Business

A Twitter thread about a Hertz rental nightmare has gone viral. That’s all that’s wrong with the way businesses think about their customers

Hertz has had a few difficult years. I mean, the company literally went bankrupt during the pandemic. It’s no worse than that, but things certainly haven’t improved.

The company faces allegations that it declared his vehicles stolen, even though they were legally hired by people who ended up getting arrested. The allegations say that Hertz is apparently so bad at keeping track of its vehicle inventory that it was just easier to report things like stolen anyone the company lost track of a rental, even when it was company employees at fault.

Now a virus Twitter feed details the experience of a couple and their dog trying to rent a car during Thanksgiving to visit their family. The whole experience, shared by Kate Klonick, assistant professor at St. Johns University School of Law, is worth reading.

The short version – or at least the shorter version that will do it justice – is that she arrived on time at a Hertz store in Brooklyn for her rental just before noon on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, lined up with 15 other customers. . After two hours, she was turned away after the Hertz employee stopped filling reservations. Apparently the location closed at noon, despite customers with confirmed reservations still waiting for their vehicles.

Klonick, his partner, and their dog were told that they could instead obtain a vehicle at another location. After loading into an Uber and heading to LaGuardia Airport, she was told that a rental vehicle was available but that they would not honor the original reservation. Instead, it would be $ 1,800, which is almost five times the price.

The couple returned to New York City in another Uber and, after several customer service calls, were told that Hertz would honor the original price of a vehicle at another location the next morning. Upon arrival, however, they were told they did not have a reservation. They were able to find him a vehicle, but at twice the price of his original reservation.

If you’ve followed this far, you can imagine how frustrating it must have been. Vacation travel is stressful enough that you don’t feel trapped and extorted by a company that doesn’t seem to care whether you’re a customer or not.

By the time I logged in with Klonick, his thread had been retweeted over 11,000 times and had around 100,000 likes. Judging from the response on Twitter, this is not uncommon for Hertz.

In fact, Klonick said Hertz employees told him the company was doing it on purpose. At the point where she was finally able to hire a vehicle, the employee told her that the original location may have stopped helping customers “because she knew they were overbooked and that they were running out of cars, but that way they can make it look like it’s your fault because you showed up “late to booking.”

“It happens all the time,” she wrote as he told her. “Customer service has no idea our inventory, and no one ever picks up the phone at the counters. They just overbook.”

I asked Hertz if this was a policy or if it was just something that happened to this customer, although that did not provide an answer to my question. In a statement, Hertz told me the following:

Hertz cares deeply about our customers, and we miss Ms. Klonick’s experience, which does not reflect our standards of service. We spoke to her to apologize and refunded the difference in fare. We are investigating the situation to better understand what happened so that we can take the necessary corrective action.

In the event that we are unable to provide the reserved class of vehicle at the confirmed time, our policy is to make all reasonable efforts to assist the customer, which may include providing a vehicle comparable to the same rate if available, moving a vehicle from another nearby location, delivering a vehicle to the customer, paying for a taxi or purchasing a vehicle from a competitor if it is at an airport . When these options are available, we will extend the same rate.

Unfortunately, this statement did not indicate whether the original location was correct in refusing to honor the reservation even though the customer had met all the requirements and arrived on time to collect their vehicle? In New York State, the company is required to honor your reservation if you show up on time.

After his tweets got so much attention, Hertz called Klonick and paid off the rate difference on his credit card. Aside from asking them to reimburse the hundreds of dollars in additional expenses as well, including multiple Uber trips to different locations to pick up a vehicle (which the statement says the company would reimburse), wouldn’t- Hasn’t it been much easier to just start a business that does the right thing for the customer the first time? Seems easier than having them share a five page letter on Twitter to get the company to respond.

Klonick says his main reason for sharing the experience was to highlight the issue for others who might have had a similar experience but lack the ability to grab the attention of a large company when the things go wrong.

Its experience, as well as that of those who say the company has reported the theft of their rental vehicles, suggests that Hertz lets its poor internal systems and technology create a terrible experience for its customers. Based on the experiences shared on Twitter, it appears Hertz has cultivated a culture that its customers are just an inconvenience to deal with – a burden to deal with. If you think of your customers this way, you are certainly wrong.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.

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