A few weeks ago I took a business trip to Bakersfield for three days and rented a car from Hertz at the Bakersfield airport for three days. Since I had a reservation, the agent printed out the contract and handed me the car keys and a receipt for $139.87
At the time of rental, I told the Hertz agent I would be leaving early on November 19th morning and returning the car around 5:30 AM. I asked the agent will anyone available at the Hertz counter to check in my car rental return and close out the rental.
The agent said no one would be available at 5:30 AM, I can just fill in the rental contract with the miles driven as well as the gas tank level and drop the keys & copy of the rental agreement in the drop box available at the counter.
Car Return on Saturday Morning
Just as I was told on Saturday morning on November 19th, I parked the car in the rental lot, noted down the mileage and gas level. I went to the Hertz rental counter drop the keys and the rental contract and caught the return flight back home.
Car Rental Surprise Charges
A week after my trip I was checking my credit card transactions, I was surprised to find $203.90 charged by Hertz. I know as per the rental contract my credit card should have been charged only $139.87. I logged on to my Hertz account and found out why my credit card was charged the additional amount. I figured out from the final invoice Hertz incorrectly marked, I returned the car on 20th (Sunday) instead of 19th (Saturday).
Talking to Hertz Representative
You can see I rented for only three days, but I was charged for four days. Confused, I called Hertz 800 number after a couple of tries and a long wait I was able to get hold of a Hertz representative. She told me since the location was closed when you returned the car, you have been charged one additional day of rental charges.
I told her the airport rental location was closed at the time of rental, but they did open an hour and a half later after I dropped the car and your website shows they are open seven days a week including Saturday.
She said it is the policy of the location to charge the one additional day of rental if the car rental location is closed when you return the car and she cannot do anything. She said, all she can do is to remove $12.91 the late return fee, and I need to talk to the agent at the airport rental location to take care of the additional day rental charges.
Is it Normal to Charge Additional Day of Rental
I asked her is it normal to charge an extra day of rental even though the rental location is opened for the day. She said yes, the rental place could charge an additional day of rental charge even though they are open for business later in the day because you dropped the key when the office was closed.
Hertz Rental Agent at Bakersfield Airport
As per Hertz representative, I tried calling the Hertz rental location at Bakersfield airport. The first couple of time the call was going to voice mail and the third time I was able to get hold of a rental agent.
I explained her everything; I told her I returned the car on time and dropped the keys in the rental box as per the instruction is given by the rental agent at the time of rental. She listened to me, and she put me on hold for about 5 minutes. After the hold, she came back and told me that her manager would reverse the charges.
No Charge Reversal
I waited for about ten days, and no reversal of credit appeared in my credit card account. So I called the Bakersfield airport Hertz office again and enquired about the credit for the additional day of rental charge.
Surprise, the agent told me the rental agency at the airport location is owned by a new owner since December 2nd they have no access to any of the previous rental record. Even if they have access to the previous rental, they cannot refund the overcharge, because of change in ownership of the rental agency.
She said I need to talk to Hertz to get the charges reversed and the amount credited back to my credit card. She gave me a new Hertz 1-800 number and asked me to speak to a Hertz representative.
Called Hertz Again
I called the Hertz 800 number again; I told the agent that I have a question about my past rental. He got my reservation number and pulled up my rental details. He said are you taking about the car rental from November 16th through 20th?. I said that is the problem, I completed the rental on November 19th and returned the car on November 19th at 5:30 AM. I told the entire story from the beginning again to this new Hertz representative.
He entered all the information in his computer and said, sir, we need to verify whether you have returned the car on 19th and we need to send a message to the Bakersfield airport location. The manager at the location will check the information and tell us whether you have returned the car on 19th November as per the original rental contract.
I said look, just now I spoke with a representative at the Bakersfield airport rental location she said there is no way to pull up my record. The Hertz representative told me they would be able to verify when I returned the car and send the information back to Hertz.
He said they would communicate back to me through email and requested me to provide an email address. I provided him my email address and asked how long it will take to resolve the dispute. He said I would hear from Hertz within 5 to 7 business working days about my case status.
No Email about refund from Hertz
I waited for ten days and did not receive any email from Hertz with regards to refund of the extra day charged to my credit card. So I called Hertz again, I explained the complete story again and the representative who took the call heard my story and told me that you would be charged one additional day of rental as you returned the car when the rental counter was closed.
Refund finally but One Time only
I said look; I was not told at the time of rental that I will be charged one-day extra rental if I dropped the keys before catching my return flight. She said she is going to talk to her manager and find out what can be done in my case. She put me on hold for about 5 minutes and came back and said Hertz would refund the one additional day rental charge. The credit will appear on my credit card after 4 or 5 days.
Also, she said this is a one-time deal only, and Hertz will not refund any amount in feature if I return the car when the rental counter is closed. I said look I specifically asked another Hertz representative whether I will be penalized if I return the car in an airport location when the rental counter is closed, that agent told me “no” Hertz would not charge the additional day of rental if it is an airport rental location.
Will never return a car to an airport location when the rental counter is closed. If I end up returning a car to an airport location when the rental counter will be closed, I will get a written assurance from the rental agent they will not charge me an additional day of rental. Also, I will be saving my boarding pass for at least 30 to 60 days till all my pending charges are cleared to dispute the case if needed.
I was upset that I was taken for a ride by the Hertz rental counter at the Bakersfield airport. But in the end, Hertz stepped up to the plate and refunded me the additional day of rental charges.
At an airport location flights depart early morning, it is unbelievable to have the rental counter closed in the early morning and charge one additional day of rental. Hertz needs to change its policy not to charge one additional day of rental if a car is rented as well as returned to an airport location when the airport rental counter is closed.
Despite a bad rental episode I would rent from Hertz. Hertz give out a generous bonus of frequent flyer miles whenever I rent a car through them. In fact, I earned 5250 United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flyer miles during my recent trip to Bakersfield, which you can read here.