Mexican Hertz Charges $499.48 For A Flat Tire

Why is Hertz charging Kathy $499.48 for a flat tire? Kathy writes:

For a pre-paid one month economy car rental for $632.03, on January 16th Hertz rented me a 2007 Blue Chevrolet , Lic#5981AVB in good condition at the Los Cabos airport. I declined to purchase insurance. Late on the night of January 20th, during a rainstorm, a tire blew out on the vehicle; so, after exchanging the tire with the spare the following morning, on January 21st, I returned the vehicle to the agency at their suggestion and wrote a full report. The agency assured me there would be no problem of any charges.

Upon returning to the airport three weeks later, the manager, Eleazar G. Leyva informed me that Hertz was demanding payment of $60.00US for damage to the tire. Anxiously on my way to a plane, I agreed to the charges, more for the sake of expediency rather than out of any sense of obligation. Subsequently, my credit card was charged $499.48

Kathy called Hertz Customer Relations in Oklahoma City and was told that there was nothing strange about the charges. What should she do?

We think Kathy should stop dealing with Hertz and start dealing with her credit card company.

Since Kathy declined the insurance when she rented the car, she should be covered under her credit card’s auto rental insurance waiver. Here’s an example of Visa’s coverage. If Kathy is still within the time period for filing a claim, she could deal with this issue that way. However, we think there’s something shady going on in this case. The Hertz agent told her the charge would be $60, and then billed her for $499.48. This sounds like fraud. We suggest that Kathy contact her credit card’s fraud department and report the Hertz agent. In this case, it’s time for a chargeback. —MEGHANN MARCO

Kathy writes:

For a pre-paid one month economy car rental for $632.03, on January 16th Hertz rented me a 2007 Blue Chevrolet , Lic#5981AVB in good condition at the Los Cabos airport. I declined to purchase insurance. Late on the night of January 20th, during a rainstorm, a tire blew out on the vehicle; so, after exchanging the tire with the spare the following morning, on January 21st, I returned the vehicle to the agency at their suggestion and wrote a full report. The agency assured me there would be no problem of any charges.

Upon returning to the airport three weeks later, the manager, Eleazar G. Leyva informed me that Hertz was demanding payment of $60.00US for damage to the tire. Anxiously on my way to a plane, I agreed to the charges, more for the sake of expediency rather than out of any sense of obligation. Subsequently, my credit card was charged $499.48 for that problem. I’ve been assured by Traci Atkerson of Hertz Customer Relations in Oklahoma City that that is fully in keeping with standard practices of the car rental industry in most countries.

$500.00 seems a wildly unreasonable amount to pay for such a small item. It’s difficult to imagine how Hertz arrived at that sum. It might have been reasonable if all four tires had been damaged. I understand that tires are more expensive in Mexico than in the States, but surely they are not the price of a round trip ticket.

Has anyone else had this sort of experience with this company? Are these prices in line with Hertz policies?

(Photo: e.t)