Compensation Clinic: Hertz Doesn’t Have Reserved Car

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Compensation Clinic pays a visit to a car rental company for the first time, although most travelers have had negative experiences with them (myself included).

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A LoyaltyLobby reader had reserved a Corvette using points and, when he arrived to the Hertz location at the Miami international airport, they didn’t have one.

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Now, you may say that car rental reservations are never confirmed to an exact model, but rather a group of vehicles. Hertz’ website, however, disagrees. You can make a reservation for this exact model.

Here’s the link to Hertz Adrenaline Collection (access here) and  to Hertz Prestige Collection (access here).

Here’s what the LoyaltyLobby reader wrote to me:

Hertz offers a number of premium vehicles in their Adrenaline and Prestige collections and you can reserve a specific model.  When making a reservation the website states “Reserve this exact model”.  However there is no guarantee to back up the reservation and if the model you reserve is not available Hertz will try to substitute with another vehicle in the same collection without offering any compensation even if it’s a downgrade.  It’s not uncommon for an automobile enthusiast to plan a vacation completely around reserving a specific model which is their dream car.  For example if someone reserves a Mercedes E350 convertible and it is not available when you arrive Hertz may try to offer a Lincoln Navigator SUV as a replacement which is another vehicle in the same prestige collection.

I had a reservation for a Chevrolet Corvette at Miami airport booked months in advance and when I arrived they were unable to honor my reservation as they didn’t have this specific model available.  I was offered another vehicle in the adrenaline collection or a convertible instead.

The reader had tried to solve this issue with Hertz for quite a while, but nothing was happening. I suggested that he opens a complaint with the Attorney General’s office of the state Hertz is incorporated in or he lives at.

Here’s the complaint that he opened with the Attorney General:

I am writing regarding my one week Hertz rental at Miami airport.  I have attempted to contact Hertz several times over the past 30 days to discuss this matter via their website, fax and twitter and have not received any response.

I had a reservation for one week in a Chevrolet Corvette which is reservable by the exact model and Hertz was unable to honor my reservation which was booked and paid for several months in advance using Hertz points.  When I arrived at the airport I was informed they didn’t have a Corvette for my reservation and not only that they mentioned that they haven’t seen one in quite sometime.  The website explicitly states “RESERVE THIS EXACT MODEL” beside the Corvette when booking the reservation.  I extremely disappointed that Hertz was not able to honor my reservation.

At the airport when I was informed they couldn’t honor my reservation for the Corvette I was offered another vehicle as a replacement for the Corvette which is significantly smaller than the Corvette and isn’t anywhere close to offering the same driving experience.  On top of that it took well over an hour of waiting by the time they were able to find a replacement vehicle for me.

Three days later I returned to the airport location as the substitute vehicle was simply too small for me, there wasn’t enough room and leg room was limited.  I was hoping to exchange it for another larger convertible such as the Camaro however none were available at the time I was there.  Customer service suggested I call and check back later which I did several times later in the week but was unable to get anyone on the phone.  All in I made a total of 4 more visits to the airport location later in the week in an attempt to exchange into something larger and the customer service desk every time was giving me the run around.  A manager simply wasn’t available to talk to.  I gave up and just kept the substitute vehicle the rest of the week.

This is completely unacceptable that Hertz was unable to honor my “RESERVE THIS EXACT MODEL” reservation for the Corvette and I am asking for a minimum of 8250 Hertz points as compensation so I can book another week in the Corvette to complete this trip as I had originally planned.

The reader didn’t hear anything back from Hertz, but 8,750 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points had been deposited to his account.

Conclusion

I just hate when companies make promises that they cannot keep and then just try to brush you of when you give feedback or seek problem resolution. I am glad that the reader was able to resolve the issue to his satisfaction by sending a love letter via the Attorney General’s office to Hertz. It shouldn’t be this difficult, right?

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