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Reminder: Always Double Check Your Reservations Before Traveling (Especially With Hertz)

by on July 12, 2011 · 23 comments

in Hertz, Points Guy Pointers

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I have to admit, I am not the most organized traveler. I often don’t make reservations until the last minute and when I do, I rarely print out the confirmation. Perhaps I trust electronic travel booking way too much or I don’t like wasting paper – I never print confirmations (which has gotten me in trouble in the past with immigration officers who want proof of return tickets). I know I should do it – at least when traveling internationally, but I rarely have access to a printer and it always ends up working out, so I have gotten into this bad habit of “going with the flow.”

Today, I got burned by that habit. I had reserved a car with Hertz, but it doesn’t participate in #1 rewards and you can only make reservations over the phone. When I was in Madrid, I Skyped the Hertz #1 desk and for about 30 minutes confirmed a reservation for a convertible. The woman went through every single pain-staking detail of the reservation, including that I cannot “drive the vehicle outside of the country.” No worries ma’am- I hope to not drive the car into the ocean! (Maurtius is an island nation).

She quadruple confirmed the rate/insurance/etc etc etc etc so I thought I’d be set upon landing in Mauritius. Wrong. I breezed through immigration in less than 2 minutes and surprisingly my bag was also on the carousel (bravo Air Mauritius and MRU airport baggage handlers!), yet the Hertz rep just gave me a bizarre look when I gave him my name. He only had 1 reservation that day and was not interested in helping me create a new one. Something about their office being closed. Weird.

Since I had a great experience with Europcar for my Costa Brava adventure, I walked over to their counter and the rep immediately offered to get me a car – even a convertible at the same price Hertz had quoted me. The only catch was that it would have to be delivered to my hotel, but he arranged a taxi for me (at my expense) to my hotel – which ended up being 40 euros.

So in the end it all worked out, but I wasted 30 minutes fixing the error, but I should have re-confirmed with Hertz before hopping on my 11.5 hour flight from CDG-MRU. Just a friendly reminder to all of you to do the same.

PS: I am going to write to Hertz to let them know my dissatisfaction with the situation. Do you think I am owed any compensation? I’m thinking I’d be happy with a voucher in the amount of the extra cab ride cost that I wouldn’t have had to pay if they’d had my car as originally reserved. Then again I wasted an hour of my time between making the reservation and making the new one at Mauritius airport. Or should I just drop it and be thankful I have the opportunity to even be in Mauritius? Thoughts?

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  • Afkabp

    I would let Hertz know. In my experiences with them they are very service driven. They need to know this kind of thing is happening. By report it you can help future travelers avoid this hassle.

    I had a similar situation with another rental car company. They had overbooked their rentals and when I got there they that no cars available. I had to take a 2 hour cab ride to my hotel. I fought with them for about 3 months before they finally reimbursed me for the cab ride. Lesson learned, the hard way.

  • Muerl

    My experience with hertz and problems was very positive. I was told the wrong thing about day rates and emailed after I got my final bill, and they gave me back to the original price I was quoted.

    The $60 went a long ways to making me rent from them again

  • Pete

    Few years back but Hertz in London burned me over a parcel shelf that they claimed was missing after I returned the car. It was bizarre as I hadn’t used the trunk of the car at any point. The worst part was that this was ‘found’ after I had left the office so I had no recourse to check. I argued for months with them and they refused to accept anything I said. I will never use Hertz again

  • http://cheeseweb.eu Andrew

    If you are running Windows, you can avoid printing to paper by installing CutePDF (http://www.cutepdf.com/) … it’s free and allows you to print to a PDF just like you would print to a printer.

  • Scott

    What’s the point of claiming you’re a global car rental company if reservation systems aren’t synced up? Guessing they didn’t email you a confirmation #? If so, I’d say you deserve at least the 40 Euro you lost especially since you’re in Hertz #1 Cub Gold.

  • http://blog.infomofo.com infomofo

    I manage all my travel information by forwarding confirmation mails to tripit. Your amex plat membership should give you a free tripit pro membership, so I would give it a try. It analyzes the mails for useful information and stores it on their website and app in an easy to manage fashion, but also retains the original text of the mail so you have it handy whenever you need it.

  • Anonymous

    My personal experience in Europe has been the same, even with printed confirmations. I show the class of car I request and come back with a smaller car. I’ve called Hertz AMERICA and they say they can’t help me. Had a car brake on me one time, then had it towed went to the nearest Hertz which had confirmed a replacement car, when I get there they don’t know what I’m talking about. Luckily for me I had a Friend who spoke the language and made it very clear to her I was getting a car no matter what. I ended up getting a car because of him. I called Hertz and there response “Sorry, Hertz Europe is a franchisee and we have very little control”…. Oh did I tell you I’m president’s circle? Now, I’ve learned smiling and excessive brown nosing works. Heck they even let me bring back the car on the days they close.

  • brazilflyer333

    If you are “on the clock” in this new full-time blogging job while traveling, then why not pursue Hertz with this complaint. Whatever you learn from the experience, all your followers will benefit from.

  • Anonymous

    Good point- I’m going to go that route and will keep you updated on the end result.

  • Anonymous

    Not acceptable treatment- I’ll let you know how Hertz responds to me.

  • Anonymous

    Ive been meaning to look into the TripitPro benefit of the Plat card- thanks for the reminder!

  • Anonymous

    I am on Mac- is anything available that you are aware of?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the advice- I’m definitely going to bring it to their attention and will report back!

  • barbyoung

    There should be a “Save as PDF” button in your Mac’s File>Print dialog box. (Newer) Macs can inherently make PDFs; no extra software required.

  • Rob Perelman

    Kayak.com has a section of their web site to organize your trips. You can forward confirmation emails for flights or hotels, or you can enter the information manually. They have an Android app that automatically syncs with the web site. I never have to print anything out, but I always have all the confirmation numbers, prices, etc. in my pocket as long as my cell phone has battery power left. Check it out.

  • Rmac2

    I may be a bit old fashioned, but I copy and paste confirmation info, ticket info, etc. into calendar appointments on my Berry. Always works for me!

  • Julian

    Don’t you have a smart phone? Couldn’t you just show them the confirmation email from that? No need for Mac/pdfs in that case.

  • Bonnie

    I highly recommend TripIt Pro! It’s been a lifesaver for my back to back trips and helping me stay organized and making my family aware of where I’m at :)

  • Jessica

    My husband and I had a similar situation in both the Seychelles and Mauritius. Apparently they only get updates from the US once a month or something so our rental cars booked a couple weeks before our honeymoon did not “make it” to the Seychelles. When we arrived in Mauritius 2 weeks later, the person at the counter acknowledged our reservation but would not accept the rate we reserved at. After an hour of negotiation (and checking with availability of other counters), we had a car. We learned it’s Africa – things aren’t quite the same. US travelers aren’t common in Mauritius and some people did try to take advantage of that. Most of the Europeans that come are on packages with their hotels, transportation, etc. all included. We stayed at the Hilton and I was told that maybe 50 Americans a year visit the hotel; it was a bit strange to have all the staff at the hotel say my name as soon as I started talking since they could tell I was the American with my accent. One waitress we had said that although she had been watching American TV & movies and listening to the music for years, she didn’t meet her first American until she was 18. Sometimes it felt like you found a secret land!

    Enjoy your time in ile maurice! If I had to pick one thing to visit, make a trip to the Ile aux Cerfs. Since you have a car, just drive to the city where the boats departs and pick up a tour; no need for reservations. There are plenty of people who will sell you a trip across to the island along with a visit to a waterfall and lunch. The colored earths are also very cool. And if you need a large quantity of toothbrushes or knockoff clothing, visit the market in Port Louis.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tips! I’m loving Mauritius so far, but I’ve been pretty lazy (which isn’t such a bad thing here).

    My cab driver told me I was his third American passenger in 15 years of driving!

    I kinda like being a novelty ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/skyvan Andrew Fielding

    I’m not that organized either but i’ve started using TripitPro, just like infomofo says, it’s really worth it.

  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    you should complain!

  • http://twitter.com/adroit Ken Melby

    I use Evernote (evernote.com) and send all my confirmations there. They have a mobile app for most smart phones so you always have the pertinent information.

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