Imagine you're on vacation. You rent a car for your month-long stay in Mexico. You feel pretty comfortable passing on the optional insurance and go along on your merry way. All goes well until one stormy evening. Somewhere in the night you have a blowout. You phone it in and the people at Hertz tell you, "No problem, just bring it back and we'll replace the tire." Done. Report filed, agent tells you no worries again, there won't be any charges.
You finish your vacation and return to the airport to drop off your little blue Chevy. But there's a slight hitch. The manager now insists you fork over an additional $60 for the tire damage. Not wanting to miss your flight, you agree and go on home. You probably see how this is going to end up. Rather than adding $60, which was already more than you felt you should have had to pay, the final charge for the rental shows an additional $499.48. Zoinks!
This very sad tale was recently reported by one unhappy customer identified only as Kathy on the consumer advocate site, Consumerist. When the inflated bill arrived, she contacted the company and Hertz allegedly told her that it is fully in keeping with standard practices of the car rental industry in most countries. Oh really? $500 seems a bit steep for a tire, even in Mexico. And for a manager to say $60 and then charge $500? We don't suspect that is standard operating procedure for any rental agency.
As far as we know the issue hasn't been resolved, but suggestions have been made to contact her credit card company and possibly approach the problem as fraud, because the employees had said no charge, then $60 before charging an unauthorized $499.48. Perhaps this serves as a warning to carefully consider rental insurance options, especially while abroad, or maybe just to steer clear of Hertz and its impressively expensive tires.