Travel has been crazy enough since the pandemic began. You would think that with all of the hassles of traveling these days, travel providers would try to at least offer good service. Maybe it’s’ just me, but it certainly sounds logical. Recently, I wrote about the grandmother and granddaughter that was evicted by her hotel for writing a 3-start review. If you missed that story, you can read it here. This time, Hertz Car Rental takes on an attorney in an outrageous display of customer service gone bad.
Kate Klonick was on her way to spend Thanksgiving with her family. After an uneventful flight, the struggle began when she went to pick up her rental car from Hertz. Let’s meet Kate:
- Kate received her JD from Georgetown University Law and a PHD from Yale Law School,
- Kate is an Assistant Professor of Law at St. John’s University and
- She is a Hertz Gold member.
You would think that Hertz would try to make it things right with this customer. Actually, Hertz should make things right with all customers. Not this time.
The Rental Experience
Kate goes to original Hertz pickup location at the appointed date and time. This is where the car rental from hell begins. Things did not go well for Kate. The story is documented with her incredibly detailed letter to Hertz that was posted by her on Twitter that went viral. Michigan attorney, Steve Lehto tells the story in the video below.
It started when the original rental location has one employee who ends up going home with customers still in line. After many calls with Hertz, she ends up going by uber to another Hertz location to pick up her car. Hertz has no cars for her to rent but if she paid four times the originally agreed-upon price, they could magically find her a car.
Did Hertz Violate The Law?
When you make a rental car reservation, you and the car rental company are engaging in a contract. You agree to pay a specified amount and the rental car company agrees to provide you with a specific class of car of a predetermined length of time from a predetermined pickup location. In New York, there is a consumer law to prevent car rental companies from extorting money from their customers. Here is a sign from the Hertz Williamsburg office prominently displaying the law in New York.
The Response From Hertz
Kate did finally hear from Hertz as a result of the letter she had sent. Here is the resolution from the Hertz vice-president of marketing and customer care:
What comes to my mind is this, will Hertz honor the reservation made with the points Kate received from Hertz? In a statement by Hertz, they said that they are investigating the matter to better understand what occurred so that we take any corrective actions. Hertz couldn’t get the answers to their questions from a five-page letter written by an attorney?
Michigan attorney, Steve Lehto does a brilliant job walking through this whole car rental fiasco. Here is how an attorney looks at this transaction:
When you make a car rental reservation, have a copy of your reservation with you in case you need to show it to the car rental representative. If they constantly hit you with an offer to upgrade, it is usually because they are sold out of your car class and you would get the upgrade for free anyway. Stick to your guns and be firm in dealing with car rental representatives to make sure that the car rental company honors their end of the car rental contract.