Hertz Holds Your Rental Hostage For Cash Deposit, To Be Returned In 2 Weeks

Ryan’s wife is currently traveling alone with their 3-month-old son on the way to an unexpected funeral near Salt Lake, Utah. Despite the fact that she paid for the rental up front as part of an Orbitz package, the local Hertz jerks are refusing to give her the car unless she goes to an ATM and brings back $200 cash, which they say they will mail back in check form a few weeks after she returns the car. Even Hertz says this isn’t their policy, but they can’t seem to stay on the phone long enough to help Ryan and his wife.

Hey guys, I wanted to relay an experience I’m having right this moment with Hertz, the rental car agency.

My wife’s cousin passed away very suddenly this week, and so my wife needed to fly to Salt Lake for the funeral. I booked a package for her with Orbitz that included flight, hotel, and car, and the car happened to be from Hertz. We travel very frequently, both domestically and internationally, and we’ve never used Hertz before, but I didn’t worry about it.

I was unfortunately unable to attend the service due to work commitments, so my wife had to go by herself with our three month old son. As any parent knows an infant is plenty of work with two people, not to mention one, so by the time my poor wife got to Salt Lake she was understandably tired.

She got her baggage, proceeded to get the rental car that we had already paid for, only to be told upon running her debit card that she did not have sufficient credit to rent the car. Now, we have perfectly decent credit. It isn’t crystal clear, but it’s fine. So, whatever, they want to charge us $200 as a deposit, which I don’t even particularly care about. However, they refuse to take a debit card. This is a debit available balance of at least $8,000, and they’re flat out refusing to take it, and insisting that we go to an ATM and get $200 in cash, and bring that to them as deposit. The kicker is that we will not get our deposit back upon returning the car in good condition, we get the deposit as a check in the mail, some undefined number of weeks later.

We’ve rented over a dozen cars in the last year, usually paid a deposit, but always in the form of a hold on a debit card, which is released upon the return of the vehicle. They’re asking us to pay the extra $2.50 or whatever in ATM fees (just annoying), and accept that we won’t see our money for several weeks, which is just unacceptable. I’m also totally uncomfortable with the lack of record of the cash handed over, and the fact that physical checks can be delayed, lost, etc, which I’m sure would put us in a holding pattern indefinitely before we see our money back.

Orbitz was unable to help with getting a different agency to give us a car, since they apparently do not do “day of” reservations. So, if my wife, who is completely grief stricken due to the loss of a close family member and carrying around a 3 month old baby, wants to drive to her cousin’s funeral, she has to fork over $200 in cash that we won’t see back for god knows how long. They are the only rental agency that does this in my experience, and it’s just ridiculous.

I called Hertz corporate and was actually told that it was not their policy by a seemingly nice representative, and that they should accept the debit card at their Salt Lake location, but the representative promply put me on hold and transferred me to roadside assistance, who OBVIOUSLY couldn’t help me, who then transferred me back to the beginning of the 20 minute hold queue. I then got ANOTHER representative who flat out hung up on me, and I’m now on hold yet again.

I’m pretty damned frustrated, and I’m never using Hertz again. Who the hell uses checks these days?

Based on this study, we’re guessing the Hertz staff member who’s doing this needs the cash to pay for online porn.

(Photo: stevendamron)


Edit Your Comment

  1. huadpe says:

    Wow, that screams theft. I have nothing to say beyond “Screw you hertz”

  2. Corporate_guy says:

    Why would you be using a debit card in the first place? Use a credit card, that way they can’t just steal from your account. If you did use a credit card for the initial package, just go to a different rental place and do a charge back for the price of the rental. Also call the credit company to let them know what is happening.

    • Repique says:

      @Corporate_guy: Perhaps because you don’t believe in using debt for personal convenience purposes? It shouldn’t be *required* to go into debt, not even a little bit, just to rent a car.

      • Lance Uppercut says:

        @Repique: If he has the money to use a debit card he has the money to charge it and pay it off at the end of the month.

        It’s not going into debt if you pay it off.

        I know some people hate credit cards, but they do have their purpose.

        • Collie says:

          @Cletus: @CletusCorporate_guy: Here is Hertz’s policy towards debit cards, they are just as safe as a credit card by the way. Why do we keep perpetrating this mythical legend.

          At most Hertz locations, debit cards (sometimes called check cards) issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo which draw funds directly from the cardholder’s account may be used to qualify for rental. However, prepaid or stored value cards which have a VISA or Mastercard logo are not accepted to qualify for rental. Debit cards must have available funds for the estimated amount of the rental charges plus a reasonable amount to cover any incidental charges in order to secure the rental. Both debit cards and prepaid or stored value cards issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo may be used as a form of payment when you return the vehicle. Please contact your local Hertz Reservations Office if you have a question about whether Hertz will accept a certain card.

          • Lance Uppercut says:

            @Collie: At “most” locations? So what do you do if you get a location that doesn’t take debit cards?

            And I didn’t say they weren’t as safe. They just aren’t as convenient.

            And why do you perpetuate the myth that using a credit card is the equivalent of going into debt? I charge absolutely everything and pay it off. I have no credit card debt.

          • chocolate1234 says:

            Debit cards may be just as safe, but that doesn’t mean you should use them in all instances. If you need to dispute a charge, it’s a lot easier to take care of it if it was on your credit card. If it was on your debit card, you’d have to file an affidavit at your bank and wait for the money to be refunded to your account, which can be up to a couple weeks. Just avoid the hassle altogether, especially when traveling, and use a credit card.

    • bohemian says:

      @Corporate_guy: You can do a charge back on a debt card. You can’t do a charge back on cash. I would be reluctant to give a cash deposit. Too hard to track, prove and get back. It sounds like the local office doing something that smells like fraud. Checks Hertz off list of places to do business with.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Why would you be using a debit card in the first place?

      @Corporate_guy: Because Hertz takes debit cards.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unrelated to this story, but my local Hertz office in Toronto (Yonge & Bloor Streets), which I used to rent from almost on a weekly basis, started charging a $10 “parking recovery fee”…to return the car to THEIR OWN LOT.

    That was enough for me to stop renting from them. I tried reasoning with them that this was entirely stupid, expensive, and arbitrary, but nope. Just another company to add to the “*additional fees apply” clique.

  4. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    If it’s not their policy, and they won’t fulfill her Orbitz order without the $200, then I’d go to another car rental company and give them her business. Orbitz obviously doesn’t care. Her trip was most likely booked with her credit card, do a charge back later for the portion of her car rental fees and go to a company who cares.

    I haven’t rented many vehicles, but it seems like they actually PREFER a debit/credit card in case of damages and such. I know here in NY I’ve seen signs in the rental places saying that they can’t MAKE you use a credit card… but it sure seems like they are.

    • bwcbwc says:

      @verucalise: I think the issue is debit vs. credit. Unless their bank account is chock-full, the debit card may have returned NSF for the “block” they put on the funds at the time of the checkout.

      OR it could just be a local employee scam.

  5. Meathamper says:

    A check? Are you serious? What is Hertz playing at here?

    BTW, I can’t see the login/profile buttons on the Consumerist bar on the top.

  6. David Brodbeck says:

    This kind of thing is why I don’t feel debit cards are a substitute for having a “real” credit card. I get that some people don’t trust themselves with easy access to debt, but if they choose that lifestyle they have to accept its limitations.

    • Collie says:

      @David Brodbeck: Why should we, a debit card is the same as cash, except with the backing of two financial institutions. Companies should not treat me or anyone different because I don’t wish to use debt to subsidize my lifestyle. If this is Hertz’s policy, why would I use them. I have traveled all over the world, never used Hertz, but have never had a problem with my debit card being taken.

    • bohemian says:

      @David Brodbeck: I have no interest is forking over piles of cash in fees for a credit card when a debt card will suffice. Mine can be run as a credit card and the credit card transaction rules apply. Seeing the hell some people end up in with credit card companies creating fees out of thin air, jacking interest rates and lowering credit limits I see no benefit to having a credit card. We also diversify between a couple of separate debt cards from different sources so the risk of being wiped out is nil. Our main bank will do a replace or charge back with the money returned between 1-24 hours.

      • KStrike155 says:

        @bohemian: @Collie: If you’re paying with a debit card that means you have the cash… meaning you can use a credit card with no fees, as long as you pay it off each month.

        Credit card pros:
        – some have extended warranty policies
        – rewards
        – chargebacks
        – NO FEES if you pay it off each month (and you have a card with no annual fee)
        – holds (like at gas stations, car rentals, and hotel rooms) don’t tie up cash in your checking account
        Credit card cons:
        – none, unless you can’t control your own spending

        I’m so sick of seeing people say “waah wahhh credit cards are bad! I’m not giving out my hard earned cash!!!” when you don’t have to give up a damn cent.

        • Collie says:

          @KStrike155: Well, I’m sick of companies and people telling me I have to use or should use a credit card. They track my spending, and my lifestyle and determine that since I shop at “less” desirable locations, they will lower your credit or raise your interest rate. I don’t like my government or my private company tracking me thank you very much.

          • floraposte says:

            @Collie: Isn’t a debit card just as trackable?

          • johnva says:

            @Collie: Again, if you pay it off in full, it doesn’t matter if they raise your interest rate since you’ll never pay interest. If you only use it occasionally for things where it really makes sense like renting cars, it probably doesn’t matter if they cut your credit line. And you think that they don’t track where you shop with a debit card?

      • David Brodbeck says:

        @bohemian: I’ve never paid an annual fee to any of my credit cards. If a company decides they’re going to add a fee I get rid of the card.

        Personally, I like the idea that when someone steals my card number (it’s happened), it’s the credit card company’s money at stake, not mine.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @David Brodbeck: I think you’re missing the fact that the cash deposit is NOT Hertz policy. If the people at that location felt like making a money grab a credit card wouldn’t have made a difference.

  7. conquestofbread says:

    I don’t work for Hertz or Orbitz, I work for a different tour operator.

    But your wife should have planned for the fact that a deposit would have to be left. You always have to leave a deposit, usually a block on an actual credit card (as opposed to debit).

    This is basically the same policy for all car rentals, only many times they’ll accept a debit card as long as they can get an authorization(read: temporary debit) on the deposit amount. I can confirm that Hertz never accepts debit cards for the deposit.

    In any case, they need a cash deposit since they couldn’t (for some reason) get the hold on her debit card.

    When a cash deposit is made, it gets deposited ASAP because the rental desks don’t keep cash around. After the car is returned and everything is good (tank full of fuel, no new damage), someone in an office off-site will cut your check. This can take 2 weeks to a month.

    P.S. The company I work for does allow last-minute changes penalty-free (99% of the time), so it’s kinda shitty on behalf of Orbitz not to assist in any way with an alternate rental.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I tried renting from hertz a week ago out of JFK and had a similar problem. They wouldnt take my debit/credit card unless I let them run a credit check on me. Needless to say I got a shuttle.

  9. SadSam says:

    I don’t think you should have to have a credit card to book a hotel room, rent a car or book a flight. But, while we are a no credit card family we do have a credit card we use for travel because we have run into this problem too many times.

    • bohemian says:

      @SadSam: With so many card companies kicking even good customers off their cards or potentially going out of business I can see this all changing and there being less of a supposed bias against debt cards with a Visa or MC branding on them.

      • johnva says:

        @Zain: So if they pay it back in full (thus avoiding any interest charges), is it okay with Muslims to use a credit card?

    • johnva says:

      @SadSam: Hotels are another problem for debit cards, because they also often result in large holds being placed against money in your checking account if you use a debit card (to cover potential “incidentals”). How is a debit card more convenient and safer than a credit card again when any business can place arbitrarily large holds against your actual money?

  10. chocolate1234 says:

    Credit cards definitely have their purpose, especially in certain cases, car rentals being one of them. Car rental companies and hotels can both bot holds on accounts that will remain there for days, tying up much needed cash. Better off using a credit card where it won’t affect you. It sounds like this couple had plenty of available credit though, so who knows what kind of shady business those Hertz guys were trying to pull.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I worked as an insurance claim rep for a number of years and the number one problem in handling a claim was dealing with the rental car companies. This isn’t just a Hertz problem. Each office of any rental company is run like its’ own little kingdom. What’s corporate policy may or may not be their policy. Hidden fees, made up fees, out in out fraud I’ve seen it all. They know when you’re standing at their counter and you need a car they can pretty much set the rules.

  12. Paladin_11 says:

    Some religions forbid (or strongly discourage) the use of credit or going into debt. Islam immediately comes to mind. Perhaps these folks have deep personal reasons for not having a credit card?

    • Collie says:

      @Paladin_11: Or perhaps, gasp, they are just smart. Just saying, unwise, and sometimes even good use of debt has taken this country down the shit hole.

      • johnva says:

        @Collie: It’s not “smart” to avoid credit cards irrationally, which you seem to be advocating. And no, “good” use of debt has NOT “taken this country down the shit hole”. Only bad use of debt.

        • heltoupee says:

          @johnva: In fact, debt is what our whole financial institution runs on. Our economy is not about having money, it’s about spending it. It all starts at the Fed where banks borrow money, for a fee, or they borrow from their customers, for a fee (to the customer, this looks like taking their deposit, and giving them interest on it). Then, the banks loan that money out to people who need it for a (hopefully) higher fee.

          The problem comes when people, banks, governments, etc. borrow either with no intention of paying the money back (this is flat-out stealing), or unforseen situations arise that stop them from paying it back (this is what has put us in the situation we are in now).

          America wouldn’t be the country it is today without the borrowing and lending of money (both in the good ways, and in the bad.)

    • Zain says:

      @Paladin_11: It’s not credit or debt that’s discouraged in Islam. It’s interest.

      • your new nemesis says:

        @Zain: Actually, I think its more about receiving interest from another muslim, not so much the act or the credit itself. A muslim can still use the card, but he is forbidden(?) from lending money to another fellow muslim with the sole intent of getting more than he lent.

        • Zain says:

          @skizsrodt: That’s what I said, except in more words. Interest is not only forbidden when Muslims deal with other Muslims; it’s forbidden in dealings with all people.

          • Paladin_11 says:

            @Zain: Thanks very much for the clarification. This philosophy is one I can really get behind.

            Yet another area in which we can learn a lot from our Muslim brothers and sisters.

            • johnva says:

              @Paladin_11: Not so much. Interest is a very important invention that helped to build the Western world. By compensating appropriately for risk, it encourages the large-scale lending of money, which is really quite necessary for large-scale economic development and diversification. Religious prohibitions against interest hold societies back, rather than helping them. This is a large part of why the Middle East is not as developed as the West, and why they haven’t been very successful in diversifying their economies away from oil, despite being quite wealthy. They are being shackled by a primitive ideology about money, and I think it’s sad.

              Even though debt can be used in abusive way, it’s foolish to give up the entire concept just because of a few failures. The benefits greatly outweigh the downside risks, which can be minimized if people don’t use debt abusively and irrationally.

              • Paladin_11 says:

                @johnva: Given the choice between going into debt and not doing so, I choose not to do so.

                I understand what you’re saying, but debt on a collective level and debt on an individual one are two different things. I’m speaking on a personal level. Societies have other options.

                As for development, it’s possible that the Middle East isn’t as developed as the West because they choose not to be. The Western way isn’t the only way. And there’s nothing wrong with examining a way of life or certain technologies and choosing not to emulate or use them. That doesn’t make the people who choose this path primitive or even less developed. Just different.

                • heltoupee says:


                  As for development, it’s possible that the Middle East isn’t as developed as the West because they choose not to be.

                  Or could it be because the whole area has basically been involved in one war or another for thousands of years? Much of their resources have been used in defending themselves or attacking others.

  13. chocolate1234 says:

    The bank I work for didn’t let customers use their debit cards at car rental companies for about a year. They were having HUGE problems with holds being put on accounts for days on end, customers having no cash available to them and bouncing checks, etc. etc. Our customers were mailed a notice, but many of them didn’t read the material and never realized this had changed until they tried to use their debit card to rent a car. I wonder if something similar is going on with their bank? At the very least, they should contact their bank to see if they can give them any helpful information.

  14. readams says:

    Sounds like this is a scam being done by the employees at the counter

  15. s25843 says:

    Its the indvidual location that sets the policies. This person failed the credit check (which, if they don’t have a credit card, I can see why).

    This is directly from Hertz.com

    Can I use my Debit Card or Bank Card to reserve a Hertz car?

    At most Hertz locations, debit cards (sometimes called check cards) issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo which draw funds directly from the cardholder’s account may be used to qualify for rental. However, prepaid or stored value cards which have a VISA or Mastercard logo are not accepted to qualify for rental. Debit cards must have available funds for the estimated amount of the rental charges plus up to $200 to cover any incidental charges in order to secure the rental. Both debit cards and prepaid or stored value cards issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo may be used as a form of payment when you return the vehicle. Please contact your local Hertz Reservations Office if you have a question about whether Hertz will accept a certain card.

    For credit check information when using a Debit Card click here.

    • Jim Fletcher says:

      @s25843: It’s most likely that it’s a franchise location that doesn’t even accept debit cards. That’s the danger of booking through third party sites like Orbitz – you have to jump through hoops to get to the fine print.

    • johnva says:

      @s25843: It also looks like they might ding your credit with a hard pull when you use a debit card! That is a REALLY HUGE reason not to use a debit card when renting. That will actually temporarily hurt your credit score.

  16. s25843 says:

    What kind of credit check is performed when I use my Debit Card?

    The credit scoring process performed through the services of Equifax are very similar to the type of credit checks that are done when a person applies for credit.

  17. blazinrebel says:

    Similar story but a bit different for me. We rented through Advantage in Las Vegas and were surprised at the counter when they asked for 3 pieces of ID including a utility bill and a copy of our lease. Who the hell brings a utility bill and copy of their lease to rent a car? They all have GPS trackers in them, what are we going to do, steal it? Oh, and since we had a debit card they hard charged the deposit for $350 which is higher than a credit card holder would pay, and they wouldn’t take cash either.

    • MrEvil says:

      @blazinrebel: Mind you the GPS tracking device only works when it has a clear view of the sky. If one was so inclined you could just put the car in an enclosed trailer and the tracking device would be rendered worthless.

      However, I don’t really think that rental car theft by the renters themselves is terribly common.

  18. Anonymous says:

    To me this sounds like the consumer is dealing with a shady clerk at a local shop who wants/needs some fast cash.

    The clerk’s behavior shouldn’t reflect on Hertz at large (well, maybe about their hiring). What will is their handling of the matter now that they know about it.

    Sucks for the consumer, though. I hope they apologize and comp her.

  19. HogwartsAlum says:

    This reminds me of that post where the hotel put all those charges on the card and wouldn’t release the funds. verucalise said they can’t MAKE you use a card, but that’s what it sounds like.

  20. HogwartsAlum says:

    Bearded Rapper said:
    “BTW, I can’t see the login/profile buttons on the Consumerist bar on the top. “

    I can’t either, and I logged in at the bottom but can’t reply. Anyone else having this problem?

  21. TrueBlue63 says:

    I can’t state this as fact, but we rent cars often on vacations. And every time it explicitly states that a CREDIT CARD is necessary to rent the car (we always use Hertz because with the various discounts its the cheapest). I suspect that Ryan didn’t really pay attention to the rules.

    Though I feel for Ryan and his predicament, his trouble started when using orbitz. Rarely will you get a real discount, and they are far less vigorous in explaining the rules. BOOK DIRECT you get far more protection and better service.

    • Jim Fletcher says:

      @TrueBlue63: You must live in a lower-demand area than I do… Hertz come in consistently 10-15 a day higher than Dollar and Enterprise. Plus the only one that’s open past 5pm is on airport property so I’d have to pay an additional fee for that. There’s an Enterprise about half a mile from the airport that serves me wonderfully.

  22. Billy Mills says:

    t snds lk crdt ddbt s gttng hs jst dsrts.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @Billy Mills:

      Ban hammer for the schmuck?

      • bohemian says:

        @MyPetFly: Please?

        • Billy Mills says:

          @bohemian: Why? Because I probably sniffed out the real truth here? Just because I say something that doesn’t align with the group think here I deserve to be banned?

          There are two sides to every story. I’m not necessarily being devils advocate, but the guy himself said that his credit is less than pristine.

          Banning someone because they don’t agree with you runs contrary to the purpose of the internet. At least I was willing to say what so many probably had thought but were afraid to say because of people like you.

          • Shadowman615 says:

            @Billy Mills: No, you really seem to be missing the point here. It’s not that your post had an unpopular opinion, it was that it seemed to lack any thought while blindly casting aspersions at the OP.

            Calling the OP a deadbeat is entirely different than disagreeing.

          • Beerad says:

            @Billy Mills: “Because I probably sniffed out the real truth here?”

            Yes, you’re a brilliant detective. Here’s a cookie. The point is not that your statement “doesn’t align with the group think,” it’s that it adds no value to the discussion. The OP stated that his credit is fine, although not crystal clear. That’s not “a deadbeat.”

            Welcome to the internet — you could go into every single post and yell “THIS PERSON IS OBVIOUSLY A LIAR” but you’re going to get a beatdown. If you want to be skeptical, that’s fine, but there are proper ways to express that and you obviously haven’t learned them.

            Moreover, whether the OP has bad credit is irrelevant to the entire point; this person has a perfectly valid debit card, which Hertz corporate says should be sufficient. Why then the ridiculous runaround about cash?

  23. emilymarion333 says:

    I did have to rent a car with my debit card last year – I travel quite a bit for work and it was my 4th car rental in a month and I had too many holds on my credit card (I had also been staying in hotels as well). They did take my debit card but they held out a bit more than they normally do. I have never had a car rental place ask for cash though – most of them do not even take cash. I do normally rent from Enterprise though.

  24. Shadowman615 says:

    This sounds more like the clerk was pulling some kind of a scam. Really, they need cash?

  25. Jim Fletcher says:

    This isn’t necessarily Hertz’s fault… Many Hertz locations are privately owned and operated (called Licensees, just a glorified franchise) and they set many of their own policies.

    Whether or not that’s the case with this location I can’t say for sure, but it certainly sounds that way. Nobody in corporate that you’re going to reach through a toll-free number is going to be able to do anything about it themselves… and it’s likely that even if they tried, it would take quite a bit of corporate hocus-pocus travelling a ways up the ladder before you’d find someone with clout enough to make a difference – and that would take a fair amount of time.

    • floraposte says:

      @Jim Fletcher: As long as Hertz is providing the name, I think they’re obligated to shoulder some of the responsibility, and they deserve scorn if they don’t.

      • Jim Fletcher says:

        @floraposte: I don’t dispute that… the problem is that it would certainly take some time (at the minimum several hours, possibly days/weeks) before someone high enough in the company to make a privately owned location do anything.

        Red tape fail.

        I used to work in the Hertz reservations center… this case isn’t isolated. And it’s always a freakin’ mess. Basically, even the lowest-paid person at a privately-owned location is higher on the food chain than the highest paid person you’re gonna get to talk to through a toll-free number.

  26. Geoff Harrod says:

    @Billy Mills: No because some of us don’t want a word jumble to read. Use vowels… its not a text message

  27. dougp26364 says:

    Having been the victim of credit card fraud involving a rental car agency in Las Vegas, I’d be more concerned about giving them direct access to my bank account than handing over $200 cash and an ATM fee.

    At least when my credit card ID was stolen (apparently double swiped and new cards made) I wasn’t responsible for the charges. If I’d have used a debit card, they might have just emptied my bank account, causing considerably more problems than false charges against a credit card.

    My advice would be to NEVER use a debit card to rent a car.

  28. mythago says:

    Who cares if they could have used a credit card? Hertz allows debit cards. The OP had plenty of slack in his credit card for Hertz to put a hold on the required funds. Instead, the employees demanded cash.

    And if the OP’s wife had handed over cash and gotten ripped off? Guess which Consumerist posters would trip all over themselves to shout at her for being so very, very stupid.

    • sleze69 says:

      @mythago: It says right there in their policy: some locations.

      The other thing about debit vs credit cards is that by accepting the debit card, the company is taking the risk that the customer isn’t going to zero out their account and then steal the car. Visa/MC isn’t going to reimburse them. If it was a credit card, they will get their money.

      If you have $8000 in your checking account, get an Amex blue card with no annual fee and save 1.5% off your rental.

  29. David A Walleser says:

    I’ve had an issue very similar with Hertz before, but it was solved very simply by going to Enterprise. They placed a small hold on my debit card, and had no issues with me not having a credit card.

  30. mizmoose says:

    I stopped renting from Hertz 10+ yrs ago after The Week of 4 Rental Cars. I rented a car to drive from PA to MA & Back.

    The first vehicle they gave me had a registration due to expire in 2 days. 20 mile round trip to replace the car.

    The 2nd vehicle they gave me had broken electronic locks. Sometimes they worked. Sometimes they would only repeatedly “explain” how car locks worked and refused to escalate the call, because I was obviously a moron.

    Stupidly I simply hung up on her and left town. Halfway in, trying to unlock the door made an alarm go off and, even after it finally stopped, the car refused to start. I had to wait for Hertz to send a wrecker with another car, as I was nowhere near an office.

    Car 3 was fine until it got to MA where the “Check Engine” light came on and wouldn’t go off. Hertz first tried to insist I’d put the gas cap on wrong (wtf) then said not to worry about it. I said, “If the engine gets damaged you’ll make me pay for it. REPLACE THIS CAR.” They didn’t want to but they found one.

    Fortunately Car 4 lasted the rest of the trip. When I got home, I bitched up a storm at the rental office. They passed me on to a regional supervisor who said, “We gave you replacement cars, what’s your problem?”

    I’ve been renting from Dollar for 10 yrs. No problems.

  31. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I stopped renting from Hertz at least 6 or 7 years ago. After EVERY rental, there was some scam charge that showed up on my bill that I had to spend 30 minutes to an hour on the phone getting corrected. They clearly bank on the fact that most of their rentals are corporate and those renters don’t care or don’t take the extra time to get the erroneous charges removed. I can’t believe Hertz is still in business.

  32. jsbeagle says:

    It is not a myth that you shouldn’t use a debit card – especially when traveling.

    With a debit card, if you get over charged for something, or your account broken into, your checking account can be wiped out completely. If you’re relying on that debit card to pay for stuff while traveling, you’re really messed up. A credit card doesn’t have to be paid for a month, plenty of time to call them and dispute something.

    If you just can’t handle using a credit card without buying more than you can afford that month, you probably don’t need to be wasting money on travel.

  33. edwardso says:

    I try to use enterprise, the locations do put a more sustantial hold on debit cards, but they disclose this on a sign on the counter so I don’t feel like they are actively trying to discourage the use. They also don’t charge extra for people under 25

  34. key2616 says:

    I travel a LOT for work. I’ve averaged 75k miles in the air for the past 5 years. I rent almost exclusively from Hertz because they’re in every airport I go to (and I go to some really small ones at times) and the service is pretty good most of the time. We have a corporate discount, which is nice too.

    However, I will NOT use Hertz in Salt Lake City again after two bad experiences in a row. The first one, I was blamed by the staff when my car wasn’t in its assigned space. The clerk at the Gold counter actually asked me what I’d done with it and told me it was my responsibility and that she’d start processing the claim. Uh, what? Her supervisor eventually fixed the issue but kept up the assumption that I was either a criminal or a moron.

    The second one, about 4 months later, was flat out scam. They double-billed my credit card and refused to remove the second charge until I got Amex involved. The manager told me over the phone that they’d billed me correctly while admitting she hadn’t looked at the record.

    Everywhere else I go, I love Hertz. The one in Minneapolis is great, and they usually have the cars warm on really cold days.

  35. nakedscience says:

    EVERYONE COMMENTING trying to blame the OP: He was told by CORPORATE that this CASH deposit IS NOT POLICY.

  36. JGKojak says:

    It sounds to me like the Hertz employee wanted to go on a spending spree.

  37. Subsound says:

    This sounds like a scam, and the corp office doesn’t want to deal with it so they trying to make it annoying to contact them.

  38. sspeedracer says:

    “Based on this study, we’re guessing the Hertz staff member who’s doing this needs the cash to pay for online porn.”

    bahahah, consumerist goes cracked style

  39. probablykate says:

    I’ve seen a lot of car rental places with signs saying they don’t accept debit cards for a deposit, but from the comments on here I guess it varies from place to place.

    I was picking up a rental from National a few months ago and the girl ahead of me in line was picking up a rental from them that she had reserved through priceline. National wouldn’t give her the car unless she could provide a credit card in her name for the deposit. She basically got screwed. However, my reservation was through priceline too and I am pretty sure it warns as you make the reservation that you may need a credit card for the deposit.

  40. TimeToChange2000 says:

    @ johnva: You’re soooo right. Why, look at what the large-scale use of lending and credit has accomplished in the western countries!!! I bet those people in the Middle East wish they were just like us right now.

    • johnva says:

      @TimeToChange2000: Yes, I am right. You just have too short-term a perspective, and too limited a viewpoint. Our society is still much better off than most of the poorer people in the Middle East, because most of the oil money is going to a wealthy elite class there since their economies are not very well diversified.

      What leverage does is AMPLIFY human effort. It can amplify gains and losses. What we’re seeing now is amplified losses caused by idiots who took too many risks. But it would be foolish to give up amplified GAINS just because we’re worried about the occasional downturn.

  41. newfenoix says:

    This does not make sense at all. If it is not corporate policy then why is Hertz allowing it to go on?

  42. starbreiz says:

    Hey, not to be rude, but what happened to Consumerist giving posters a bit of assistance, exec phone numbers, encouragement, or even trying to help resolve the issue? Back in the early days, posts were helpful, not just “oh no, look at this, this sucks”. Chances are, the original poster is frustrated, and posting any resources you can in with the post would be helpful, editors.

    That said, I hate dealing with all rental agencies, but I’ve never tried to use a debit card with them. Last time I rented a car for a business trip, my flight landed around 1am, and then Thrifty was out of cars, despite my reservation. When I finally got a vehicle (a ginormous van), I said “no insurance please”, and signed the papers. I was exhausted, and when I returned the car a few days later, I was charged $618 for what was supposed to be $115! It turns out they added on every extra possible and because I signed the papers and didn’t pay attention, I was stuck with it. Luckily, the company sucked it up, but man, was I pissed about it.

  43. Becca Donato- Hardie says:

    My husband and will not use Hertz after they told us REPEATEDLY that we would not have to pay an underage driver fee, and upon arriving in Ireland for our honeymoon held us hostage for an additional 50 or 75 Euro A DAY to pick up the car we’d rented MONTHS before. We also had the great pleasure of receiving a car with ‘non-standard’ (low profile) tires- our first flat delayed us a day because a shop had to track it down to the tune of 150 Euro, and the second one we just turned the car in with the donut because we didn’t have TIME in a major city like Dublin to track down another tire. When we dropped the car off, it took nearly an hour for them to check it back in because nobody knew what to do since the tire was so non-standard it wasn’t even in their system and 10 people had to look at the car. This delay caused us to be JUST late enough to not be able to check in to our flight. While we should have maybe planned to arrive for check-in more than 2.5-3 hours before our flight, the loss of an hour put us at 1 hour and 50 minutes, instead of the required 2, and cost us an additional $1000 in changed flights, and hotel costs. We also had to pay for the second tire replacement through Hertz to about 200 Euro-a premium was assessed because it was hard to find.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I think this was probably a scam, because taking cash is exactly the opposite of what rental agents are supposed to do. They are giving you a car that is probably worth around $15,000 in exchange for $200 cash after they say you failed a credit check? If you decided to not return that car or if you wrecked it they wouldn’t even have a card to charge and basically would be s*** out of luck. For the company it would be a stupid policy to take cash from someone who they already have flagged as a risk because of their credit history. Of course the individual agent doesn’t own the cars, doesn’t have much reason to care about what happens to company property if they don’t like the job, and may have needed some cash.

    Another possibility is that the rental location was desperate for business and trying to work around the credit rejection to complete the rental anyway, but if they were doing it off the books I doubt they would be offering a refund of the deposit in the form of a check rather than cash.

  45. RStui says:

    Hertz is always hardass about credit cards. I tried to get a car for an interview, which the company made the reservation for, but I only had my debit card. They wouldn’t take it, so I left.

    Avis is wonderful, and I’ve used Enterprise occasionally, too. They’re both great. Forget Hertz, though. They are the Suck.