Consumer Investigation: One man vs. Hertz. Here’s what to do when customer service won’t help.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — There are few things more frustrating than getting billed for something you didn’t buy.

That’s what happened to one News10NBC viewer. So he contacted me. And in this case, he has the receipts. That’s a colloquial phrase that now means, he has the evidence. But in this case, I’m being literal. This guy really has the receipts. He rented a car from Hertz. Hertz charged him for two extra weeks, and he’s been fighting that charge for three months.

When Albert Algarin’s son was rear-ended while driving his parent’s car, they took the car to Garber Collision located at 3890 W. Henrietta Road in Rochester.

"My wife needed a rental car so my wife went to Hertz,” Algarin explained. She rented the car from the Hertz location at 840 Lehigh Station Rd. in West Henrietta. That was on Nov. 3, of last year. On Nov. 17, she got a call from Garber. Her car was all fixed.

"And the collision guy at Garber said leave the car here they will pick it up,” Algarin said.

Their insurance covered the repair and the rental, so all was well, or so they thought until they got a bill in the mail for $565.39. Hertz claims they returned the vehicle on Dec. 3.

Algarin thought resolving the matter would be easy. After all, he had the receipt. He went to the Hertz office and was told he’d need to speak to the manager. He was told she was in a meeting. But Algarin was undeterred. He made repeated visits to Hertz, and each time that ever-elusive manager was in a meeting. So finally he asked if he could make an appointment with her.

“He said I don’t make appointments,” Algarin recalled. I said, can you have her call me?" The employee agreed, but he says the call never came. Instead, Algarin got a letter saying the bill had been sent to collections and he could never rent from Hertz again. Then the collector started calling.

"My wife [was] explaining to her, look I got receipts, and they said, you need to pay your bills,” Algarin recounted.

I called Garber and a manager confirmed Algarin’s wife dropped off the rental on Nov. 17, and they called Hertz to pick up the car as they always do as a customer courtesy.

So then I wrote the Hertz corporate office and attached the receipts. Agarin’s message to Hertz?

"Fix it, because what’s going on is not right," Algarin said.

Wednesday Hertz sent me this statement saying simply," Thank you again for bringing this to our attention. Our customer care team has reached out and apologized to Ms. Algarin for this error and removed the $565.39 charge.”

I confirmed they did indeed call the Algarins Wednesday morning, apologized, and told them they could rent with Hertz any time to which the Algarins said, no thank you.

To be clear, Garber does not have a partnership with Hertz. It simply allows its customers to drop off their rental cars at their lot as a courtesy. When you call customer service and you get no service at all, there are steps you should take.

Here’s Deanna’s Do List.

  • Keep good records.
  • Take notes during the call including the name of the agent. If they give you a first name ask for last initial. If the agent can’t help, ask to speak to a supervisor. And don’t give up until they make one available.
  • If the manager doesn’t help, try writing someone further up the corporate ladder. Eliott Advocacy has contacts for thousands of corporate leaders
  • When all else fails, take your case to social media.