Hertz Isn’t Helping Its PR Nightmare With Issues Like This

by joeheg

Hertz has been on a rollercoaster ride over the last 2 years. In May 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy due to the pandemic and travel shutdown. A combination of factors turned things around and less than a year later the company exited bankruptcy with less debt, new funding and a new line of credit.

However, Hertz has one major problem to deal with. It’s suffering through a slowly progressing public relations disaster that will leave a mark on the brand for years to come. Even worse for the company is that they’re not doing much to solve the problem.

Perception is reality. Even if a rumor isn’t true, if it’s allowed to persist long enough then people will believe it. When there’s proof of the problem, it makes things worse.

I’m referring to multiple stories about Hertz customers being arrested and placed in jail because Hertz reported them for not returning a rental car when they did return the car. There’s also the story about Hertz repossessing a car in the middle of a rental.

It’s gotten to the point that whenever we mention Hertz, there’s going to be some comment referring to the problem like “Renting from Hertz? Hope you don’t get arrested.” It’s sunk into the collective psyche to the point where I’ve changed my actions because of it.

Because I had gotten a really sweet deal that was $100 less that Autoslash’s price, our most recent two rentals, when we were in Hawaii, were from Hertz. When I returned the first car (we were about to island hop from Kauai to Oahu), I made sure to have the agent check the car in, instead of just leaving it with the keys. We took a picture of the car in the lot with a timestamp. Even though I did all of this, I still was nervous when I didn’t receive an email receipt.

I took to Twitter and wanted to confirm the car was marked as returned.

Several hours later I did receive the email receipt. Sure, it’s possible they would have sent it without my Twitter request. But other car rental companies manage to send electronic receipts immediately, not hours later. Besides that, it’s pretty telling that I felt the need to message Hertz in the first place, because I wanted to make sure the car was marked as returned and the cops weren’t going to come knocking with an arrest warrant. That kind of reputation isn’t a good look for any company.

Hertz needs to prevent more stories about false arrests. If I were them, before overhauling how they keep track of their cars, I’d check multiple times in multiple places before filing stolen car reports. Every additional story will make it harder for them to shake off the bad PR.

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Ed March 9, 2022 - 12:20 pm

LOL, when I returned my car in HNL last month I made them print me a paper receipt, even though the mobile printer was not working. The agent totally got it and we walked to the gold booth to get it. — We both didn’t want to deal with the questionable IT infrastructure of this cluster**** of an organization.

khatl March 9, 2022 - 12:29 pm

Almost as good as my recent rental in Paris where they charged me hundreds of Euro’s claiming that I’d driven 4,399km in a rental period that, by their own rental receipt, was timed at a total of 21 hours.

Lisa Rasmussen March 9, 2022 - 10:39 pm

You people dumb enough to rent from them… guess you deserve it.

David March 10, 2022 - 12:27 am

I work as a detective and assigned to a major airport in California. I can say first hand that ALL car rental companies have very poor tracking systems and often have no idea if a car is stolen, overdue or sitting in their lot somewhere… at least at our airport we make numerous attempts to contact the renter before entering a vehicle as stolen. This includes calls to the phone on file at the time of rental, emails to the address on file and even sending a car out to the renter’s address. We do all this BEFORE listing a car as stolen and (at least in California) most airport law enforcement also does that.

So, I suspect there may be more to the stories people are hearing about Hertz… I used to deal with all the car companies and I don’t find Hertz to be any better or worse than the others.

Just my .02 cents

Corbett March 10, 2022 - 11:39 am

While National never tried to arrest me for failing to return a vehicle I actually returned, I had an experience which led me to change my behavior in line with your decision to insist on a receipt on the spot. The National facility at MCO is among the busiest in the country, rivaling LAX’s at peak times. Even before the pandemic, though, the joint ownership of Alamo, Enterprise and National tried to cut costs by sending home nearly their entire on-site staff for returned vehicles between 11PM and 5AM. Because I live nearby, I returned my vehicle at about 11:15PM on a weeknight and was told by the one remaining employee that she would confirm that I had left the keys and the day shift would note the fuel and odometer in a few hours. As soon as that happened, I would receive my email receipt. NEVER AGAIN! The day shift recorded the barest of bare minimum of information so that the vehicle could be cleaned and rented again ASAP. I never received a receipt. I had central customer service contact the local office 3 times requesting the receipt AND NOTHING. Finally, because the rental in question had been for a business trip and I had to submit my expense report, I escalated matters. Left with no choice, upon returning from a different trip by air, I went to the check-out counter and explained the problem. The manager fixed the problem and, sure enough, TWO MONTHS LATER, the people in the back office of the MCO facility sent me a receipt. The moral of the story? If the agent accepting the return can’t complete the return process 100% in the moment, go see the person who can. Luckily, at MCO, the outdoor Alamo booth, just a short walk from the National returns area, is always staffed. I have used that approach multiple times since, even during the pandemic.

JohnC March 10, 2022 - 3:34 pm

National does not send out receipts right away also now. That is becoming the norm. I always take a picture of the car now at the rental drop off.

JorgeGeorge Paez March 11, 2022 - 12:23 am

Well Detective David, good for you! Buy it seems too many other cops in other jurisdictions are not being so proactive. Thanks for being so diligent! Why law enforcement believes anything Hertz says now is beyond me…..


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