Rental car customers are always in a tricky spot when it comes to explaining damage on the cars they’re driving. Was it there beforehand? Who is responsible? Hertz is in some hot water with Australia’s consumer protection body over dodgy treatment of customer claims.
Hertz makes nearly a million rental bookings per year in Australia (1.89 million in the two years from January 2014 to December 2015), and from November 2013 to August of last year, the ACCC says Hertz told some of its customers that they were responsible for the repair costs of damage sustained before their bookings.
Hertz then told customers they would have to pay for the repair of this damage, and charged them an amount that it said was the cost of the repairs — despite the fact that Hertz received significant discounts on spare parts for its vehicle fleet from suppliers.
After the ACCC’s action, Hertz will have to contact affected customers to offer them refunds for their charges in the cases of pre-existing damage, and will change its process of assessing cars when damage is reported to determine which rental customer is responsible rather than simply blaming the customer that reported it.
This doesn’t change the fact that as a rental car customer — whether car-sharing through a company like GoGet or Hertz 24/7 — you should always do a complete walk-around of the car you’re about to rent. It’ll save you a lot of headache if there is an issue and you report it straight away. [ACCC]