The location manager was friendly enough and told me she would call me to let me know their status the next day (because I was concerned they would be closed). Sure enough, I received at call around 8 AM telling me that the branch was open but she wasn't sure for how long. I asked her to let me know when they would be closing because I didn't want to arrive to closed gates. The shoveling out began. I went inside to take a conference call around 10 AM and the manager called to let me know that they would be closing in an hour. I asked IF I could get the car over there, would I be able to get a ride back; she couldn't commit to that and if I didn't get it there today, I would be charged. Looking at the roads and the rate of the snow fall, I made the call to stay off the roads because I would have to endanger someone else so I could get home (I wasn't walking 10 miles in a blizzard) AND I didn't want to endanger myself/the car (it would be my luck I would get into a fender bender). I suggested we discuss our options in the morning and wished her safe travels getting home.
This morning I call to check if they were opened and they were. Once again I asked for and was denied transportation back to my home due to their (understandable) lack of resources. My wife and I dug ourselves out again and Allison followed me over to the Hertz rental office (in Woodbury, NJ if you were wondering). The manager informed me there was nothing she could do and gave me a corporate number to call. I gladly took it and went on my way with no ill feelings towards her. We safely arrived home and after a block of meetings I called the corporate phone number: the associate told me the company stands behind the decisions of the local office and there wasn't anything I could do except call the Woodbury manager and plead my case. I called location manager back and repeated the corporate policy (which I get the impression she already knew, but wanted me out of there without a fight). She proceeded to tell me that the situation was essentially my fault since I was given ample time to get there (1 hour notice in a blizzard). I told her that I appreciated her good customer service and her attempts at informing me of their schedule, but at the end of the day the roads weren't safe. She continued to repeat the line that she called me at 7:30 to let me know they were opened. I then offered a few thoughts/comments to see if I could change her mind:
- From a risk management perspective, do you want your asset out in the middle of a blizzard to save the daily $40 rate - at the risk of a potential fender bender/insurance situation which would most definitely cost you more money?
- From a business perspective - you are not losing money on that asset because the office was closed - nobody could rent the vehicle
- From a customer service perspective - you don't have the staff to arrange return transport (because of the storm you essentially said I am okay to be driving in) - which means I have to ask someone to follow me/come get me
- This is a corporate account which brings Hertz steady business, do you really want to risk that? By the way, I work in the vendor management department and I am going to let my team know about this situation
She didn't respond to my points, she just countered that they were opened and she made it in that day and customers did manage to get there. I responded with "just because you could open, it doesn't mean it was a good idea... you had to close!" I could tell I wasn't getting anywhere with her so I dropped it. I believe she was just following corporate orders, so I didn't see the point in getting loud or angry with her (wow, personal growth!). With that said, am I going to drop it? No. I am going to take this post and forward it to Hertz and I will also send a letter (with some of my traffic reports for this site) and see if anything comes of it. Do I care about the money? Not so much. In this case, it really is the principle - they are a preferred vendor for my company and I don't think they took care of me or their own asset very well. I am going to give them a chance to respond and make the situation right, and if they stand their ground, I will bring this to the attention of the better business bureau because I don't think I am wrong... IN ANY WAY.
Be safe out there.
PS - Did anyone else have a similar problem with the storm? I'd love to hear about it and trade stories!
One of my loyal readers was traveling this week and was in the same scenario but she used Avis. They PICKED UP THE CAR AT HER HOUSE and didn't charge her for yesterday or today.
Posted the story on Hertz Facebook Page. I have never performed such a direct move before, curious to see how this pans out.
Hertz has responded via Facebook - check it out:
"Joey, I would have left a comment on your blog as well but it doesn't seem to have that enabled. I'll talk to someone in customer service about getting these changes sorted out. We absolutely do not want to endanger our customers or ask them to take unnecessary safety risks, least of all in extreme weather conditions. Please accept my personal apologies for the inconvenience.
On a humorous note, I really enjoyed your blog. The Lloyd Dobler post was great."
Hertz delivered on their promise to investigate. I am quite pleased with their reaction. Thank you Hertz!
Dear Mr. Lombardi,
This is in response to your post on FaceBook regarding you rental in
Woodbury, New Jersey. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
We sincerely regret your rental experience with Hertz did not meet with the
high standards of service we strive to maintain. As a service oriented
company, we rely on customer feedback to help us maintain and improve our
service performance standards.
As a gesture of our concern, a credit of $87.57 will be processed to the
account billed for this rental. The adjustment is being made at this time,
but may not appear on the next monthly statement due to billing cut-off
Thank you for giving us the chance to respond. Your business is
Kanda [Last Name Removed].
Joey Lombardi | Create Your Badge