When Is A Cancellation Really Cancelled?

Old Mar 29, 19, 11:41 pm
  #1  
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When Is A Cancellation Really Cancelled?

Oops, sorry for the slip of the finger in the title of this post, that I can't edit. It should read, of course, "Really Cancelled"

With Hertz, apparently never, at least until the rental start date is past.

I had a troublesome experience with Hertz LAX this week. Generally, once I have my travel dates locked down, I'll make a car rental reservation, then send it in to Autoslash, when a significantly better deal comes along, make a new reservation and cancel the previous one. My original reservation for a week with a full size car in LAX was for a fairly outrageous $299.06. There was an intermediate discounted rate offered that dropped it by about $30, so I made that reservation and cancelled the $300 one. I think I passed on one other deal because it was only about $15 cheaper, but about 4 days before my trip was scheduled to begin, they came up with a prepaid deal for around $180. Normally I don't like to do prepaid rentals, but this one offered a full refund if cancelled up to 48 hours before the scheduled pickup time.

I won't rant too long here about how inefficient pickup at LAX has been for my last two rentals. This time this took an hour from the time I arrived at the facility on the airport shuttle to when I drove out the gate.

Anyway, after I cleared the exit gate, while I was waiting for traffic to clear, I took a look at my rental record card and freaked out. It wasn't for $0 balance as I expected, but for a few dollars under $500. I parked and went back to the gate agent and said this was wrong. [side bar here: I don't know if all Hertz facilities are like LAX, but there, they print out your rental record at the gate, part of their "pick any car, good luck finding one you want to drive" arrangement] I read my reservation number off the last e-mail confirmation to the gate agent as she typed it in again and the same price came up. She told me that I could go back to the office, but that this was what came up for that reservation confirmation number, so they'd tell me the same. Angry, and frustrated that the delays had put me in the thick of rush hour traffic, Ieft, hoping to straighten it out by phone later.

Another side note - I phoned Hertz to confirm that the prepaid reservation was indeed legitimate after I received the confirmation e-mail, and when I was assured that it was, made sure that all of my previous reservations were cancelled,.

Well, with the help of Autoslash, I got on the phone with Hertz the next day and only got told that I'd have to call the LAX facility, that the corporate record showed what I went out the gate with. The agent that I spoke with at LAX was actually helpful. What she found was that I had three reservations! When I told her that I had cancelled two of them, and verified that the reservation number on the one that remained was the same number as what was on the rental record that I received at the gate AND that it was indeed a prepaid reservation, she cancelled the $500 one and sent me a new rental record via e-mail with a new rental record number and $0 balance.

When I asked why they would use a cancelled reservation, and, furthermore, rent the car at a price nearly $300 above the total price for that cancelled reservation, she offered an interesting reservation,. She said that when there were multiple reservations for the same renter, place, and dates, they used the discounts that I was eligible for according to my Gold profile (AAA 10% discount and a $30 off a week current promo), but it seems that the base rate they used was the day's rate for that car, as if I never had a reservation at a lower rate.,

Is this company policy now - that the pick the highest rate they can give you if you've made multiple reservations and cancellations? Punishment for trying to get a better rate than my first shot? An algorithm gone haywire?

In the end, it appears that I finally have what I expected - hopefully there won't be another surprise when I return the car. Life was simpler when car rental rates didn't change several times a day and I could feel confident that I didn't need to play games to get the best deal. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) this was my money. An employer wasn't footing the bill, But even if I was traveling on someone else's money, I'd want them to pay what they expected to pay.

Last edited by Mike Rivers; Mar 29, 19 at 11:47 pm
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Old Mar 30, 19, 12:59 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2016
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That's definitely unpleasant.
It's been my experience that Hertz indeed doesn't remove cancelled reservations from their system properly, or at least doesn't do so for reservations cancelled X days in advance. I've had an agent at Hertz HLE pull up wrong reservation that was for $20 more (which I cancelled beforehand, just like you). I noticed it right away and they fixed it. Based on that, I wouldn't attribute this to someone trying to screw you over, but rather to an honest mistake.

PS. Please don't complain about Ultimate Choice at airports. Try going to an off-airport location with 2 cars to choose from (or none to choose from) and you'll run right back to the airport.
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Old Apr 1, 19, 6:42 am
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Originally Posted by klanfa View Post
It's been my experience that Hertz indeed doesn't remove cancelled reservations from their system properly, or at least doesn't do so for reservations cancelled X days in advance.
I've encountered this as well. An agent asked why I had multiple reservations before catching herself when she noticed the other ones were cancelled. For some reason, cancelled reservations still appear in the system and apparently it's easy for an inattentive agent to select the wrong one.

Whenever possible, if a better rate comes along, I consider cancelling the reservation to be a last-resort option. I always try to modify the existing reservation first. If I must cancel, I save my cancellation e-mails so I can compare reservation numbers with the contract at pick-up to make sure they got the right one.
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Old Apr 1, 19, 8:34 am
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Join Date: May 2017
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Originally Posted by SixAlpha View Post
I've encountered this as well. An agent asked why I had multiple reservations before catching herself when she noticed the other ones were cancelled. For some reason, cancelled reservations still appear in the system and apparently it's easy for an inattentive agent to select the wrong one.

Whenever possible, if a better rate comes along, I consider cancelling the reservation to be a last-resort option. I always try to modify the existing reservation first. If I must cancel, I save my cancellation e-mails so I can compare reservation numbers with the contract at pick-up to make sure they got the right one.
I suppose you have to modify the reservation to choose another car, then modify again to go back to the original car, since reselecting the same car with a lower price doesn’t change anything.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 9:41 am
  #5  
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I just experienced the same.

I made a point booking, then cancelled it and switched to a cash booking as cash rate had dropped. The Gold Counter agent gave me a contract for point booking. I noticed it since estimated total was wrong. I wonder what would have happened had I gone through with this point rental as points had been refunded.
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Old Apr 4, 19, 8:51 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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I experienced this last June too.

Basically drove out of the lot, made a U-turn and went back into the facility. Ended up taking an hour since I had to wait in line at the Gold Counter.
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Old Apr 6, 19, 11:03 am
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As it's been explained to me, this is user error on behalf of the person in the booth. All of the reservations - including canceled ones - will show up on when they look, but they are only supposed to select non-canceled ones. If all of them are canceled, they aren't supposed to proceed without confirming what is going on first.

(To me that sounds far more like the fault of a bad system, but whatever...)

If I know I've canceled and rebooked, I normally make a point of pointing it out when I get to the gate by telling them there might be more than one reservation, but only one that's not canceled. If I have the number to hand, I'll even give them the last few digits of the confirmation number to make sure they get the right one.
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