Ouch, it Hurtz!

Ouch! It Hurtz

You know the story of the traveling couple left on the streetside the night before Christmas? Not in Bethleheem but in Chicago. We were planning to celebrate Christmas Eve in Indiana with Jess’ family. So we¬†made the long journey from Arizona, but our plans were hit by the corporation of doom : Hertz “car rentals”. And it Hurtz.

Traveling can bring lots of anecdotes, small delays more or less fun adventures. A traveler is exposed to uncertainty, that’s the essence of the travel. When you buy a plane ticket, your airline will do everything possible to get you there safely, in the best possible time span. I naively thought that a car rental company would do the same. Not at all – in any case, not Hertz.

On top of the train to Chicago, we booked a car to drive from Chicago to Indiana to celebrate Christmas with the family converging from all the US for the event. The Hertz rental agency is downtown; a few blocks from the train station. Arrived in Chicago in the early afternoon of December 24, it’s brutal cold and snowing. The agency Hertz is … closed! No one warned me. Now, no one answers the phone. The national call center told us that indeed the agency should be open, and that we have to wait because someone should come. After an hour in the blizzard, we understand that we will miss the eve. The last opened place is at the airport – we’re unsure if they have cars available, and if so it’s for another $200. It’s the wrong direction and would add two hours of driving. The weather is so bad that driving 6 hours, at night on small roads, without snow chains does not seem reasonable.

You read correctly : Hertz crashes us and extorts another $ 200 and two hours of travel – not to mention the cost of the taxi to reach the airport.

Hertz forgot that they once were a car rental company, a critical way of transportation for travelers. Hertz has agencies, and agencies have employees. And their employees do not care. If you go on Glassdoor and read about Hertz, you’ll see the atmosphere behind the counter: “Advice to Management: Hire people who are committed to learning the company and out of the company. Supply enough cars for forecasting. We run out of cars by 9am on monday and customers are left angrily waiting for returns“. There are hundreds of stories, written by the employees – that describe the hell and the tension, the outdated buggy software, the lack of training, the managers who are only there to pressure people, who are incompetent and inadequate. If you want to read what’s happening on our side of the counter, it’s also spectacular. No, Hertz is not a respectable society.

The next day, we still hope to save Christmas day, calling again Hertz. Obviously no one wants to help, the only option is a refund for the car reservation only. They have totally failed in their mission … and they do not care. Paying more at Hertz is certainly not the guarantee of better service. You are just a wallet, a sucker, a negligible amount.

Let’s think bigger than our missed family meeting and travel money wasted. Renting a car from a rental company is a chore: it’s expensive, you may wait until the previous customer brings the vehicle late – Hertz takes the money, you wait. They exploit your personal info and play with your credit card (at Hertz, no cash or debit card).

Fortunately, peer to peer car rentals is sprouting : like AirB&B, the bus is booming: Turo is one of them. Getting rid of big corporations is a step to a better way to travel.

And they let the lights on all the time they’re closed. You’re paying for it and they pollute our planet. Irresponsible to the max!


  1. At least, since they haven’t delivered the car, you won’t get abusively charged thousands for imaginary scratches on the paint. Which is exactly what they have done to me not once, but twice.
    Car rental is the *worst* leg on any travel. In my experience It takes on average more time to wait at the car rental desk in an airport than to book the place and the accomodation, to say nothing about the higher deposit.
    Once I’ve asked why is it so complicated to rent a car compared to an airbnb, and I’ve been given that answer : “It’s much easier to steal a car than to steal an apartment”. It’s hard to believe than in 2018 we don’t already have a good solution to this, but if not then it’s an interesting technical problem to tinker.

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