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Confused and angry about NON-guaranteed contract rates

Confused and angry about NON-guaranteed contract rates

Old Jan 1, 16, 10:30 pm
  #1  
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Confused and angry about NON-guaranteed contract rates

I ran into something today that I had never heard about with Hertz or the entire car rental industry (at least in the US) before: non-guaranteed contract rates.

I had made a reservation back in September for a February ski trip in Colorado using my new company's CDP (we are explicitly allowed to use it for personal travel). After I called to change the credit card number on the reservation (the old number had changed due to fraud), I went online and was shocked that the rate had almost doubled. While I initially thought this was due to changing the credit card on the reservation (as did the first 8-10 agents I had spoken with for the first 90+ minutes on the phone), the more recent agents have pointed out that the reason for the change is actually the non-guaranteed rate that is associated with the CDP, and the original email actually does state that "Rate is subject to change" with a Rate Code of "CR."

I am now 90% inclined to believe this is the reason for the rate change, residual doubts being that the reservation (with the same confirmation number throughout) now states "Rate is guaranteed," and when I make a new reservation with that CDP, it also states that the rate is guaranteed (the latest Gold customer service agent states that both of those claims of "guarantee" are incorrect, which does not instill much confidence in anything Hertz claims).

Anyhow, assuming that the reason for my rate increase is this matter of non-guaranteed contract rates, a few questions:
1. Is this a common and known situation? The first 8-10 agents didn't even mention this. The last web customer service agent said she'd only seen a handful of these rates in 8 years at Hertz. The last Gold agent made it sound like these were very common. To me, it feels very deceptive (if this was accurately stated at the reservation, which I am not confident it was, it would have been in small print at best), a bait-and switch. I have never heard of such rates in all my years of traveling and have found only a few mentions of it here on FT.
2. What are the chances the the local station at DEN will honor the original rate if I show them the original email? Specific, personal experiences would be most helpful.
3. Do I have any further recourse with Hertz? One of the agents initiated a "customer service complaint." What are the chances that I can get my original rate? Who can make it happen?
4. While I am off the peak of my anger about this, thought on filing a complaint to the FTC?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 1, 16, 10:39 pm
  #2  
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I strongly suspect that this has to do with your company having negotiated a new rate with Hertz effective 1/1. As you are using your company's negotiated discount (CDP), quite legitimately, you are also stuck with whatever it is that they've negotiated.

Before you do anything, speak with your own travel / finance people and see if there are any changes effective the first of the year.

Quit calling multiple Hertz people. Neither you nor they have the authority to negotiate. I doubt that the local station will honor an expired CDP as this is a pretty standard thing worldwide and across the industry.
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Old Jan 1, 16, 10:44 pm
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While I couldn't tell you how often this happens, it's definitely a "thing." Typically only associated with corporate contracts, as in your case.

You should be so lucky that your reservation confirmation explicitly stated that the rate was subject to change. In my past experience, this only manifests itself through the lack of "Rate is Guaranteed" language on the confirmation.

I would not expect any luck getting a location to honor a rate that says it's guaranteed. I also don't think any type of regulatory complaint will get you anywhere. The lack of a rate guarantee is due to the terms negotiated between Hertz and your company. I suppose you could complain to your employer. You also don't have a formal contract, just a reservation. If you accepted a prepaid rate (which I'm almost certain wasn't offered), then that's a different story.

FWIW, I had this happen to me for a hotel reservation made in Nov/Dec for a stay in February using my corporate rate. The rates were apparently renegotiated for the following year, and I didn't find out until check-in. The hotel wouldn't budge, and I had little recourse, as I was subject to the terms negotiated between my employer and the travel supplier.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
While I couldn't tell you how often this happens, it's definitely a "thing." Typically only associated with corporate contracts, as in your case.

You should be so lucky that your reservation confirmation explicitly stated that the rate was subject to change. In my past experience, this only manifests itself through the lack of "Rate is Guaranteed" language on the confirmation.

I would not expect any luck getting a location to honor a rate that says it's guaranteed. I also don't think any type of regulatory complaint will get you anywhere. The lack of a rate guarantee is due to the terms negotiated between Hertz and your company. I suppose you could complain to your employer. You also don't have a formal contract, just a reservation. If you accepted a prepaid rate (which I'm almost certain wasn't offered), then that's a different story.

FWIW, I had this happen to me for a hotel reservation made in Nov/Dec for a stay in February using my corporate rate. The rates were apparently renegotiated for the following year, and I didn't find out until check-in. The hotel wouldn't budge, and I had little recourse, as I was subject to the terms negotiated between my employer and the travel supplier.
+1 - You have explained this very well. OP has no reason to be irate at all. He chose to use a rate negotiated by his employer with Hertz. The employer and Hertz negotiated a new rate and the new rate applies. That is the end of it.

If OP had negotiated with Hertz for a rate in the future, this would be a much different story.

Live by the sword (corporate rate for personal travel), die by the sword. You can bet that OP would not be complaining if his employer had negotiated a better rate !
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Old Jan 3, 16, 7:23 am
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OK, live and learn. Needless to say, I won't be using corporate rates (for anything) for personal travel again. Its just that I had never heard of non-guaranteed rates for car rental (or hotels) before. And there was no clarity/disclosure on this issue at the time of booking. Plus it took Hertz 8-10 customer service reps over an hour and a half to figure this out and explain the situation.

No chance I can speak with anyone in our travel/finance departments. I work at a large multi-national company, and any decision-maker is going to be many layers above anyone with whom I can speak.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 8:30 am
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Unfortunately the agents with whom you speak have no visibility into corporate deals. All they know is that a given code generates a given rate.

Same problem happens ever year around this time with hotels & cars when deals are renegotiated and companies which have deals permitting leisure use of the corporate rate see changes.

It's really poor employee relations for the employer not to send a note out when these changes occur. As the employer tends to tout these codes as a form of benefit, it costs nothing to send out a note or to put a caution in the employee travel policy authorizing the use of the rate, explaining that not only are the rates subject to change, but that they really do change.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 9:44 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
.......Same problem happens ever year around this time with hotels & cars when deals are renegotiated and companies which have deals permitting leisure use of the corporate rate see changes......
+1.:-:

It is your employer who caused your issue, not Hertz. Most corporate contracts are by calendar year although some may change during mid year as well.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 10:12 pm
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Go back a year or two and you'll find another thread on exactly the same issue.

As others have said, corporate rates generally include the "Rate is subject to change" text (I know ours certainly does). If the rate is re-negotiated, then any existing bookings will change to the new rate too.

The good side of this (not that it helps you!) is that it happens if the rate goes down too, not just for increases.

Public rates don't do this, which is why they state "Rate is guaranteed. Taxes, fees and extras, if not included in the Rate, are subject to change."
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Old Jan 4, 16, 11:38 am
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I just had the opposite happened to me. Called to make date change for a booking made in December, the rate dropped by about 20% for one week rental. Same location, same CDP.

I wonder what rate would I have been charged had I not called to make date change?
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Old Jan 4, 16, 9:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
+1 - You have explained this very well.
Well, you got there faster with fewer words, and explicitly called out the Jan-1 timing.
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