Hertz Germany car rental 'damages' scam

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AMEX/MasterCard/VISA rules in regards to charging cardmember for damages

VISA Core Rules
5.9.8.4 - Rental Merchant Charges for Damages – Europe Region
In the Europe Region: When a rental Merchant carries out a delayed charge Transaction for charges relating to damage to a rental vehicle, the Merchant must provide the Acquirer with all of the
following:
  • A copy of the rental agreement
  • An estimate of the cost of the damage from an organization that can legally provide repairs
  • The relevant civil authority’s accident report (if applicable)
  • Documentation showing that the Cardholder has given consent that a delayed charge Transaction may be processed using the Cardholder’s Card to cover damages to a rental vehicle. This consent must be evidenced by either:
    • The Cardholder’s signature on the same page as, and close to, the description of the charges that may be covered by the delayed charge Transaction
    • The Cardholder’s signature on the agreement and the Cardholder’s initials on each page of the agreement, including on the same page as the description of the charges that may be covered by the delayed charge Transaction
MasterCard Transaction Processing Rules
3.12 Charges for Loss, Theft, or Damage—Mastercard POS Transactions Only

A charge for loss, theft, or damage must be processed as a separate Transaction from the underlying rental, lodging, or other Transaction. The Merchant must provide a reason for the charge and a reasonable estimate of the cost of repairs to the Cardholder. After gaining the Cardholder’s authorization of the charge and the estimated cost, the Merchant must process the Transaction as one of the following:
  • A Card-present Transaction. For CVM requirements, see Rule 3.4.
  • A fully authenticated SecureCode or Identity Check e-commerce Transaction

American Express Merchant Operating Guide (US)
12.14.2.4 Capital Damages
If a Cardmember voluntarily opts to use the Card to pay for property damage to a rented vehicle (Capital Damages), you may accept the Card, provided you have complied with all of the
following conditions for payments of such items:
  • The Card was used for the vehicle rental at the time the vehicle was checked out.
  • You must provide in writing, to the Cardmember, an itemized list and description of specific damages which have occurred.
  • Prior to submitting a Charge, you must obtain the Cardmember's agreement in writing* to:
    • Accept responsibility for the Capital Damages, and
    • Select American Express as the payment method for the Capital Damages, and
    • Accept the total estimated amount for which the Cardmember may be responsible, and that the final billed amount can be up to 15% more than the estimated amount. No amounts in excess of 115% of the disclosed amount shall be charged to the Cardmember's Card, without the express prior written consent of the Cardmember
* The Cardmember’s acknowledgment must be made after the damages have occurred and without any threat or duress.


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Old Dec 4, 14, 3:23 am
  #1  
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Hertz Germany car rental 'damages' scam

We rented a car at Hertz Munich in June 2014 and when we picked up the car, there was no attendant to assist. There was a scratch on the car, which was not indicated on the paperwork. We called the Hertz office, and they said we must just indicate it on the paper and show them when we return the car. We did this, and also took pictures of the damage and the car in the position it was parked before we took possession. When we returned, we showed the attendant the pictures and gave the completed paperwork to him. He said it is OK. Then Hertz deducted just under £500 for damages from our credit card, unauthorised and with no communication of invoice. We called the customer services and the logged an investigation, but refused to give us any feedback on further enquiry. They refuse to respond to our complaints and ignore any communication. What do I do to get the matter resolved??
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Old Dec 4, 14, 2:08 pm
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Dispute the charge with your credit-card issuer?
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Old Dec 4, 14, 2:58 pm
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Make sure you attach the picture you took of the scratch when you picked the car up. If it has a time stamp, all the better.
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Old Dec 5, 14, 7:00 am
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Not surprised

I think Hertz Germany regularly runs some sort of scam like this on international travelers. Too many stories.

We rented a car from Hertz at Munich airport, also in June 2014. When we returned the car, the attendant claimed that each front wheel had "scratches" on them. I took pictures of both wheels where the attendant claimed the scratches were. I did not notice anything unusual with the wheels when we picked up the car, but seriously even with the pictures it is nearly impossible to see what the attendant claimed was there. A charge of 670 euros was added to my AMX bill. I had the AMX insurance, so filed the claim with all of the above information.

Hertz Germany has so far refused to respond to any requests for substantiation from AMEX - no proof of damage, no proof of repair, no proof through logs that the car was out-of-service for repair. Hertz just wants more money without providing any proof they are entitled to it.

Last edited by gensis5050; Dec 9, 14 at 8:01 am Reason: spelling
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Old Dec 5, 14, 8:00 pm
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Originally Posted by gensis5050 View Post
I think Hertz Germany regularly runs some sort of scam like this on international travelers. Too many stories.

We rented a car from Hertz at Munich airport, also in June 2014. When we returned the car, the attendant claimed that each front wheel had "scratches" on them. I took pictures of both wheels where the attendant claimed the scratches were. I did not notice anything unusual with the wheels when we oicked up the car, but seriously even with the pictures it is nearly impossible to see what the attendant claimed was there. A charge of 670 euros was added to my AMX bill. I had the AMX insurance, so filed the claim with all of the above information.

Hertz Germany has so far refused to respond to any requests for substantiation from AMEX - no proof of damage, no proof of repair, no proof through logs that the car was out-of-service for repair. Hertz just wants more money without providing any proof they are entitled to it.
I had exactly the same experience. Hertz told me they would sort it out with Amex insurance but instead just charged my card for around 350eur for a wheel rim "estimate repair". I also filed a claim with the Amex insurance myself. I called Amex to dispute the charge and they reversed it pending Hertz response. hertz did not deal with the chargeback but Hertz then sent the account to collections 18 months later. I explained to the agent that nobody pays a "repair estimate" without a proper invoice from the repair shop. Haven't heard back as yet.

They are tenacious. Funny enough all the stories here were out of MUC station.
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Old Dec 6, 14, 12:39 am
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It's not just MUC. FRA do the same. Some are known to consider Hertz Germany as a criminal organisation to be avoided at all costs unless you have excess insurance to pass on the claim and let them deal with them.
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Old Jan 7, 15, 2:12 pm
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I am from the US and rent from MUC or FRA at least 4 times a year for the last 5 years and have never had a problem.

Smartphones today all have a video camera function on them...I record a sweep around the entire car, including close ups of the entire front and rear bumper, each rim and both mirrors when I pick it up and also when I return the car. I do get some interesting looks when returning the car, but I have never had an issue.

I have a folder on my business computer that holds these videos should I ever be charged for damage.
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Old Jan 7, 15, 2:36 pm
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Interesting,

Technically Hertz cant charge you if they dont have a signed VPI (inspection) document confirming no damage, but they seem to do this. It is the branch that raises the charges and thinks hey they have insurance they can cover it.

Most company's can obtain a repair estimate and estimate the charges, present it to a court and say thats what they are claiming as Cash In Leiu of repairs. Legally speaking they are entitled to do this, what you can do is dispute the costs of the estimates.

I would suggest, if this does happen to you in future get the rental closed down in front of you and the bill confirming no charges. Whilst technically they can still add in the charges later you have added weight it was checking in and confirmed as fine as you have the bill confirming no charges and check in.

Its always good to take pics but in honesty they use the signed VPI, pics can be manipulated and and the date and time etc can be edited. I always over mark the VPI with the smallest mark i see, marked numerous times rather then one big mark excpet for the alloy where i mark the entire tyre
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Old Jan 7, 15, 4:06 pm
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I've rented from MUC, and other major German locations many times over the years and also never had a problem.

It is absolutely imperative in Europe that you do a thorough check of the car before you drive away in it. There should be a pre-filled in damage report with the car our your RA. you must, absolutely MUST, correlate what is marked on there with what you see on the car, and if things are missing (and they often are), make sure that they are added and Hertz initial the extra damage before you leave their facility.

If you don't do this, and especially if you are not taking Hertz' insurance, you do lay yourself wide open to the possibility of them coming after you. And if you have their cover, remember that the basic level has quite a hefty excess (deductible) on it, so you could still get charged.

The same advice goes for other European countries, too. The Swiss are even more punctilious than the Germans, as you might expect, and virtually every car seems to get scraped almost as soon as it goes on fleet. There will be a sheaf of previous damage reports in the file that has the registration and insurance cover in the glovebox. When you return a car there, they fill a new one in and compare it with the one on your rental agreement. They have a lot of black and grey cars and the airport locations are a bit dimly lit, but you MUST check carefully, or on your own expense be it at return time.
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Old Jan 7, 15, 4:09 pm
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I have had the same thing happen to me twice in Germany.
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Old Jan 9, 15, 7:55 pm
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Hertz Germany car rental 'damages' scam

Rented about 12 times in the past three years between Sixt and Hertz in Germany. Never had a problem.
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Old Jan 14, 15, 2:19 am
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I rented three times in MUC without a problem. Then in January 2014 I rented and had exactly the kind of problem described here - I was billed $1180 US (whatever that was in Euro at the time) for a "scratch". I had photo documentation of the car at pickup and return, challenged the charge with my credit card (Chase BA Visa) and won...

Then Hertz Germany sent the amount due to collections anyhow. I have had a debt collector in Ireland send a request and threatening letter. I have responded with all documentation including the letter from Chase confirming that the matter was closed and decided in my favor. It has been 2-3 months since I last heard anything, but I will never rent from Hertz Germany after this.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
I rented three times in MUC without a problem. Then in January 2014 I rented and had exactly the kind of problem described here - I was billed $1180 US (whatever that was in Euro at the time) for a "scratch". I had photo documentation of the car at pickup and return, challenged the charge with my credit card (Chase BA Visa) and won...

Then Hertz Germany sent the amount due to collections anyhow. I have had a debt collector in Ireland send a request and threatening letter. I have responded with all documentation including the letter from Chase confirming that the matter was closed and decided in my favor. It has been 2-3 months since I last heard anything, but I will never rent from Hertz Germany after this.
Nice way to deal. But it's the German high handed way. Apparently it works on Germans. Doesn't work on me.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 3:40 am
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At the risk of repeating myself.........

If you agree the pre-existing damage on Hertz' form which is part of the RA paperwork, then you should have no arguments. having photographic evidence is certainly helpful in the case of disputes, but the Damage Report which you should be asked to sign, and a copy of which is lodged with Hertz and a copy of which you keep when you leave the facility is the key here. If there is damage that is evident on the car that was not reported on that, then you will be held accountable......... I know it is tedious to check, and dark coloured cars in dimly lit car parks can be difficult to check it out, but if you don't then you run the risk of the stories reported here.
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Old Jan 15, 15, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by Red Scorpion View Post
At the risk of repeating myself.........

If you agree the pre-existing damage on Hertz' form which is part of the RA paperwork, then you should have no arguments. having photographic evidence is certainly helpful in the case of disputes, but the Damage Report which you should be asked to sign, and a copy of which is lodged with Hertz and a copy of which you keep when you leave the facility is the key here. If there is damage that is evident on the car that was not reported on that, then you will be held accountable......... I know it is tedious to check, and dark coloured cars in dimly lit car parks can be difficult to check it out, but if you don't then you run the risk of the stories reported here.
I should have said in my post -- I did not sign any damage report when I returned the car, nor did anyone mention anything about billing me for any scratches.

But yes, your warning bears repeating.
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