Monday, August 29, 2011


Watch your back! Seriously, rig up a camera or some mirrors or something and watch your back - its fascinating because you don't normally see your own back in the course of your life. Other people do, but you don't. It really helps you get a better perspective on your own self... LITERALLY.

Well I was setting up a camera to watch my own back in my office the other day when I randomly noticed my Hertz rental return receipt from the previous week. You see, the previous week is when I returned my car to the return facility at SFO.

When I pulled in, I imeadiately noticed this:

What you may or may not be able to tell from this photo is that there was a seriously long line for the returns. I almost never see this. Usually, I pull up my car, park it, get out and a Hertz person come over with a portable scanner/printer combination and does a quick check of the car, asks me a few stupid questions like "returning your car"?, and then prints me a receipt. This time, there were 20 cars ahead of me, and maybe one Hertz employee checking people's cars back in.

Now, normally when I travel for business I need a receipt so that I can hand in my expenses and be reimbursed. But since this was personal travel, I didn't exactly need a printed receipt right then and there.

Let me jump back in time a bit. Every time you rent a car, the person behind the counter will ask you if you want to prepay for a tank of gas. They then offer you a lower price per gallon than the standard price in the area, and encourage you to take them up on this wonderful offer. DON'T DO IT. Its a rip off. The only way YOU would save money is if you returned the car with a completely empty tank. But how many times have you been able to use EXACTLY one tank of gas on command? You always end up returning it half full or maybe even 1/4th full - but you still get screwed because you prepaid for a FULL tank, not for the cost of filling up the remaining amount. So Hertz wins because you paid them extra money for nothing. And corporations love when you do that. So I never pre buy a tank of gas unless I know that I will not have time to find a gas station near the airport.

Well, I know SFO, and I know where the gas stations are, so I filled my car up for the return to SFO.

Flash forward back to me waiting in line. ANGRE. FEAR. EXPLOSIONS. ULTRAHATRED™. Sorry, those are side effects of flashing forward to me waiting in line.

I got out of my car and found the customer service desk. I asked them if I could just leave my car with the keys and head to my flight. They said "sure". So I thought nothing more of it. I grabbed my wife and my bags and took this photo of the gas level and mileage:

I also took photos of the car on all sides in case they tried to nail me on damage. We left the car, walked passed all the bewildered riff raff who were also furiously waiting in line to return their car and headed for our flight.

The next week, I was sitting in my office watching my back when I noticed a $153 gas charge on my credit card from Hertz when they e-mailed me my receipt for this rental!

Jerks! I immediately got on the phone and asked to speak to a representative. I knew I was in the right because I had the receipt from the gas fillup! Once I got a human on the line I told him that his greedy corporation tried to steal money from me and that I had proof. He asked if I could read some information off of the receipt for him, and that is when I realized that I somehow lost the gas station receipt. I was pissed. I grabbed my paper recycling bin and dumped all of its contents on the floor in my office and started sifting through it while on the phone with the Hertz represantative. I couldn't find it. So I did what anyone would do. I lied to the representative and told him I found it. He asked what the name of the facility was - I quickly went online to my credit card statement and searched for the purchase. I couldn't find it... thats because I was looking at the wrong credit card statement. I logged onto my other credit card and found it. "GAS & SHOP" I probably shouted too loudly. "Ok sir, how many gallons did you fill"? the man asked me. I didn't have this information, so I quickly busted out my calculator, estimated a fuel price and divided that by the total I spent. "umm.... you know.... 11 gallons" I said in an incredibly confident way.

"............... Ok sir I've refunded your credit card the total amount..... click". I wondered immediately why the Hertz representative said "click" but decided not to pursue the subject further and thanked him for his time. He then hung up.

So watch your back folks - because if you don't, you might never spot an erroneous charge on your receipt from Hertz. Hertz gonna git ya!



  1. Hang on - could you have told him any number?

  2. I think he would have questioned an amount more than a full tank. He was charging me their ridiculous tank-filling price of $8 per gallon because I didn't pre buy a full tank.