Hertz Australia: Well Worth Avoiding

May 13, 2010 — 71 Comments

Thinking of hiring a car with Hertz Australia?

Think wisely before doing so, because if you’re not careful you’ll end up with a $416 bill for repairs for the car you hired just as I have received in the post today.

Here’s the quick Hertz Australia car hire story. Back in April I spent two nights in Canberra. The Hertz Australia car was picked up from CBR airport in an outdoor car park with poor lighting, so a full and proper inspection of the car wasn’t possible. The next morning I noted the odd scratch and mark, but nothing I considered reporting; I don’t think I’ve ever had a spotless car except the time I hired a car with Thrifty which had all of 125kms on the clock.

Fast forward, and today I’ve received a bill from Hertz Australia for car damage to a front guard. I’m not even sure what part of the car a front guard is (bumper bar??.) Even better, the car was sent for assessment…wait for it…nearly a clear week after I allegedly damaged it. I’d find it difficult to believe that a car hire place would have sat a car around waiting for an assessment for a week without hiring it out again.

What’s more, the car was handed to a Hertz Australia employee at drop off, who I recall doing a (be it perhaps brief) visual check of the car. Nothing was mentioned at drop off, but apparently a week later the car is damaged and required paint, for what I presume is a $416 scratch.

I’ve hired cars on and off over the years in Australia and the United States; I’m by no means a frequent hirer of cars, but probably more regular than many people. In all that time I’ve never ONCE had a claim made against me for damage. Not once.

But here’s the big difference with Hertz Australia: other car rental places are very strict on inspections at pickup and drop off. Hertz Australia on the other hand, at least in Canberra, seem to take it all a bit too casually. My mistake was not putting that car in bright light before I drove it out of the airport. Next time I’ll have a camera and flashlight in hand and I won’t be leaving a carpark again until I’ve RETURNED the inspection report indicating every tinny little scratch.

I have no idea whether I have any right to appeal with Hertz Australia, and the letter delivered simply said that I’d done it and had been charged. I paid for extra insurance, can’t remember what the excess was, but that apparently counted for fuck all as well.

Moral is: I’ll never be hiring a car with Hertz Australia again, and I’d warn others to think twice given my experiences here.

71 responses to Hertz Australia: Well Worth Avoiding

  1. I've never had any luck with Hertz, though to be honest I've been happy with Europcar and rarely bother with price comparisons anymore. Recently we hired a Mitsubishi Challenger for 9 days in WA and they were $300 cheaper than Avis for the equivalent.

    Great PR for Hertz right here, wonder if they've got their $416 worth yet.

  2. Amazing, you're already number 4 on google for the search “Hertz Australia Twitter” !

  3. You're clearly just blogging about this in an attempt to get publicity and get out of a bill that you've rightly racked up.

    Just man up, mate.

  4. The Portuguese Inquisition May 13, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Personally not had any problems with Hertz, they were quite good to me when I had to rent a car following an accident.

    However: jumping out of the plane because you didn't report any scratches and then were picked up? Are you surprised?

    I'm sorry, it's an awful thing to have happen, but if they don't do a good check before renting…and you don't do a good check before renting…what safety net do you have from there?

  5. As someone who permanently has a rental car these days… for work I check one in and check one out every 30 days… I just go around the car quickly with the iPhone video camera looking for anything. Most of the time they don't give a crap but sometimes you get someone who is just having a bad day. As far as Hertz goes, this is a illegitimate claim on their part since it was not made and identified on first return. At least in the US, but I think this is the same from memory in Australia, they have until they next drive it (which is as soon as they move it to the car wash), let alone re-hire it out, to identify and report any damage. This is so their employees can't blame it on the customer if they have a bingle to save their own arses. This should be in the small print in the rental agreement paperwork. I will add that I've never had a really good experience with Hertz in Oz or in the US. In the US, Alamo is by far the best.

  6. Mary Mercieca May 17, 2010 at 5:59 am

    In reference to your account of your rental with Hertz Australia, Hertz have noted your comments and investigated the issues raised with the Location concerned.

    We understand your concerns and a representative will be in contact with you shortly.

  7. Well, it looks like you got the attention of Hertz anyway. Well played, sir.

  8. I too have just received a letter stating the same thing for hail damage from a hire on the 16th of March. The car was in a garage at the time of the hail storm so impossible for hail damage to occur. The estimate for damage was done on the 4th of May for $880.00 and we were billed $1674.00. This was 2 months after we returned the car and the money was taken from our credit card. There was no inspection done when we returned the car at the Perth airport. Needless to say I am taking this further as well.

  9. My cousin recommended this website, seems very interesting contents.

  10. My cousin recommended this website, seems very interesting contents.

  11. A friend recommended about this page because I was going to hire a car at Hertz Australia. I think I am going to change my mind. Thanks a lot.

  12. Thanks for your information and i was going to buy one of them and you saved me

  13. I received a letter today 7th June. Letter was dated 26th June for a hire car through Hertz in March 2010. The car was hired 21st to 29th March. I was charged on 11th May and the inspection was carried out on 24th April. My charge was the excess of $770 plus taxes for $2500 of supposed Hail damage. Nothing was said at the time of returning the vehicle and we could find no damage. I am going to request before and after photo's of the repairs.

  14. I never even got a letter…and yes 2 months after hiring I check my bank account and Hertz have taken $917 from my account!! Dont even know what its for?? did you take this futher??

  15. Hey Duncan, This is poor form. We often have to go into bat for car rental customers as this type of thing is unfortunately not infrequent. We'll take it up with our contacts and make sure they reply. We're @carrentalau. Chris from http://www.carrental.com.au

  16. Hi Duncan, Sorry to hear this. We're a car rental comparison site that works with all the big operators incl Hertz so we happily represent our customers and non-customers in these types of matters. We'll reach out to our contacts and make sure you get a resolution. our intent here is really just to get renters a fair deal and some transparency, all too often this kind of thing still happens. If anyone else has similar stories DM me or contact us.

  17. Hey Emily, how did you go with this? We operate carrental.com.au so deal with hertz daily and can get a response pretty quick. Let me know how you went

  18. Was there any resolution with this through carrentals.com.au? I have had a similar damages claim made by HERTZ for a single 3mm stone chip to leading front edge of the bonnet on one of the Lexus IS250 in the prestige class. They claim that it is not covered under fair wear & tear as stated in there vehicle condition report because it was one of there prestige class cars. They treat these cars ( Lexus IS250, merc C200) differently although it is not stated in the contract. LIST any damage at all to these when renting one no matter how small, even if the staff member says that it is covered under fair wear and tear. HERTZ fair wear and tear clause does not contain reference to stone chip sizes which leaves you liable for this type of damage. Be aware of this when renting the prestige class cars from HERTZ; or use AVIS instead, their vehicle condition report clause for fair wear & tear has better detail, sizes and even a ruler to measure the small scratches, chips and dents.

  19. This is the second time in less than 3 months I have had problems with Hertz Australia (and have only used them twice); AAMI arranged a rental car for me which I picked up on 29 June 2010 and returned today at 10:30 after 14 day rental and less than 350 km travelled.

    I was advised there was a scratch on the rear bumper and I was responsible for it. When I picked up the car the scratch was there and listed on the Vehicle Condition Report under “10mm” in length (which is their set measurement). Stupid me thought OK it is listed all is well and drove off; (should have learned from the last time when they told me I had replaced one of their hub-caps now all 4 hub-caps were in the same condition and looked the same to me, all said Nissan, I guess I carried a spare around in my handbag. They did let that go after saying maybe NRMA did it when they fixed the flat tyres).

    Now this is not a new scratch, you can see it has been there a while. But of course they are saying this is not the scratch (it is longer than 10mm) they are referring to in the Vehicle Condition Report but could not show me what they were referring to in their report.

    So today they completed a claim against AAMI (and me of course) which on the form I advised I did not agree with the finding. AAMI spoke with the Hertz representative and myself and they fully understand what is happening. The representative advised he would not close the rental until the claim had been processed. Both AAMI and I kept trying to get him to advise if AAMI/I will have to continue to pay the rental, do you know we could not get him to answer “YES or NO”. I did finally get him to complete the return part on the Express Return which says the car was returned on 15/7 at 10:29. He did say they would not be billing my card but he would not close the card/charges either.

    My recommendations is CHECK everything with Hertz, get a ruler and measure, take photos of damages with date stamp, do not take anything for granted I should have remember the old adage “Once bitten twice shy” and not assumed.

    I am in the industry and always had the highest regard for Hertz as they have been our preferred with some of the companies I have worked for. But now “let me think about that”.

  20. i have been renting with hertz for 8 years now and never ever had any troubles with them. I find them the best in Australia after renting with the rest of them.
    Always make sure you check the car out before you take it.
    If you are an AAA member (RACV, NRMA RAA ect…) you get a discounted excess.

  21. Hi Luke, I have had a similar experience as you with one of Hertz prestige cars a Mercedes CLC200. I was a bit casual on my initial inspection of the car yet I did not notice any damage to the vehicle at the start of the rental period from the Brisbane Airport. On return I was running late for my flight and basically dropped the car and ran but had done a inspection from where I left from for the airport and saw no evidence of damages particularly from what was to be deemed as damage I was responsible for later. I know now from other experiences on this blog this is a mistake not to do full and thorough check before and after and document even take photos for support.

    Low and behold, 4 weeks later I had a letter sent to me from Hertz insurance agents Innovation group (Sureplan) stating that damages were incurred during my rental period, they had been repaired and the amount for these repairs billed to my credit card. I was provided a copy of the damage inspection form from the Hertz inspector and copy of the repairs invoice. I could ring with any queries to Sureplan. I rang Sureplan to discuss and argue this damage was not caused by me but thought I had didn't leg to stand on as I had signed the inital damage report with no damage noted and didn't inspect after the rental had finished but knew I hadn't caused the damage to which they were claiming I did. They told me to put my dispute in writing and send it to their claims email address. I then decided to look through all the paperwork I was sent as well as downloading Hertz full terms and conditions for anything I could use to help me. One trigger was after reding the blogs here it noted the discrepency in inspection time to the finish of the rental period. I checked this in my case and noticed that the damage inspection was done 16/7 and I had returned the car 11/7, 5 days after I returned it. I emailed this to sureplan (the discrepency in dates) and got an email saying that that was enough proof that I could not be held responsible for the damages and a full refund would be guaranteed to my credit card in 7-10 working days. This notification of the refund was received today so I am waiting for the refund so crossing fingers there are no other surprises in the meantime.

    So a win of sorts… yet a friend of mine who has worked in the car rental industry said during his time in the industry it was common practice that they will not always do these sort of damage inspection reports routinely after each rental but leave them sometimes after a few rental periods then inspect the vehicle. If damage is noticed they will send the cost of the repairs to all persons who rented the vehicle in the time between the damage inspections. Basically if three people hired the vehicle between damage inspections and damage was recognised and repaired that all 3 renters will be charged with the same damage costs and it is up to the innocent renters to prove they are not liable. If the renters don't respond or the innocent ones don't argue or prove there case the rental company will receive 3 payments for the one damage invoice. This is suggesting some sort of conspiracy I know but the information is coming from someone I can trust and with what we are hearing from all the others on this blog and in particular to Hertz they take liberties that don't exactly meet fair play. It would be interesting to find out whether the car I rented was rented out again in the 5 days from when I returned it and the damage being reported and if that person/s have also been charged with and made responsible for the damages.

  22. Hey I have had the same experience. I hired a car 4 months ago and just recieved a bill for $770.00 for damage. I would have thought I would recieve a call the following day at the latest, but yeah 4 months later??? maybe a good idea to get the camera out next time and take some pictures before and after.

  23. fill in the vcr mark every!! mark chip dent before you take the car at start of rental. check it is full of fuel!! (spare tyre jack is there)
    when you return the car get the instant return person to write on the check in slip that he has checked and and not sighted any extra damage
    then get him to sign it! his name will be on the docket (closed by:)
    if you dont do this the next time it will get check is when it gets prepared for the next rental 5 different staff members could of moved it by then and damaged it and they will just charge the last renter,you!!
    p.s take max cover!!

  24. It would appear Hertz can and do exactly as they wish. Just recieved the same letter as others mentioned here. I actually rang, at their reuquest, the morning after picking up the car, to inform them that their vehicle report was innacurate. Returned car to Adelaide airport after 4 day rental, had vehicle inspected, mentioned additional damage and incorrect previous damage report, told all was good by chap who inspected car only to recieve letter in mail telling me they will charge me for repairs. There will be no more cars from Hertz.

  25. Nike Air Force 1 August 27, 2010 at 7:16 am

    To recommend a good product, definitely worth buying!

    Very good! I agree it very much !

  26. Having similar issues with Hertz ourselves. AAMI repairer kept stuffing up our car repairs so we had hire cars from Hertz on and off over a period of a couple of months. On the last return they found a tiny ding near the rear door handle. Yes we might have done it, although I don't remember even seeing it but they want to charge us $143 for it. There is no way on earth it would cost that to fix, it could be popped out at a fraction of the price.

    But that's not where my issue lies. These hire cars are scratched and dented all over, each and every one of them paid for my the hirers and yet not one of them have been repaired. Surely this must be illegal. You pay to have the damage fixed, not line their pockets.

    We have demanded to see the original invoice of repairs, and sight the fixedvehicle, both of which they refuse. Yesterday we recieved an invoice in the mail, from Hertz, not the repairer. Oh and a threat to send the balance owing to the debt collectors. If I'm paying for something to be repaired I expect to see what I've paid for.

  27. Diana- Ashwood Vic
    I also have had a bad experience with Hertz, I had cause to Fly to Canberra on 22 July. I googled carrental.com.au to compare rental prices and to see what small cars were availale, for the 3 Days I needed a car, as I had to drive to Young & back for a funeral at Cowra.Hertz had a small car available at a satisifactory rate , the car made available to me from Hertz was a Toyota Rav4 ,before leaving the lot, I thoroughly inspected that vehicle and made several notations on the Vehicle Condition Report, I called over a Hertz employee and pointed out defects I had found, that were not noted on the Vehicle Condition Report, this employee checked my marks, made notes against each mark and signed and dated my carbon copy of this report.

    On my return to the Hertz drop off area at Canberra Airport on Sunday 25th July, a Hertz employee approached me and said 'are you returning this vehicle'? Yes I answered and proceeded to inform him that I had noted and had, had signed off on several defects that were not on the original copy of the vehicle condition report and asked if he wanted to see my copy,he said no, he walked around the vehicle with me and said' every thing looks okay, no damage visable that would cause a claim to be made against the excess that I had insured for, he then proceeded to debit the 3 day rental charge to my credit card, I took my bags from the back of the Rav4 and proceeded to catch my flight back to Melbourne.

    I can definately say that I handed that vehicle back in the same condition that it was in when I took delivery of it.
    Imagine my surprise when I received a charge for repairs for $1,148.52, being my $1,000 excess plus other charges including GST,carried out apparently for damages that had occured while the vehicle was hired by myself.
    I immediately contacted Inovation Group(Sureplan) Pty Ltd to ask what damage had occured causing repairs to be carried out, he explained that photos showed that a dent and yellow paint was the damage, he advised that this damage would have been evident at the time I returned the car. I immediately requested copies to be e-mailed to me showing the damage, I was stunned when I received these photos, as there was definately no such damage when I returned that vehicle,( I can assure you that blind freddy would have seen that sort of damage) Again I contacted Sureplan and explained that the damage had not been caused by me, again I was advised to put my comments in writing, twice I have caried out their request and both times I have been advised that my claim has been refused, the latest excuse is ' that I had signed the Vehicle Condition Report which shows no damage to the right hand rear bumper quarter' I have requested they e-mail this signed copy as proof, todate no such copy has been made available to me and also the photos e-mailed to me are not dated, they could be for prior damage for all I know and this just another scam on Hertz's behalf to see if theycan con another customer.
    If I had caused any such damage I would have acknowledged it at the time I returned the vehicle and also it would have been noticed by the Hertz employee who attended too my return of the vehicle and proceeded to debit the rental charge to my credit card.

    I have registered this complaint with Consumer Affairs, as I believe this claim is an attempt to defraud and going by comments from other people, this is another classic case.

    1. The photos could be taken at any time as they are not dated
    2. I am still waiting for a signed copy of the vehicle ondition report

    I will always honor any claim I believe is mine, but I take offence with anyone trying to con me and blame me for something that I am not responsible for.
    I will never use Hertz again and I will discourage anyone else from using them.
    I have hired cars both in Australia, America and Ireland and have never had a problem.

  28. Hi Luke, i would be interested in talking to you further as i have had a similar experience with Hertz, same model and same damage on the car roughly the one month ago.

  29. My Hertz tale of woe is with Hertz UK. I hired a car last year and didn't bother taking out the collision damage waiver because my travel insurance would cover it if I had a prang.

    So Murphy reared his head and some kind lady backs into the car, damaging the drivers side. No problem, she was very apologetic, gave me all her details and I filled out all the Hertz paperwork when I took the car back. I paid the 550 pounds excess and was assured that it would be refunded when the claim was settled with the other party……yeah right!!!

    Almost a year later and an email chain that has now gone suspiciously quiet, I get the feeling that Hertz have took the money and ran.

  30. i have had a similar problem with the same type of hire car from adelaide which i am following up further. can you please confirm your outcome and feel free to contact me with any further information. i would really appreciate any further information. I can be contacted @ lloyd.thenextbestthing.braun@gmail.com


  31. Hello,can you please provide any further information on your damage claims as i have had a similar problem

  32. What makes you think so?

  33. I just had a problem with Hertz at Perth. They said the car had a windshield chip?? This is false, I took pictures of the car and I can prove it… but they do not care. They just gave me a number to make a claim an wait. By the way, they charged me with $3500 for this and they said I should get my money back (less the damages charges) in not less than 3 weeks. Please, do not rent cars at Hertz at least not in Perth. Also, I rented there because a website said that their prices where good, no quite sure which one was…

  34. This is a shocker. Let me know if you want us to raise this with Hertz.

  35. I too had problems with hertz australia, ther charged me $1000 dollers instead of the standard $3300 as agreed with the office i returned it or so i thought , then about a week later they took $3600 out f my account and stated that the hertz office could not make arrangements, as yet i am still unable to speak to anyone as they never answer or if they do which is rare the promise to call back but never do . Hertz perth are the biggest set of lias i have every known.

  36. I too had problems with hertz Perth Australia, they charged me $3600 for a scratch, they never hardly answer your call or never ring you back, they pretend to have computer problems or some is on holl or sick. Do not hire a car from Hertz Full Stop.

  37. Hi I work for hertz Perth Australia and i agree with all the customers Hertz is the worst hire company in australia an i know, we are told to just get the clients to sign by taking their mind off what they are doing i.e talking to them that way we get a signature on the agreement before they realize what has happened and leave. this works 9 out 10 times. as for customer complaining we just are told to be nice but ignore them as they have signed the aggrrements.

  38. wow, we have had a Hertz car for 2 weeks now, scarry stuff. We will be inspecting it thoroughly before we hand it back. Thanks for the info.

  39. Wow, it is great to hear all these comments.

    I recently hired a car from Hertz, which my partner returned yesterday. I checked the car before he took it back and couldn't see any damage. They found two tiny chips, 1mm and 2mm… I did nothing to the car… And apparently it is going to cost $186 to repair!

    Surely something this small would be covered by 'general wear and tear', it could have been anything! What's more, it's so unreasonable to consider having such tiny, general wear and tear defects repaired, and think it would be highly unlikely that they would do so.

    I haven't had a chance to call and speak with them yet, but I will certainly dispute it.

  40. I recently rented twice from Hertz in Australia. I just opened my credit card statement, and surprise!!, found and additional $3300.00 billed to my credit card by the originating rental location. (In addition to the cost of the additional rental). No supporting documentation, no notification, just a charge. There was no damage to any vehicle we rented. We did however, have our original vehicle break down, (overheating).
    I have filed a dispute with American Express, I am looking forward to hearing back from them.

  41. cheap jordan shoes March 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Truly pleased with your write-up. This really is something that I’d been trying to find.

  42. Just been stung the same way- also a Canberra drop off – they allege we damaged something near the windscreen not even specific about what was supposedly damaged- we had the car overnight and it was inspected in Braddon so thought all fine this was before Christmas!!! the estimate was not done till January in WA!!!! then we are billed now- THIS IS FRAUD help any suggestions???

  43. Hmm, I have never stuck in such situation, even in case I have minor scratches on a bumper (made by my fault) of a rented car. May be it is a problem of a concrete regional office (I use office in Perth).

  44. Hmm, I have never stuck in such situation, even in case I have minor scratches on a bumper (made by my fault) of a rented car. May be it is a problem of a concrete regional office (I use office in Perth).

  45. From the look of this and many other sites/forums they are the biggest bunch of crooks in Australia hiring cars- I rang the number on the letter no help at all… except lots of money in premium rate phone line on hold – I have now complained to every agency possible- they did tell me finally waht I was alleged to have done ( which is untrue) I inspected car with before during after and there was no chipped screen- its a total scam- NWS and ACT office of Ft trading are on the case I have had a reply from the ACCC and am speaking to my bank about the legality of the charges- taken 6 weeks ago and then notified now? 3 months after the alleged damage – there is not a lot of money involved they quoted 3 seperate figures re damage- I am also wrting tho the Guardian UK money pages to highlight this dodgy company- I will also send copies to the canberra times and SMH.
    My brother is a business lawyer who will take up my case on his reurn from an international business trip- they cannot be allowed to get away with this-
    I have emailed them every day since I got the letter and only got a reply today with a different address…

  46. I sympathise with your bad experience from this unscrupulous mob. A year ago my wife and I went to Perth and hired a car from Hertz at the airport, and used a credit card for payment. Two weeks later we returned the car to their depot; there was nobody there to check it out, so we left it in the designated return park area. Three months later we received a phone call from a debt collection company saying we hadn't paid for the car hire, and wanting immediate payment. After much researching (on our part) we discovered they had charged someone else's credit card by mistake, corrected their mistake and then arranged for a debt collector to chase us up? Not only that but they had reported us to Veda Advantage as a credit risk, a record that is now in dispute. How can it be possible for bad credit to be recorded without the person knowing about it? This mob have no morals and won't own up to their own inefficient operation system. They just charge in like a bull in a china shop and accuse everybody instead of first cleaning up their own act. Hertz – it sure does! But they're in for the fight of their lives with this one, especially when it goes to air with Tracey Grishaw.


  47. Yep i agree and the manager i have come across Lisa Clarke is a rude woman. I cannot beleive how rude she is and is able to work in that sort of customer service environment. Take a look at your self Hertz!! Very bad rep.

  48. Look at your paragraphs. Which one is the strongest?

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