Compensation Clinic: Trouble With HERTZ Rent A Car Germany (Strange Upgrades, Damaged Car)


This weeks Compensation Clinic is about a recent rental I had at Hertz Duesseldorf Airport where I reserved an Intermediate Vehicle and was first ‘upgraded’ to a family minivan and later to a damaged Ford Mondeo.

While specific car models are never guaranteed, the respective car class is and to receive an ‘upgrade’ to a family minivan (Ford Galaxy) wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for my 3 day rental.

Somehow Hertz Germany has issues and I had a couple run ins with them over the years including one lovely Christmas Eve where the Frankfurt Airport station closed at 7pm with no key deposited after my 30 min delayed Thai Airways arrival was great stuff.

But this issue is more universal. When a customer reserves a certain car class then he usually expects at least the same car type.

Here is what it looks like for intermediate cars (Class E):

It is clear that the customer reserved a limousine car and not a minivan. Yet the Carfirmation email that Hertz Gold Rewards members receive if they sign up already showed the bad news after landing: Ford Galaxy.

Once again instead of proceeding directly to the car I had to waste 35 minutes at the counter to find an alternate car which after lots of arguments about what a Presidents Circle upgrade is supposed to be ended up being a Ford Mondeo.

The parkade is quite a hike away from the rental counters in Duesseldorf and while I liked the Ford Mondeo in the Sport version I realized a damage in the windshield right in front of the drivers seat. I was given this car and it was even emphasized to me it was without any damages. So who checks these cars before handing them over to the customer or was this on purpose because they couldn’t tag it onto the previous renter?

There was no other suitable car available that evening. I left a note for the station manager to call me back which didn’t happen for two days after I fired off an email to Hertz Gold Service in Germany and a Customer Relations Executive in the US.

The station manager then contacted me but the return of the car was imminent, no point to change anything. In the end the modest rental charges of 91 EUR (~$100) were completely waived.

I reserved this car via Orbitz where I always find very reasonable rates. Much lower than on the rental car providers own website and it allows you to put your customer profile number in as well.


All in all this matter wasted 90 minutes of my time and I finally left the parkade at 12:30am with 200km to drive ahead of me. I consider the outcome a fair solution even though it’s on the low side as far as value is concerned.