I want to warn other people about car hire from Hertz in Orlando as I had a particularly bad experience with them recently. I booked and paid £451.12 in the UK for an economy car to be collected at Orlando International Airport. The car was described as a Kia Rio or similar which would take 4 passengers and 2 small suitcases. I was travelling alone with one suitcase so that was fine for me.
When I arrived at the airport I was told that they didn't have that car available but could either provide a Smart car which takes 2 people but no suitcases or I could upgrade at a cost of $12 per day. I refused. What then followed was 1.5 hours of what could only be described as bullying. The agent would look at his computer and tell me that another car had gone while I was standing there after a 9 hour flight feeling more and more exhausted. During that time the agent reduced the upgrade cost from $12/day to $10/day to $8/day and eventually $5/day. This might not sound a lot but I had already paid £450 and this car was being hired for 27 days. Eventually out of deperation I agreed to the $5/day but told the agent that I was not satisfied and would not leave the matter there.
I was given instructions and paperwork to locate the 'car'. After going over to the garage I found that the 'car' was a huge people carrier. Further down the garage was a nice, little Mazda 2 which would have suited me. I went all the way back to the terminal building, told the agent in no uncertain terms that I was not prepared to take a people carrier, and demanded that he locate the car that I had agreed to. I did also say that I would be very happy with the Mazda 2 but was told it had been reserved. Wasn't that what I had done in booking and paying for an economy car before I left the UK? Anyway, after another 30-45 minutes I eventually managed to leave the airport. I landed mid-afternoon but by the time I left it was completely dark outside!
I was left very upset by the whole experience but a couple of days later when I had time to calm down again I read the terms and conditions of hire online. Hertz state that they cannot guarantee that the car booked will be available (not sure why when it is booked so far in advance) but if it isn't available, another car will be provided that is equivalent (a Smart car isn't equivalent) and if that isn't possible then an upgrade will be provided at NO EXTRA CHARGE! I think that is clear enough and wish I had included that mountain of paperwork with me.
I contacted Hertz by email and after a 10-day wait they replied saying that they couldn't deal with the matter while the car was still on-hire. When I returned the car to the airport at the end of my stay, I complained again. After 30 minutes of expressing my disgust with Hertz who are, after all, supposed to be a reputable company, the agent told me that she would look into the matter and email the following day. She did that, told me that having viewed the tape of my hire experience, I had been kept waiting a long time and she would refund the extra hire charge. What she didn't do was adjust the tax charged and so I still ended up paying more than I should have.
There was another incident at the same time that I was arguing with the agent at the start of the hire. The agent next to me was dealing with an elderly gentleman and she was telling him about paying for gas up front. I think she had been trained to sprout this information very quickly!!! The gentleman asked her to repeat what she had said at which point she turned to the agent dealing with me and said, "what is so difficult to understand about that?" I was appalled!
I can't believe that my experience was an isolated incident and I think that it is time that car hire companies in holiday destinations who continue to bully people, that they know are tired after a long flight, should be named and shamed!