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New Hertz unethical currency conversion fee of 2.75%

New Hertz unethical currency conversion fee of 2.75%

Old Jun 30, 10, 10:30 am
  #1  
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New Hertz unethical currency conversion fee of 2.75%

If you rent a car abroad and pay with a US issued credit card, Hertz will add its 2.75% currency exchange charge in addition to the currency exchange fee your credit card company charges.

This practice is completely unethical, since Hertz is not paid in dollars so that it can justify a currency conversion fee. On a recent trip to Germany, I paid for car rental with a Capital One card, which does not pass the conversion fee to customers. I was however charged a conversion fee by Hertz.

Here is their answer:


Dear Mrs. _____:

Thank you for your recent inquiry. We appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

We apologize for any misunderstanding concerning the charges billed for the Customer Preferred Currency Conversion (CPCC). CPCC replaces the currency conversion normally carried out by your credit card company when you use your credit card to make transactions in a foreign currency. Hertz uses a commercial daily rate of exchange provided by a reputable foreign exchange dealer for the day we bill the charges to your account. A CPCC administration fee of up to 2.75% of the transaction is billed to the rental contract. This fee will replace the currency conversion administration charge usually made by your card issuer. By signing the declaration on the Rental Record, you agree to us arranging the conversion and to pay the administration fee. According to our records, Mr. _______ accepted this billing option.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to review this matter. We appreciate your business and look forward to being able to serve you again.

Sincerely,

Customer Correspondence Administrator
OKC Customer Services
The Hertz Corporation
P.O. Box 26120
14501 Hertz Quail Springs Parkway
Oklahoma City, OK 73134
U.S.A.
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Old Jun 30, 10, 11:25 am
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Sounds like this is one of those situations in which a company offers to charge you in U.S. dollars "for your convenience," and then they add on a fee for the privilege. I always insist being charged in local currency, because I know that Visa will add on a 1% foreign transaction charge, anyhow.

The trick is to catch them doing this before they run the charge. I've had them do the conversion and present me with the charge slip before I knew what they were doing.

In any event, I appreciate the heads up. I have an upcoming Hertz rental in a foreign country, so I'll be on the lookout for this language.

FWIW, I agree with the "completely unethical" part!
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Old Jun 30, 10, 3:41 pm
  #3  
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From the reply, it seems that you signed an agreement to be billed in USD and so were billed in USD rather then EUR. You can decline to be charged in USD and be billed in EUR, it is not mandatory

If you signed an agreement to the billing option, then how is there anything wrong with it?

Dave
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Old Jul 1, 10, 12:57 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
If you signed an agreement to the billing option, then how is there anything wrong with it?
Because it's a redundant, unnecessary, and deceptive money grab. Very few people would agree to this if they knew about it. Last time this happened to me (at the HI CDG), the charge was rung up as USD without my asking. If I weren't running to catch the shuttle, I would have corrected it right there, but I let it slide. Just because I signed it doesn't make it right.
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Old Jul 1, 10, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by mikew99 View Post
Because it's a redundant, unnecessary, and deceptive money grab. Very few people would agree to this if they knew about it. Last time this happened to me (at the HI CDG), the charge was rung up as USD without my asking. If I weren't running to catch the shuttle, I would have corrected it right there, but I let it slide. Just because I signed it doesn't make it right.
Actually, you would be surprised how many people do prefer to do it and hopefully to know exactly what they will be charged ( there is a flaw in that some banks will still charge foreign currency fees ). There is nothing deceptive about it and , depending on the bank's foreign fees may possibly actually be better

If you don't want DCC, then make sure not to sign to agree to it when renting

Dave
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Old Jul 1, 10, 1:33 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Actually, you would be surprised how many people do prefer to do it and hopefully to know exactly what they will be charged ( there is a flaw in that some banks will still charge foreign currency fees ). There is nothing deceptive about it and , depending on the bank's foreign fees may possibly actually be better
That's the rub: Not only does the fee usually exceed what the bank would charge, but as you point out, the bank charges you a foreign transaction charge even if the amount is denominated in USD -- so, you pay twice. (That's not a "flaw", it's a money grab, and it's by design.)

The deceptive part is when they run the charge without your consent (forcing you to opt-out), make it sound like an advantage (when it usually isn't), and/or bury the charge agreement in the fine print.

Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
If you don't want DCC, then make sure not to sign to agree to it when renting
Learned that part the hard way and hope to prevent others from making the same mistake.
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Old Jul 1, 10, 1:59 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
From the reply, it seems that you signed an agreement to be billed in USD and so were billed in USD rather then EUR. You can decline to be charged in USD and be billed in EUR, it is not mandatory

If you signed an agreement to the billing option, then how is there anything wrong with it?

Dave
I was wondering the same.

Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
If you don't want DCC, then make sure not to sign to agree to it when renting
Exactly. As with any contract, one should not sign it if one as not actually read it and/or does not understand it.
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Old Jul 1, 10, 2:00 am
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Originally Posted by oklAAhoma View Post
I was wondering the same.



Exactly. As with any contract, one should not sign it if one has not actually read it and/or does not understand it.
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Old Jul 1, 10, 4:09 am
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Originally Posted by mikew99 View Post
That's the rub: Not only does the fee usually exceed what the bank would charge, but as you point out, the bank charges you a foreign transaction charge even if the amount is denominated in USD -- so, you pay twice. (That's not a "flaw", it's a money grab, and it's by design.)
That is a feature of only *some* banks ; doesn't happen with all but def would want to avoid DCC if they do

I read contracts before signing and definitely cross out / reject DCC whenever it exists, but if I agreed, could hardly complain later

Dave
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Old Jul 1, 10, 1:54 pm
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I had DCC occur at a NZ Caravan park. The charge was in NZ Dollars but I got credited back in NZ $ and rebilled in US$. Approx 3% was the currency charge. Since it was an inexpensive cabin, the 3% amounted to about $1.25--not worth my time to dispute it. I just won't stay with their chain on my next trip to NZ unless it is a great deal & I will pay in cash.

I had numerous places in Europe (especially Ireland) try the DCC on my credit card charges but it takes alot of time to get it reversed. Usually, they automatically charge in US$ even though I verbally tell the merchant to charge me in their native currency. (Euros, pounds, etc).

When I am in Ireland, I will just take my $ out of the ATM and pay in cash. Too much hassle on smaller purchases to request the merchant to charge me in Euros.

For my German car rentals, I use a reputable USA company to prepay the car rental in US$. Usually less than booking on the websites.
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Old Jul 3, 10, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
If you signed an agreement to the billing option, then how is there anything wrong with it?

Dave
Seems a reasonable thing to say if there was a separate line item to accept or decline (like the LDW). If instead it's buried in the contract, the above response is on the lame side. When was the last time you stood there reading your car rental contract before driving off? It's a fairly complicated document.
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Old Jul 6, 10, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by MojaveFlyer View Post
When was the last time you stood there reading your car rental contract before driving off? It's a fairly complicated document.
Aren't "fairly complicated" documents precisely those which one should spend the most time reading?
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Old Jul 6, 10, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by MojaveFlyer View Post
Seems a reasonable thing to say if there was a separate line item to accept or decline (like the LDW). If instead it's buried in the contract, the above response is on the lame side. When was the last time you stood there reading your car rental contract before driving off? It's a fairly complicated document.
When I pick up a car, the rental agreement is a fairly simple 1 sheet of A4 so hardly difficult to read. I don't tend to sign documents without reading 1st
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Old Jul 6, 10, 4:13 am
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Had the same stunt tried at 2 different Hilton properties in Asia within the last couple days. At least they do ask you but US$ is the first option rather then the local currency.
I have the Schwab card with no add on to the exchange rate so local currency always works best for me.
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Old Jul 6, 10, 7:50 am
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With Avis, the currency agreement wasn't on the rental agreement, it was in the customer profile, set up years ago and linked to the credit card.

When my dh became an Avis Wizard member, he only had a C$ credit card. Which he put on file. Back then, they billed in US$ and it was converted to Canadian dollars by the credit card company.

Somewhere along the line this changed. During that time we weren't renting cars regularly so we didn't notice. The credit card obviously expired but the fact that it was a C$ credit card didn't get removed from his Wizard information.

Fast forward 8 years, Avis comes up as the cheapest choice (for once), we book the car, they swipe our US$ credit card and away my dh drives. When he comes back, they close the transaction. Luckily he spotted it was in C$ and said, "No, this is a US$ credit card, I'm in the US, I want to be billed in US$." They couldn't do that.

It took weeks of back and forth with Avis head office before we got an approximate 'made whole.' Between their fee and the banks fee, we were talking over $60 on a rental of a few days.

Avis Wizard seems to require you to have a credit card on file and whatever currency that card is in, is the currency you will be billed in, no matter where the rental occurs or what credit card you use. The idea that I want to use different credit cards in different currencies seems to be beyond their system's capabilities. Or at least that's what we were told.

I suppose, at some point, I may have been mailed/emailed a change in the T&Cs but I certainly don't recall that. As for the rental contract, it was mute on currency, it just showed the prices in US$ and the US$ credit card that was to be used. How we could expect to be charged in C$ is beyond me.

Whether this is still a problem at Avis, I don't know. I always use whichever company is the cheapest and Avis hasn't been cheapest for a long time.
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