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BEWARE - HERTZ CAR HIRE - NICE (AVE GUSTAVE V)

BEWARE - HERTZ CAR HIRE - NICE (AVE GUSTAVE V)

Old Dec 29th, 2011, 06:51 AM
  #1  
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BEWARE - HERTZ CAR HIRE - NICE (AVE GUSTAVE V)

A wary tale concerning Hertz Car Hire in Avenue Gustave V in Nice.

We booked a car hire from there several weeks in advance and received confirmation...we also alerted them that we would be collecting the car as soon as they opened on the day as we had to be in St Tropez straight after... which they also confirmed.

We booked it from Avenue Gustav V office because it was 1 minute from our appartment in Nice.

Well, we arrived on the day at opening time to be met by a very unhappy woman who told us that they had no cars at the moment but one car (ours) was due back sometime that morning before 12:00 but couldn't say what time....I checked that we hadn't accidently stumbled into a chemist shop and that this was actually Hertz car rental and renting cars is what they did......(If anyone remembers the Cheese Shop sketch from Monty Python then this applies)

She said that they had cars at the other branch by the railway station (which was at the other end of Nice and where we explicitly didn't want to go to because of the distance and we had suitcases ). I said that was not what was agreed but could they get someone to drive one of the cars over to us now?.....not possible was the 'cheery' rejoinder as they were short staffed...my wife and I and our cases had to go there ourselves if we definitely wanted a car that morning.

We both schleped with our cases to the SNCF (Railway Station) branch of Hertz. To be met by another solitary misearble woman..and there was now a queue....we eventually got a car and the entire process took almost 3 hours and much marital stress.

On returning the car 3 days later we arrived during the sacred French lunchtime....12:30...and the office was closed ...as was the garage where the cars were stored....!

Our joy was boundless........
Byshhe is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 10:47 AM
  #2  
 
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Oh, this must be your first trip anywhere if you think that a car reservation guarantees a car (even in the US) or that agencies are open at times just to suit you.

If this event caused much marital stress, I recommend a divorce as soon as possible, because this is the sort of event that makes loving couples break out laughing.
kerouac is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 11:00 AM
  #3  
 
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I don´t recommend either Hertz or Avis in France as they are the only two rental companies that charge one way fees (within France).

However, your experience is quite typical for rentals from any of the companies. Cars are never guaranteed to be available at any specific time and if someone is not capable of driving a car with a standard transmission, an automatic from an office other than a large airport is very problematic even if you have a reservation for one.

If you want to confirm your reservation, do it the day before pickup by calling the pickup office directly. Only then will they have a good idea of the next day´s availability.

Finally, if you reserved for an in town pickup, airport pickups usually incur an additional 30€ to 40€ location surcharge paid at drop off. Something you might see coming up on your next credit card statement.
Sarastro is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 11:52 AM
  #4  
 
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At its best rental car from fly by nights is fraught with peril.They say that Italian car rental agents cheat you with
a smile.French agents cheat you with a frown.Personally
a big fan of train or eurodrive leases way cheaper and
more efficient service.
qwovadis is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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well I think that you're being a bit hard on the OP. is it really unreasonable to arrive on time at a car hire office expecting to pick up the car you've booked and they have confirmed in advance?

the OP, as I read it, is not saying that she couldn't have the car she wanted, she couldn't have ANY car. She doesn't mention an automatic nor the airport so i don't follow what Sarastro is getting at.

personally i think i might have sat it out in the office [perhaps in relays with my spouse] whilst I phoned head office and gave them hell.

as for returns out of office hours, just put the keys through the letter box. after taking photos of the car, of course.

and when you get home, write a letter to the MD and customer services telling them why you won't use them again.
annhig is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 12:21 PM
  #6  
 
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I had the Academy as part of an Expedia package and was very happy with the flight/hotel combo price. I went in may 2010.

Found the hotel to be efficient, beds vey comfortable, staff professional, breaksfast good but pricy. I did not use their outdoor area, nor afternoon tea. Nice touch was business cards from them with my name and room phone number printed on it.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 01:20 PM
  #7  
 
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I feel what OP experienced is something I have experienced elsewhere also, and I consider these events as a part of the cost of renting a car. When I compare whether to rent a car or not, I go through all likely scenarios, such as this one, and compare options. Some of the events associated with a car rental can really foul up an itinerary. I incorporate at least half day into my rental schedule to deal with paper work issues, office hours, breakdown, accidents, etc.
greg is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 01:24 PM
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She doesn't mention an automatic nor the airport so i don't follow what Sarastro is getting at.

Let me be more clear. The OP payed for an in town pickup where no location surcharges will apply and none were included in the original quote. However, picking up at either a train station or airport will likely trigger a location surcharge (which is what the OP did). These surcharges are applied to the credit card used in the original rental payment and not charged until the car is dropped off. It´s possible that if this was a recent rental that the OP may have additional surprises when his credit card statement arrives. Frequent renters know to avoid train station/airport pickups if possible.

Further, the OP obviously expects a level of service that is simply not offered by rental companies in France. Cars may not be available when anticipated, categories may not be available, and offices do close for lunch and are often not open on weekends/holidays.

Taking photos might be a complete waste of time unless you can time/date stamp the image. It is much better to know when the office is open (don´t simply assume) and return the car to an employee who can verify the car´s condition on the spot.

Certainly one may complain about service but the reaction from a rental company´s customer service department may not at all be what you expect.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 01:30 PM
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I've been lucky and never had a problem in France, but this Saturday, I arrived at the airport in COlumbus Ohio around noon and Budget had no cars for me even though I had made a reservation at least a month in advance. Thanks a lot Budget, will never rent from them again. They are partners with Avis and Avis didn't have any either. I had go go around to every car rental company and finally got one at Hertz at about triple the rate I had booked.

When on vacation, I do actually have some backup plan in case such a thing happens, even though it never has. The backup plan is basically to take the train or something to my next destination, if possible, or as close as I can get and then a taxi. Or to take a taxi to another location of theirs if they call around and find a car (although I think they should bring it to you).

The OP had a much better experience than I did at CMH as in Nice they said they'd have a car in what sounds like a few hours.

As for the offices being closed in France, I look those up during my planning phase so I know their hours.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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ya shudda took one of those expensive taxi's you were whining about on another thread. Attitude is everything, and you seem to have a bad one.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 04:36 PM
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At its best rental car from fly by nights is fraught with peril.

Herz is a fly-by-night operator?
Michael is online now  
Old Dec 29th, 2011, 10:47 PM
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Perfect response ziggypop!
cathies is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2011, 12:30 AM
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As a business traveler, I had this happen in the US on more than one occasion. All happened at city center pickup points, never at airports. If they have rented all the cars they have room for and those cars are not returned on time, what are they to do? It is the same problem as overbooking hotel rooms and airline seats. We don't like to pay for excess capacity in the industry, and sometimes we suffer for it.

My worst was having to drive from Boston to Worcester on the MassPike in a pickup at 90 mph. Did I reserve a pickup? No, but it was the first thing to come in. Did I make my consulting job? Yes, but it was fraught. Now I don't pick up cars except at the airport (or railway station in Europe).

It stinks, but it is one of those realities that make travel stressful, and I now try to have a Plan B.
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Old Dec 30th, 2011, 01:28 AM
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Basically, there are those of us who rent cars quite regularly and have had this sort of incident more than once. Everybody hates it, but we know that cars are not going to drop out of the sky with parachutes no matter how loudly you complain when there are no cars available.

Then there is the other group of people who rent very rarely and are totally dumbfounded and outraged that this sort of thing could possibly happen. These people are usually the same ones who don't understand how flights can be overbooked.

Well, yes, these things happen. Since I worked at Avis in a previous life, I can assure you that agencies do everything possible to find more cars when they run out, particularly if they have reservations that they cannot honor. Believe it or not, they do not enjoy being yelled at or even to have someone burst into tears in the agency. Back when I worked at Avis, we had something like 8 agencies inside the city back then and we kept in constant contact whenever there was a situation on the horizon -- trying to find a luxury car or a couple of "category A" cars or whatever. And if that did not work, we started calling agencies in the suburbs and would also share information with Hertz, Europcar and the other confreres to see who had what on hand.

Usually, the very best contingency plan for someone who is not in a total emergency deadline situation is to ask the agency if they are expecting any returns in the next few hours -- most agencies are, and there are also the unexpected returns. I don't mind taking an "unserviced" car practically out of the hands of the returning driver as long as the interior is relatively clean (I don't give a hoot about how filthy or muddy the outside might be.). This is such a relief to the agency that they don't mind giving a considerable upgrade at no extra charge under such circumstances.
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Old Dec 30th, 2011, 02:01 AM
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Basically, there are those of us who rent cars quite regularly and have had this sort of incident more than once. Everybody hates it, but we know that cars are not going to drop out of the sky with parachutes no matter how loudly you complain when there are no cars available.

Then there is the other group of people who rent very rarely and are totally dumbfounded and outraged that this sort of thing could possibly happen. These people are usually the same ones who don't understand how flights can be overbooked.>>

well kerouac, i fall into the former category and thoroughly disagree with you. whatever happened to customer service? if the only place they can guarantee supplying a car as booked, or even just a car is the airport, why do we have to pay surcharges to pick-up there? surely it should be the other way round, with them then charging to deliver the car to the "downtown" office?

in fact, my experience of car hire has been pretty good, though the firm in SA that expected us to replace the burst tyre ourselves did not get top marks. I don't expect the exact car I've booked, but I do expect a car, and so far, I've always had one.

and the difference with flying is obvious - if the airline overbooks, the passenger is offered compensation, not told to get a taxi to the next airport on the off-chance they night get a flight from there!

and in these days of modern technology, why no phone call to the customer to explain?
annhig is offline  
Old Dec 30th, 2011, 03:34 AM
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I disagree with the insult being tossed at this poster as well.

I have never encountered the problem described in my many, many, many car rentals in italy, and the few time I have specifically double-checked and emphasized that the car be available when I arrived, the reassurances I received were real.

I would have expected Hertz to pay my taxi fare to the other side of Nice if they told me I had to go there. And I would have expected to be moved to the head of the line when I arrived.

If I ever have an experience like the OP, I am hardly going to shrug my shoulders and say: "On, what else should I expect in France (or the US). it's not Italy." I'm going to do what I can to get reimbursed for the false advertising/contract, and warn other people to steer clear of wherever it happened.
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Old Dec 30th, 2011, 03:43 AM
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Also, may I just take a moment to note here that the Fodor's Europe's posters who are now or were formerly car rental agents, property-rental owners, or tour guide operators display the same knee-jerk reactions whenever travelers come to this board with a legitimate warning to other travelers that some people in the travel industry don't deliver services as promised. They rush in to defend the business owner, with insults to the whistleblower.

This board is for travelers, looking for help and to give help to other travelers so that the precious days of a vacation or dream-trip to Europe are not ruined by thoughtless, careless vendors. People are looking to eliminate problems from their trips. That's why they come here.

To make fun of such people with a "s*** happens" doesn't seem sophisticated or knowledgeable to me. It is rather missing the point entirely.
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Old Dec 30th, 2011, 03:48 AM
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Totally agree with zeppole, have rented as well many many cars all over Europe ( for both business and leisure) and not even once did i encounter a problem of this kind.
In the occasion that the class of the car that i had booked was not available, i was always given a higher category car, at no extra charge of course.
OP has absolutely right on being angry, i would personally take a taxi and send the receipt to Hertz.
In Europe clients have certain rights, that cannot be ignored, be it an overbooking of a hotel or airline, or a car company.
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Old Dec 30th, 2011, 04:16 AM
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My agency paid for taxis. I never said that the person should not be angry -- I'm just saying that the situation happens from time to time, and at times like that one should be realistic.

Who really believes that a car will appear just be complaining?

And when travel industry people defend other travel industry people, believe me, it is because so many of these complaints are totally undocumented and completely fallacious. Some people will actually claim that no cars were available just because the car they specifically wanted was not available and 5 other "unsuitable" cars were proposed to them. The only misstep by Hertz in the tale told here was not offering to reimburse the taxi to the train station.

A car was indeed supposed to be at the Gustave V agency, but it had not been returned on time. This is something over which no agency has control, unless you think that each agency should keep a hidden supply of extra cars just in case this sort of thing happens. Yes, customer service can be improved, and they can indeed do this, but you will see it fully reflected in the rates, and you might not like that.
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Old Dec 30th, 2011, 04:54 AM
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Yes, customer service can be improved, and they can indeed do this, but you will see it fully reflected in the rates, and you might not like that.>>

well, Hertz aren't exactly cheap, are they? if I rent for peanuts through rent-a-wreck , then i deserve what i [don't] get, but i actually do expect Hertz to have some cars in reserve for exactly this contingency. not many, just one or two. I agree that they don't have control over what is brought back, but they do have control over how many cars they keep available in each location. and if they knew that they might not be able to fulfil the contract [which is what it was, after all] the night before, they could have brought a car over from the airport - they always have loads there. perhaps you can explain why there's always a surcharge to rent from an airport - it seems very odd to me when that's where most of the cars end up anyway.

you have no reason to suppose that the OP isn't being accurate when she says there were no other cars available at all, do you?
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