with my invoice, at the price I expected. 

What I received today however put me over the edge,
“The vehicle that you recently rented from a Hertz Company (Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, or Firefly Car Rental) was scheduled to be returned to: (location, etc. with) Date Due: 7/13/2014.

This vehicle is now seriously overdue.
Please do not ignore this letter.

Pursuant to the Terms and Conditions of the Rental Agreement, we hereby demand that our vehicle be immediately returned…..Failure to return our vehicle as instructed may result in the vehicle being reported stolen….Your immediate attention is necessary to prevent the potential revocation of future rental privileges and/or legal action to recover our vehicle.”

This letter put me over the edge.  For that reason I’ve decided to use my blog as a forum and I apologize to those that are here to find out about my disease and how I’m doing.  However, it’s my blog and I can write what I want.  If you too have had an issue like this with Hertz, please re-post, re-tweet pass it around. 

Perhaps we can find out if “Hertz Will Try Harder!”