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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.