2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

My Experience With Customer Service Recovery From Hertz

Was it successful — or did it fall flat from expectations?

Customer service recovery from Hertz was unexpectedly put to the test recently when I rented a black 2022 Honda HR-V from Hertz; and I imparted my general experience in this article here at The Gate — but the rest of the details of my experience were not revealed, as the outcome of an issue as a result of renting that car was still pending.

My Experience With Customer Service Recovery From Hertz

2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

“As I have said since joining Hertz earlier this year, my intention is to lead a company that puts the customer first. In resolving these claims, we are holding ourselves to that objective,” Stephen Scherr — who is the current chief executive officer of Hertz — was quoted in a public statement which was released on Monday, December 5, 2022. “While we will not always be perfect, the professionals at Hertz will continue to work every day to provide best-in-class service to the tens of millions of people we serve each year. Moving forward, it is our intention to reshape the future of our company through electrification, shared mobility and a great digital-first customer experience.”

Is that statement true? I was about to find out.

2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Towards the conclusion of a long drive of several hours in the black 2022 Honda HR-V, the Tire Pressures Low indicator appeared on the dashboard. Upon inspection of the wheels of the vehicle, I noticed that the rear tire on the passenger side of the vehicle was low on air — but it was not flat. That tire was filled with air several times; but each time, it seemed to lose air faster.

At one point prior to filling it up with air for the last time, the air pressure in the tire was as low as six pounds per square inch. The tire was not going to last until the end of the rental. I had to do something.

Because I was not located near the facility where I picked up the rental vehicle at that time, I went to the nearest facility of Hertz instead. An employee of that facility informed me that the flat tire could not be fixed at that facility; the tire or wheel itself could not be swapped out for a different tire or wheel; and the vehicle cannot be swapped out for a different vehicle.

Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

In other words, she could do nothing for me.

Printed on the rear of the yellow ticket jacket which contained the rental agreement — as well as on the rental agreement itself — was the telephone number for Emergency Roadside Assistance from Hertz. I called 1-800-654-5060 toll free from the safety of a parking lot in a populated area.

I was holding on the telephone for at least 30 minutes while waiting for someone to answer while the latest theme song from Hertz played in a repetitive loop. Trust me when I say that listening to that song over and over again was more irritating over a telephone than in this video.

Listening to that song repeatedly could be used as a cruel form of torture — woo-oo-oo-ooohhh — but I digress.

When a representative finally answered, she asked if I needed emergency road service. I declined because I was not in any danger; the vehicle itself was not damaged; and nobody was injured.

The representative informed me that I was not covered for the tire because I did not purchase any insurance — the card which I used to pay for the rental offers insurance on rental vehicles — and told me that resolving the issue of the tire would cost me $72.00. She asked if I was able to drive the rental vehicle to a place on my own to get the flat tire issue addressed, to which I replied “yes.”

While I was placed back on hold, she first tried repeatedly calling the location of one tire facility near where I was located; but no one ever answered the telephone. She then contacted a different tire facility and gave me the names of two representatives there; and that the cost of the new tire would be added to my rental car bill.

I slowly and carefully drove the car slightly greater than 3.5 miles to the tire facility that was recommended by the representative of Hertz. The tire was somewhat flat; but thankfully not so flat that I heard or felt Thumpawhumpadump thumpawhumpadump when I experienced a flat tire in a rental car in South Africa.

2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

When I arrived at the tire facility, I was told by an employee that one customer was ahead of me; and that the longest time the wait would take was 2 hours or 2.5 hours — so I decided to occupy my time elsewhere.

Because I had not heard from anyone at the tire facility after three hours, I contacted the facility via telephone.

“I was calling about the status of the tire on my rental vehicle”, I said after informing her who I was and the vehicle in question.

“It has not been worked on yet”, she said. “There are still three customers ahead of you.”

“You told me that there was one customer ahead of me and that the longest the wait would be is 2.5 hours.”

She replied, “It is what it is.”

<Click>

She abruptly hung up.

I returned to the tire facility shortly after that; and thankfully, the vehicle was up on a lift with one wheel missing.

The total time which I had to wait was ultimately greater than four hours.

When the car finally was equipped with the new tire and removed from the lift, I was given a statement by an employee of the tire facility for a total of $152.20, which was more than the total cost of my rental.

I submitted a claim reporting form under the accident report tab on this issue at Hertz.com within 24 hours of the incident, as advised during one of the recordings while I was on hold. A few days have passed since then; but I had never heard from anyone and never received a claim number.

2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Upon returning the vehicle to the rental car facility, I received my bill, which was changed drastically: during the time I was there explaining the situation to the manager, the system charged me greater than $12.00 for an extra hour. My total bill was approximately $200.00 more than the rental was supposed to cost me.

After that extra hour was removed, the bill totaled $316.05, which did not add up to the $281.05 that I thought would be the final bill that included the replacement of the tire. That is at least $35.00 more than I expected to pay. A closer look at the bill by the manager of the facility revealed that I was charged $187.20 for emergency road service, which I never accepted. I could not figure out what exactly added up to the amount of $187.20; but the manager proactively wrote the word credit on the final statement of the rental agreement; told me to contact Hertz customer relations via e-mail message and let them know that I never received emergency road service; and said that if I had any problems or issues to contact her and keep her updated.

I sent an e-mail message to customerrelations@hertz.com and relayed my experience — as well as requested at least a partial refund of what I was charged, as I ultimately lost almost a day of my time because of this issue. I wrote a short paragraph summarizing the experience; and then went into greater detail if they chose to read more than that first paragraph.

The response I received from Hertz was the following:

Dear Brian,

Thank you so much for your recent inquiry. We appreciate the chance to address your concerns.

We apologize for the inconvenience. I understand that you want this concern resolved as soon as possible. We have reviewed your rental charges as well as your rental records, which show that you have used the service of emergency roadside assistance even without purchasing Premium Emergency Roadside Service. As a result, the service you used was charged to your account.

I appreciate the opportunity to look through this and thank you for being our Hertz President Circle Member. We hope to serve you again in the future.

Sincerely,

John E.
Hertz Customer Services

Livid from that response, my reply was as follows:

I absolutely and vehemently disagree with your conclusion.

I brought the vehicle to the tire shop myself. No tow truck was involved. No assistance to the vehicle was provided in person. Nothing was repaired on site. I did not use the service of emergency roadside assistance. All I did was call the Emergency Roadside Assistance telephone number at 1-800-654-5060 to get instructions from Hertz as to what to do next. No one came to the site of where the vehicle was located when I called.

Are you saying that you are charging me for a toll-free telephone call as instructed on your reservation jacket and on the statement of the reservation?

I suggest you review this case more carefully.

I am looking forward to your response.

Regards,

Brian Cohen

When I received the response via e-mail message from Hertz to my response, I expected it to contain bad news; and I was already thinking about what should be my next steps in what could potentially be a long and drawn-out battle. Instead, imagine my surprise and delight when I read the following message from Hertz:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We apologize for the difficulty this causes you and very much regret your inconvenience. We have received a response from the location confirming the refund for the emergency roadside service charge. We are pleased to inform you that a refund in the amount of $187.20 has already been processed. Once approved, it will take 7–10 business days for the refund to appear in your account. but may not appear on the next monthly statement due to billing cut-off dates.

Thank you for being one of our president’s circle members. We hope to serve you again in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Jayford E.
Hertz Customer Services

As far as I was concerned, the case was closed at that point. I was satisfied — especially as rental car companies are not required to cover tires, as they are considered items of normal wear and tear during the course of operation on the vehicle.

I am currently awaiting the credit to appear on my credit card statement.

Final Boarding Call

2022 Honda HR-V Hertz
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Hertz Global Holdings, Incorporated has been in the news in recent months pertaining to the faulty reporting of thefts of its vehicles by customers — which had led to the arrests of many of those customers by law enforcement officers — and as a result, an aggregate amount of approximately $168 million will be paid towards the settlement of 364 pending claims which are related to vehicle theft reporting.

Offering proper service when everything goes according to plan is generally easy to accomplish — such as my vehicle rental experiences with Procar in Iceland and Green Motion in Morocco, as both rental experiences went smoothly and were uneventful. The true test of a company is how they handle customer service recovery when things go wrong or awry, which I thankfully did not experience with either Procar or Green Motion. Some companies fail miserably — such as my inexcusable experience with way.com as one of many examples.

Although I was not expecting to be arrested, I was unsure as to the quality of customer service recovery which I would receive. In this specific case, the process could have clearly been improved in several ways to save time and money while simultaneously offering more peace of mind — but the outcome was favorable overall; and I appreciated that. Maybe Hertz truly is slowly but surely providing better customer service recovery.

Keep in mind that because they are considered items which wear and tear under normal conditions, tires are rarely covered under insurance policies and are very difficult to recover financially when they fail. I was quite fortunate in this particular situation.

To conclude this article appropriately, Joni Mitchell wrote and sang a song called You Dream Flat Tires, which is from the 1982 album Wild Things Run Fast — listen carefully and you will hear Lionel Richie bounce back easy but not break his legs — with the exception that I do not dream flat tires…

…I apparently live them.

All photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.


Please note that I receive compensation for affiliate links posted at The Gate effective as of Sunday, January 1, 2017. You are not required to use these affiliate links; but if you do use them, your support of The Gate is greatly appreciated — and using affiliate links will not cost you any extra time or money.
  1. Your experience underscores why I have only used Hertz once. Fortunately you are detailed oriented. You maintain detailed records of your transactions with entities you interact with.

    Primarily, I never use Hetz because there rates are high. I rented a vehicle once at BWI. The agent, during the initial phase, told me she could “give” me a better model/class than the class I had reserve. I acquiesced.

    At the end of the rental period I was charged for an upgrade. I refused to accept the upgrade fee. I had the vehicle for 5 days. The difference was over $100. I vehemently protested to the manager that the language used was not consistent with my experiences with other agencies. All other agencies, without exception,used the term “upgrade”. He tried to maintain that an agency (Enterprise) he had previously worked for always used the Hertz format. I didn’t accept that explanation. Eventually he credited my account $75 from the original $100 overcharge.

    1. Unfortunately, Firstlast, some agents of rental car companies will do just about anything to upcharge customers because they earn commission — whether they sell insurance, GPS navigation systems, toll transponders, child safety seats…

      …and yes, upgrades.

      As you found out, they will carefully use words that may imply that they are doing you a favor — when they are really doing themselves a favor.

      Had I been offered a better class of vehicle, the first words out of my mouth would have been “How much extra will this cost me?” If they reply “No extra charge”, I would immediately ask for that in writing.

      Always document interactions when dealing with companies — especially rental car companies.

      That you at least had $75.00 of that overcharge of $100.00 returned to you is good news.

      I had my own negative encounter with Enterprise years ago — and I never rented from them ever again as a result: https://thegatewithbriancohen.com/careful-returning-rental-cars-hours/

  2. When a tire loses air, most of the time, it’s from a screw or nail. Rarely, it’s from a bent rim.

    If I knew the car rental company would not be helpful, I wouldn’t go through them for a tire repair at my cost. Instead, I’d consider

    1. can of fix-a-flat
    2. seeing if the screw can be removed and plugged. Free at Discount Tire and Les Schwab
    3. maybe seeing if I could put a plug in myself, buying it from an auto parts store

    If the location of the screw or nail means it can’t be repaired, maybe buying a cheap tire is the answer, even if it’s a different brand. Would they even notice it? Or even a used tire, though used tires are not much cheaper.

  3. At least they didn’t have you arrested, this time, for being late. Not a great situation for Hertz. You had bad service from Hertz and bad service from the tire shop as well. What always irritates me with responses like the one you got is that it will take them 7 to 10 days to refund you. Why? It’s 2022, nearly 2023. Even if they have to manually call someone to mail you a check it seems extreme. They should have comped you the whole rental in my opinion.

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