Hertz / unprofessional behavior

United Kingdom

Regarding reservation # H31802230F8 on Oct 4, 2017 in Inverness Scotland.
This was the car rental from Hell. The absolute worse car rental experience of my life, and I have been renting cars all over world since the 1970's.
Some of the blame can be placed on the International Reservations Center in Dublin, it was from the spoken information and info from a reservation confirmation email, that this nightmare began.
We had reserved a car to be picked up at the rail station in Inverness, Scotland. We were traveling from London by sleeper train and told to call the phone number on the email about 15 minutes prior to disembarking the train in Inverness, and a car would be delivered to the train station from the Hertz airport location. When I called the number from my mobile phone (I had purchased the phone in London specifically to ensure I could make this call from the train), NOTHING happened. No answering service, no recording, no busy signal, NOTHING. I kept calling the number over and over and over and over until we disembarked the train. By that time I assumed something was wrong with this brand new phone, although it had worked perfectly in the phone store two days earlier. So we went into the rail station to try another phone. As it turns out there was no public phone at all in the station, and so I was directed to a pay phone somewhere outside in the town, which took me another 15 minutes to eventually find. So again I called the number, again and again, and again NOTHING happened. NOTHING. I thought I must be doing something wrong, so I stopped a passer-by outside the phone box who looked local, and asked if they could show me how to work the phone. They graciously agreed, and after they tried to call this number, yes you guessed it, NOTHING happened. So by this time my already anxious wife, who had been stuck guarding our luggage in the rail station for over 30 minutes by this time was REALLY upset. So my last resort at this time was to call the telephone operator (for the third time) and plead for help. The operator tried, he ran diagnostics on the phone, he asked his Supervisor, his Supervisor asked his Supervisor, nobody could figure out why this number would not work. Finally they found a communications engineer who determined that the number must be a “Premier Number”, which turns out to be un-dialable from either a pay phone or any mobile/cellular phone. So now it's been over 45 minutes since I left my wife in the station, and I still have NOTHING. In desperation, I ask the operator to find the number and connect me with Hertz International Reservations in Dublin, which he did, I explained the problem and I was told by them to get a cab to the Hertz airport office. So I get back to the rail station almost an hour after I had left looking for a phone booth and all I can tell my wife is that there is still no car, and on top of that, now we have to find a cab and drive for 20 more minutes. I won't repeat what she said about Hertz.
So we arrive at the airport office extremely weary and frustrated, but this is where the experience really becomes so unprofessional it's hard to believe I'm talking about Hertz, supposedly a world class car rental company. My reservation is for five days, but because the drop off time is listed for an hour later than the pickup time, they want to charge me an extra day, but it's already well over an hour later than the planned pick up time, so we tell them that the extra day charge is unacceptable. Seemingly unable to navigate the software to make the pickup time change, the manager was summoned, who also could not make the change. So numerous phone calls were made, and lots of options verbalized to me, including changing the insurance rate to bring the price back to a five day total. It was a long and awful situation and we felt the agent was acting in a devious and underhanded fashion, which was taking its toll on us, to the point where we wanted to walk out and go to another car rental company, whereupon we were told we would not get as good a 'walk-in rate' as we were getting with Hertz. So another phone call was made and this time it seemed to get things straightened out. So I sign the contract and tell the agent that I want to be shown fully how to use all the vehicle controls and instrument technology before we drive away. Fine, I am told. And we are handed the key fob and proceed to the car, whereupon we are shown all the damage (it had been hit in multiple places). I'm told to move the car from its location, which was extremely tightly parked and at a 60 degree angle to the car in front and was told to drive this 'obstacle course' (before I even knew how to release the electronic hand brake). I start the vehicle and the alarm system starts up and will not stop. I ask an attendant nearby if he knows how to shut it off and he just shrugs. I did not want to risk hitting the car in front so I asked that cars be moved so I could get out, meanwhile nobody seems to care that the car alarm is VERY loud and continuously blaring. The rental agent who agreed to show me the controls finally comes out and tries desperately to shut off the alarm. He is unable to do so. Finally determining that this vehicle had been in an accident and had not been flagged as such by the Valet Service, the vehicle was abandoned, and back we go inside to start the contract paperwork all over again. Another car is found, but by this time so many other customers had arrived, the agent had become noticeably flustered and rushed. We never received any instruction regarding the operation of the controls, which leads me now to perhaps the worst aspect of this nightmare car rental.
The vehicle was equipped with an electronic brake that requires specific knowledge of its function in order to operate it, which of course I did not have, and the lack of it caused numerous embarrassing and potentially life threatening situations. (Of course there was no user manual in the vehicle to assist us) As if that weren't enough, the vehicle was equipped with a fuel-saving feature that actually shuts the engine off, when the vehicle comes to a stop, regardless of where you are, you may be in traffic on a hill, or at a roundabout (there's a million of them in the UK) or you may be in a traffic jam in a congested city center, no matter where you come to a stop, the engine just cuts out. In a vehicle with automatic transmission, this function is manageable without actually knowing how to operate it, but with a manual transmission as we had, it is a menace! Knowing that the vehicle has this advanced technology would be one thing, knowing how to use it would be another, but not having any clue what is making the engine cut out at such crucial times was SO DANGEROUS!!!
This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation and while not the only problem, this Hertz experience ruined every day we had to drive that car, dreading the next time the engine would shut off and if we were going to be alive to talk about it.
It is unconscionable that Hertz would offer vehicles of this type without making absolutely certain that its customers thoroughly understand the operation of these features and explain the controls in full. This rental office should be severely reprimanded for its gross negligence and ineptitude, not to mention its total lack of customer service and satisfaction. Unbelievable!

This was such an exhausting, time wasting, traumatic and life threatening experience, that my wife and I will not be satisfied with anything less than a complete refund, and a voucher for another five day car rental equivalent in value to the above mentioned car rental. This voucher should have an open-ended expiration, and a guarantee that if we experience a similar situation again of such reckless endangerment then the compensation will be double the value.

Oct 18, 2017

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