Memo to Hertz: try harder!


hondaOne of the things I like about contributing to this site is that it gives readers an opportunity to learn from my mistakes. Yep, even those of us who are mega-miler travelers encounter the same problems that you do.

Case in point: my recent car rental from Hertz at BWI airport in Maryland. I live in Annapolis, but rented from the airport for several reasons, including convenience and the need for unlimited mileage. (I was driving it to and from Key West).

I reserved the car online through their ‘pre-paid’ service. First, a warning: Pre-paid does not mean to Hertz what it does to you and me. To you or me, prepaid means you’re done, to Hertz it means they have to think up some additional fees to hit you with when you get to the counter. Among the four pages of disclaimers and disclosures there’s a passage that ominously notes that “taxes, fees and extras, if not included in the rate, are subject to change.”

My rate sheet showed that most of the expected taxes and fees (airport concession, ‘licensing cost recovery’ and facility charges) had been computed in the rate, so I felt lucky.

And yet somehow I ended up paying more for the rental. In fact, for a time, I paid for my rental almost twice.

The problems started almost immediately when I went to pick up the car. The guy took my confirmation number and asked if I’d like to pay $10 more a day for an SUV or larger vehicle. Nope, I said, I just want what I reserved.

Guess what? I got offered an SUV anyway, because all they had left were sizes larger than I’d reserved. (Here’s a tip: if you want a ‘free’ upgrade, pre-pay for a small car and pick it up late, after they have already handed out most of their inventory).

The counter guy kept a straight face when I inquired if it was ethical to ask a customer to pay for an upgrade when they would get it at no cost anyway!

Next came the credit card shuffle. You see, I’d reserved the car on my Capital One card which put it perilously close to the limit when combined with all the other holds posted to it for my trip. Nowhere in its four-page disclosure does Hertz tell you that on top of all the expected charges, they’ll add a $200 deposit for ‘incidentals.’

Hmm…you’d think they would find room in all that legalese to tell you that.

When I asked BWI Hertz employee Jim Kleinschmidt if he thought it was fair to ambush customers with that expense he avoided a direct answer, referring instead to the ominous (and vague) passage about possible rate changes. In fact , my confirmation said the approximate amount due at the counter was $99.73, but with the deposit requirement, that increased 200 percent, meaning my card was charged an additional amount of more than $300.

It didn’t go unnoticed by me that at least two other customers were displaying a combination of indignation and irritation at being told of this previously undisclosed required payment. (Hertz later admitted to me that they don’t explicitly disclose the $200 deposit, but consider it fair game under the umbrella clause that hints there could be additional charges. I still consider that unfair).

Because the $200 extra amount overtaxed my Capital One, we had to switch over to another card. I whipped out my card holder and faster than a Vegas dealer, choose my lucky green card (M&T Visa). Oh, except that’s a debit card. Now, according to their encyclopedic list of conditions, changing cards, especially to a debit card, should mean that they have to cancel the whole ‘pre-paid’ reservation and start a new one.

But, oh wait! They’re going to do me a favor and keep the same reservation and use the new card (thus violating the terms of their own contract). Don’t even think about pulling out a card with a spouse’s name on it as this ensures they have to start over and list the cardholder name as the only authorized driver!

Next comes what I call ‘risk roulette.’ Because Hertz is compassionate to allow debit cards, they inform me they’ll run my card through an Equifax approval system. The system tells them if my credit is good enough to let me drive away in one of their cars but, counter guy assures me, they don’t see my actual credit score, only something akin to a red or green light for approval.

Seconds tick by. Hertz has me hanging on a wire. Did I pay that bill on time? Does it matter that I have maxed out Capital One? Will the credit gods approve me?

They like me, they really like me!

The magic screen says yes, and I feel like I’ve won an Academy Award. We move on. Counter guy asks if I want to add my husband as an extra driver, extra being the operative term. That costs an extra $14.99 a day. Hubby defers to me, I say no – I’m ready for the road rally to the end of the continental U.S., all 1,000 miles of it. Because I like to live really dangerously, I decline all the additional coverages and hope that Geico lizard feels OK with that.

Finally, after an event longer than the birth of my second child, we have a slip of paper and a car waiting for us somewhere out there in the vastness of the BWI rental car garage. It’s a Ford HHK something-something –that’s a smallish SUV.

Preparing to do battle, I approach with the damage report slip in hand. Hubby starts at the back end, me at the front. Our first observation it that the vehicle is filthy and I wonder if this is a tricky ploy to disguise any scratches and dents, but if it is, is doesn’t work. Between us, hubby and I find enough defects to keep a local Maaco in business for a couple of weeks. The damage slip is beginning to look like an NFL gameplan. Since the slot where its parked is very dimly lit, I pull the vehicle back into better light. With a few more watts thrown on it, the car looks like it’s been through the streets of Iraq.

The coup d’ grace? The entire front bumper is cracked in half. So much for that. I march back inside.

Feigning apologies, I slide in front of the several harried businessmen waiting in line, explaining there’s a problem with the car I was given. There’s also a little problem with Hertz customer service. I ask a counter guy if he can help me with a ‘small’ problem as he finishes with the couple he’s helping. He barks at me “Yeah, when someone is available!” He finishes the transaction in less than 10 seconds and, to make his point, leaves the counter.

Two can play at that game. Someone opens up and beckons. Walking over, I loudly announce that there are so many things wrong with my rental, I can’t fit them all on the sheet and emphasize the bumper is cracked in half. For good measure, I add that if they installed bulbs higher than 20 watts, customers could catch that kind of damage before they drive off the lot.

This gets me some attention. Now a manager arrives and motions for me to follow (I’m not dumb, I know he wants to get me away from the others before I say more). We go into a back room where he checks the available inventory and asks me what I want. Hubby asks for the Mustang convertible parked prominently nearby, but no dice. We reject yet another car for visible damage and end up with a Saturn Aura who’s damage inventory can fit on the sheet.

End of story, right? Wrong!

I have a sneaking suspicion, so when I get home, I run to my computer and check the transaction histories for both the bank cards presented to Hertz.

Bingo! I’ve been charged twice for the car. Hertz still has it charged to the ‘pre-paid’ online reservation and they charged a second transaction to the substitute debit card. (This is probably possible because my Capital One card allows me to go over my limit and then charges me a fee). I call BWI Hertz – like many travelers, I don’t want to start a long trip with less money than I have to.

The line clicks through only to be followed with a rude order to hold. “Wait!” I yell, and the guy listens long enough to tell me he has 20 customers waiting. “Well,” I reply, “maybe you want to finish dealing with the one from a half hour ago and give me some of my money back.”

This starts a back-and-forth argument between myself and someone with so little understanding of financial transactions I’d be surprised if any bank gave him a card. He can’t seem to comprehend BOTH of my cards have been charged. He insists one was hit for the rental and one for the deposit. Nope, I tell him, I’m looking at the screens. Capital One has been charged the entire pre-paid amount, and Visa debit has been charged the entire rental amount AND the infamous $200 deposit, meaning I have in fact, been charged more than I should.

I explain I believe this occurred because Hertz did me a ‘favor’ and substituted the debit card instead of canceling the original reservation and starting over. He stresses this is still a great favor because they could have canceled the reservation and started a new one with a much higher rate, or not given me a car at all with so little inventory. (Like this is a way to instill customer loyalty, but oh, yeah, right, airlines have done it for years). He also has no understanding of any of the content of the online prepaid contract. He insists it says some things that it doesn’t (like that there’s a $200 deposit) and claims it doesn’t say some things that it does (like the point of ‘prepaying’ for the car is to have one guaranteed available).

Finally, because I believe its unfair to pick on the mentally disabled, I let it go. I have a car and I’m headed to the Keys in five hours where I’ll just let the heat and sunshine bleach the memory of this frantic encounter out of my system.

Which, in fact, does happen. So that when I drive the car back to BWI and get handed the tiny slip that tells me I drove 3177 miles in 9 days for a total cost of $366.27 (which represents about eight cents a mile), I put away my frustration and savor all the beautiful sunsets, warm water beaches, sand castles and beaming smiles from my four year old that are worth about a million dollars a mile.

Key West is much more than a latitude adjustment, it’s a problem eraser.

(Photo: Fovea Centralis/Flickr Creative Commons)

  • Matthew in NYC

    As a seasoned traveler you should have known better. All travel service providers put a hold on credit cards for any contingencies that might occur, this $200 deposit on rental cars has been around at least twenty years in every country where I’ve rented a car and is imposed by every car rental company I’ve ever dealt with. That’s why I prefer to rent with an American Express charge card, there is no pre-set limit so you won’t ordinarily run into issues with these types of deposits, particularly if you call them first and let them know what’s going on. If you know you have a limit on your Capital One card you should not have used it for every reservation for your trip. In the US it is never a good idea to let a credit card’s balance exceed more than 50% of its limit, maxing out credit cards does horrible things to your credit score.

  • Janet NYC

    For your information Alamo does not hold any extra money on your credit card when you rent from them.They just hold the price of the rental.That is why I always rent from them.

  • David in DC

    Yeah, every rental company makes it clear that they hold a security deposit of a minimum of $200 or $300 dollars. I have seen this for years. You would think a seasoned travel writer would have researched things a little more. I accept and understand this – what if you return your car empty of gas and your card is maxed out? It is nothing different than what many hotels due to make sure you don’t raid the mini bar and use room service with no means to pay. I would have complained if I was behind someone making a scene like you did, stop the whining!

  • laura

    Hi Matt & others-
    Thanks for reading. Actually, as a seasoned traveler, I have rented many cars where no cost over and above the total rental rate was charged – there some rentals that do this (another contributor mentions Alamo, I think).

    If you think about it, the $200 incidentals hold doesn’t make much sense. Most of the incidentals they need to insure against, say parking tickets or even damage claims, will show up long after that hold is released. Just about every company that accepts debit cards takes a large hold (as I’ve written about that before) but the Hertz hold applies to credit card users as well. The reason most car companies didn’t use such holds in the past was because they knew they had your credit card number and could, per the fine print, just charge about anything to it anytime in the future. And, even if it’s a ‘hold’ and not a charge, cards will decline the transaction if it exceeds your limit or if other such ‘holds’ are using up most of your available credit. Regardless of technicalities, since you can’t access the funds being ‘held,’ it’s in effect the same as a charge.

    I know the limit on my card and was prepared to charge up to the limit (my credit score is pretty good regardless, thank you very much). And finally, I refuse to have an AMEX card for many reasons, including the fact that a lot of merchants won’t take it, and being a financially responsible person, I don’t need or want a ‘limitless’ card.

    If Hertz had clearly disclosed all the potential charges due, or even some of the future possiblities, I wouldn’t have encountered this situation. Instead, it deceptively showed on my prepaid voucher that I owed $99 bucks at the counter and then tried to charge me over $300.

  • harold Weller

    Please do not lose sight of the fact that Laura was the victim in this tale. There are times when the only way you can get the mules attention is by extreme action(refer to old joke for punch line.) and that is what Laura had to do. When you are being ignored as if you were not there, you have to call it to the attention of the clerk behind the counter. It’s too bad that this embarresses the people waiting in line behind you. The clerk and the entire reservation staff had worked overtime to belittle and frustate Laura. They counted on the fact that we as customers will accept their rudeness and incompetence and will be reluctant to make a scene. When your politeness is being taken advantage of, you have to cease being polite.

  • Stewart Sheinfeld

    They do not hold a security deposit They get authorization from your card for $200-$300 more than the anticipated charges but only charge your card the actual amount at the end of the transaction

  • Bodega

    First off, all car companies put a hold on a renter’s card, even with prepaids. That is why when debit cards first came out, they were not acceptible cards to use as a hold couldn’t be placed and funds would be taken out, but they couldn’t put the funds back in when the car was returned safely.

    Second, you should never, ever use a card that is close to your limit. As an agent I advise my clients of this with all travel arrangements.

    Third, in some destinations, some taxes and fees are not collected in a prepaid, but in other destinations they are.

    Fourth, with a prepaid you are committing to rate. The fact that as the renter you didn’t know all the possibliities that could be involved with using your card that was close to your limit isn’t their fault. You didn’t book directly with them, you booked with a second party.

    Fifith, have you not rented a car before?

  • Corey

    I rent ~15-20 cars a year from Hertz. From my experience, they don’t charge the extra amount but just put a hold on it. I always thought that everyone did that.

    I know that AMEX can be difficult to use when travelling, or otherwise, but I always try to use it because there’s no credit limit and every time I’ve had a problem with a merchant they’ve always had my back.

  • Bodega

    Yes, Corey, they do put a hold on your card and release it when the car comes back.

  • Laura Townsend Elion

    Just to clarify and inform, the rules can vary widely at different locations. Some are corporate and some are frachises. Franchises are free to make up their own rules. I’ve rented many times in the past on a credit card with no additional hold. I’ve never thought about it enough that I can now remember which compan(ies) did that. But the main lesson here is Caveat emptor!

  • SpotLightofTruth

    The take-away here for me is that the Hertz prepaid option is not a very wise choice. I have pondered that option but never selected it. Based on the experience cited, it seems to be a pre-paid contract for services where the vendor terms are set in jello, except that the customer can’t back out of the arrangement.

    All the jabbering about credit card limits, holds, credit card brands, and personal financials are just noise.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    In the past, my employers and/or customers have pre-paid for a hotel room yet the hotel asked me for a credit card for contingencies such as telephone, meals and etc.

    There is no way for a rental car company to know if a renter will return a car with no gas and have no money to pay.

    I must question how wise it is to use a credit card that is nearly at its limits when going on a vacation.

  • Laura Townsend Elion

    Just to clarify and inform, the rules can vary widely at different locations. Some are corporate and some are frachises. Franchises are free to make up their own rules. I’ve rented many times in the past on a credit card with no additional hold. I’ve never thought about it enough that I can now remember which compan(ies) did that. But the main lesson here is Caveat emptor!
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  • John

    Laura … Anyone can place a “book” transaction on your card (that’s the technical name of the hold) and you’d never know it unless you watched your card report like a hawk and saw the drop in available credit. It would not show up on your transaction report. I’m willing to bet that the book transaction was placed on your card with your other rentals and you never realized it.

    Oh and the “mistake” on double charging your card could be your different banks. It all comes down to how credit cards are processed vs debit cards. Your credit could have been there but not showing up on your online report yet (could take 24 -48 hrs).

  • Bodega

    The Terms and Conditions from Hertz’s website on prepaid rates:

    Note that debit cards are not to be used
    Note that changing to a different card will change the rate
    Note what is not included in the prepaid rate

    No mention of a hold to the card

    No refunds or credits for unused rental days.
    Prepaid rates cannot be combined with any promotional offer.
    Rates exclude vehicle licensing recovery fee, airport facility use fee/customer facility charge, hotel concession fees, other cost recovery fees, governmental surcharges, taxes or other optional items such as child seats, luggage racks, refueling items, insurance, NeverLost or optional refueling, or one-way charges for which the renter may be responsible. Excluded services cannot be prepaid; if accepted, must be paid locally at time of rental.
    Changes to a reservation must be done at using the “Modify/Cancel” option. Any changes to the reservation may impact the rental charges. If a prepaid reservation is cancelled more than 24 hours before the pickup time, a $25 cancellation fee will be assessed. If the prepaid reservation is cancelled within 24 hours before the pickup time, a $50 fee will be assessed. If the customer does not cancel the reservation prior to the time of pick-up and the rental vehicle is not picked up on the rental date, the entire prepaid amount will be forfeited.
    Approximate rental charges are based on available information at the time of reservation for renters age 25 and older. For minimum age requirements please see “Rental Qualifications and Requirements” link below for details. Please note that for renters under age 25 an additional daily age differential charge may apply. Additional fees or surcharges may be applied at time of rental.
    The customer will be asked to enter a valid credit card number at the end of a change to a prepaid reservation. This must be the same credit card that was used for the original reservation. If the customer wishes to change the credit card, then the original reservation must be cancelled (see terms and conditions for Cancellations) and a new reservation made.
    Standard rental qualifications and rental period restrictions apply.
    CDP: A CDP code can be added to a reservation. However, there may be circumstances in which this CDP code is linked to a negotiated discount or rate that does not match Hertz retail prepaid rates. In this circumstance, the customer will see the error message: ‘No prepaid available’. The customer may cancel the original reservation (see terms and conditions for Cancellations) and make a new reservation adding the CDP number.
    A valid drivers license and credit card must be presented at the time of rental to cover any reasonably anticipated charges which have not been included in the prepaid voucher.
    All rentals are subject to Hertz standard terms and conditions of the Hertz Rental Agreement in effect at time and place of rental.
    Rental days are based on 24 hour periods commencing at time of pickup. Additional days will apply if the rental is kept longer than specified (additional days begin after a 29 minute grace period and will be billed at a higher rate).
    This program is available at participating cities/locations.
    Voluntary upgrades will be charged at locally applicable rates.
    Please print your prepay confirmation and present at the counter.
    Debit cards and Hertz Credit Cards are not valid forms of payment for prepaid rates.
    The JCB card is a valid form of payment for prepaid rates.
    Prepaid rates are subject to availability.
    LIS cannot be provided for rentals in excess of 30 days in certain states, including CA, NY, FL, TX, NC and RI.
    Please note that due to the nature of the prepaid rates, Hertz cannot provide a single receipt for a prepaid rental. Two receipts will be provided – one receipt for the prepaid amount and one receipt for the remainder of charges payable at the counter.
    Your Hertz Prepaid Rental will appear on your credit card statement as “HERTZ PREPAYMENT”.

  • Bodega

    From Hertz’s website on the credit card hold.

    I’ve returned the Hertz vehicle. Why is there still a hold on my credit/debit card?

    When the car is returned, a charge for the total amount due is submitted to your credit card company. Depending on the credit card company, there may be a delay between the time the charges are received and when the hold is released. The length of time this takes is not determined by Hertz. Since the card issuer is responsible for releasing authorization holds/funds back to their customers’ accounts, we recommend you contact the card issuer directly.

  • DCTA

    I found it right away on the Hertz website – why do self-bookers always blame the on-line agency booking/engine?

    Here it is:

    An authorization is required based on the estimated rental charges. In order to cover incidental charges, such as extra hour charges if the vehicle is returned late, we require credit approval for up to $200.00 over the total estimated rental charges. Approval for this additional amount cannot be waived. If authorization for the estimated amount cannot be obtained, the rental will be denied.

    Additional authorizations (holds) will also be obtained if the vehicle is not returned on the date/time noted on the Rental Agreement or if the original terms of the rental change which result in additional charges.
    I’ve returned the Hertz vehicle, why is there still a hold on my credit/debit card

  • DCTA

    Admittedly it is not in the easiest place to find, but it is there…..

  • Laura Townsend Elion

    I’m not going to address each theory or inaccuracy above separately so here goes:

    My main complaint with the $200 deposit was that it was not disclosed. I know some feel they have ‘proven’ that it is, but I have 4 pages of contract (that I may have to scan in) to show it was not disclosed to me. And I got Mr. Kleinschmidt, the BWI Hertz guy, to admit to me that it was not disclosed PRIOR to booking.

    Not sure why folks are trying to give Hertz an out by saying a criminal could book something to my card, that’s true in any case, for anything. Presumably there’s some accountability for that because at the counter you also have to provide your driver’s license – if you don’t know that, you must’ve never rented a car.

    My credit card transactions are available to me in real time, so the charges there were valid charges. Not sure about your bank. Plus I later called my bank to confirm. Since I figured it would get straightened out on the return I didn’t file a dispute, but I could have – my bank offered me that solution.

    Hertz did credit back the difference after the car was returned – my problem was that they double-charged to begin with (& especially when they claimed the Capital One charge wouldn’t go through – it obviously did!)

    So, for those not keeping up, Hertz tells me at the counter that my online reservation with Capital One is no good & they need another card, which they charge, only for me to find out they charged BOTH Capital One & my Visa debit.

    There’s nothing wrong with making a decision to max out one card if its yours – I have several cards and routinely will max out one, put it aside and use others so I don’t have to figure out during a long trip which card has how much left on its limit. I never said I had maxxed out my ONLY card. And, oh, I have a very good credit score.

    It’s even possible since I escalated my conversations on this with Hertz last week, that some of the “proof’ your are presenting in the form of website verbiage was changed since I booked.

    I mention in my article that Hertz broke the conditions on its own contract – it’s not supposed to allow you to substitute a debit card for a credit card – it’s supposed to cancel the original transaction. Because Hertz broke its own rule, this is the crux of why I got double-charged.

    As for the comment about the company not knowing it I would return the car with gas? I prepaid for the entire tank, so not a potential incidental liability. As for the rental company not knowing if I could pay for the car upon return? That’s why they charged me upfront – and to be perfectly clear – I was charged for the entire rental balance TWICE, plus a deposit. Hertz had at least double the amount of rental costs upfront – apparently some folks keep missing that point!

  • Vacationagent

    I’m surprised that Hertz would agree to let the car go to the Florida Keys. Living in the same area where a rental begins usually means a different rental agreement than the one you get when you’re flying into a location. If the counter agents hadn’t been so busy, they might have found more fine print to point out that would have prohibited taking the car past a neighboring state.

    I think you should consider yourself lucky.

  • Bodega

    We are not missing the point.

    First off, you didn’t read the information that is right at the top of the page for prepaids where it says you CAN NOT use a debit card. I just booked a car at to check this out. You violated ther terms of your reservation by using your debit card. There is also a fee for switching cards on a prepaid. Most likely the counter agent coded your rebooking as a cancellation first which then would be a forfeiture of your original amount, even though you were told something else. That was wrong on Hertz’s part. But you should have been charged a fee for the change of credit card.

    The term Hertz uses for the hold or as you called it a deposit is, Authorization. They also don’t mention that they could keep you from renting if they check your driving record and it doesn’t meet with their approval. These should be more readily accessible at the time of reservation when booking online. Now, it isn’t their problem if a renter is too close to there limit and gets a fee charged by their credit card company for going over. Some cards will be declined since some card companies don’t allow for going over a limit. Some car companies have been known to ‘authorize’ more than $200. This is why we never recommend using a card that is close to a limit. We always advise of the ‘authorization’.

    I guess you learned something new today and that by booking online, you don’t always get all the needed information. I bet you’ll be better prepared on your next rental.

  • Kevin Morgan


    With respect, I do think that you ARE missing the point.

    Laura didn’t make the final decision on using that debit card; the Hertz agent accepted it. Whether he did it as a favor or not, by accepting it, he knowingly *waived* that portion of the contract that prohibits debit card use – so she didn’t “violate” anything.

    Second, her point is that no matter what may be posted on the website, her actual *rental contract* makes no mention of the $200 authorization for “incidentals” placed on the credit card. Hertz might argue that the fee is “incorporated by reference” to the website terms, but by that argument, anything and everything might be included in the contract by simply posting it on the website – even after she agreed to the contract terms. And if they can incorporate so much by reference, why have four pages of legalese – and omit such a key point?

    And therein lies a crucial point: had they disclosed that $200 authorization up-front, in nice big bold letters, Laura would have known that’s the amount that would be “held” on her card, and she’d have known she might need to reserve on another card.

    In fact, most of these problems can be traced back to that disclosure issue – if Hertz told customers up front BEFORE booking that a hold/authorization of X dollars would be placed on their credit card at the time of rental, most of these problems wouldn’t have happened.

  • Kevin Morgan

    Separately, I notice nobody addressed her first point of asking the customer to pay for an upgrade that he/she was likely to get for free if the upgrade offer was declined.

    I’m not that bothered by this, Laura; Hertz could have walked your reservation to another company that did have the right size car for you, but they wanted to keep your business. If I were them, I’d have candidly admitted up front that they had a glitch in availability, and rather than walk you, they’d like to offer you the upgraded vehicle at half the normal “upgrade” fee, or something like that. You get a better deal on the bigger vehicle than if you’d ordered it initially, they get a rate closer to what they should get for the bigger vehicle, they keep your business, and you get a Hertz vehicle – which, frankly, I think is worth something. You were certainly within your rights to decline to pay for the upgrade, of course, because Hertz should have kept at least one vehicle of your reserved class for your prepaid.

  • Ed

    I found that when dealing with money and credit cards, it’s best to *NOT* volunteer possible reasons why the money information is wrong…
    Your mistake, “I explain I believe this occurred because Hertz did me a ‘favor’ and substituted the debit card instead of canceling the original reservation and starting over. He stresses this is still a great favor because they could have canceled the reservation and started a new one with a much higher rate, or not given me a car at all with so little inventory.”
    Like in every Columbo movie…the suspect who has the most plausible reason for the murder is most likely the one who did it. Never volunteer information…let them figure it out…and if the other person is inept enough, they may err in your favor!

  • Bodega

    My mistake on thinking she had used the debit card at the actual time of the reservation which isn’t allowed on prepaids. Under terms and conditions, which is right where you have to fill out your credit card information is this:

    Hertz locations also accept most, but not all, debit cards. Use of a debit card to rent a vehicle is subject to a review of your credit history. A few locations do not accept debit cards at time of rental.

    So they were not going against their policy if that office allowed debit card use.

    I have no argument with the lack of real information from Hertz on the Authorization amount, but my guess is they don’t consider it a fee as they release the amount when the car is returned safely. However, this isn’t a new policy and as DC showed, it is found online where the initial reservation was made. I think we can all agree that it really should be included in a location that has to be noted before the reservation is completed and that would be an excellent point for the author of this column to suggest to Hertz..

  • Susan

    After reading all this going back and forth, I completely understand Laura’s point. I am a Gold member with Hertz, and they used to hold $50 on your cc. Then they took it to $200 without notice. I now rent with National, Alamo or Avis and none of those three companies places a hold on your card. I know this because I place my rentals on cards that are near the limit intentionally. That way there will be NO ADDITIONAL CHARGES made on my card without my knowledge. I’ve dealt with Hertz agents that have been rude, and placed tlhe blame on me when they changed the hold to $200 as though I should have known this automatically. Well, as I am one that always rented from their prestige line, I no longer do so. I would rather rent a full size SUV or luxury car from one of the more HONEST rental companies. For those of you that are so very sure that ALL COMPANIES charge this, you are so very mistaken. I rent cars from the three previously mentioned weekely, and I am never charged a hold fee.

  • Katie

    I also had a negative experience with Jim Kleinschmidt at that BWI Hertz counter. That was in 2004 and I will never forget it. Whenever anyone tells me they are about to rent a car, I tell them to rent from anywhere but Hertz. Seven years have passed and I still make it a point to steer people away from that company because of him.