Car Rental Robbery

Operator:        “9-1-1, what is your emergency”
Joe:                  “I was just raped by Hertz”
Operator:        “Who is Hertz sir – male or female – are you safe now?”
Joe:                  “Hertz, the rental car company”
Operator:        Click…dial tone…

Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic/sarcastic, but I submit the following as evidence Your Honor for how I was violated by Hertz for no apparent reason…just minding my own business…

Rental total: $279.30
BS Fee total: $68.27

Fees are 24.44% of the total charge!

I have rented many a car over the years and 99 times out of 100, I ignore the extra fees part, but for some reason as I made the reservation, it caught my eye and I almost spit my drink out!

And since I am a curious kind of person, I wanted to understand what these charges were for. I figured if I was going to be publicly molested, I might as well learn more about my “attacker”.

So here are the charges and the official descriptions, with a bit of my commentary to follow:

Privilege Fee Recovery Charge – Privilege Fee. The term “Privilege Fee” means a fee, inclusive of any applicable Florida sales tax, charged for the privilege of accessing the Airport that is assessed as provided in Section 8 of these Rules and Regulations or as provided in a Concessionaire’s written agreement with the Authority.

Joe says: So the airport charges the rental car companies a fee, apparently per rental, for the “privilege” of being able to access the airport property, and the rental car company just passes that along (hence the “recovery” term). So the airport benefits by more rentals by just charging the customer more. That would be like your favorite eating place being charged a fee by the landlord for every customer that does business there. Doesn’t see so “reasonable” when you look at it that way eh?

Customer Facility Charge – Customer Facility Charge/Use Fees: The airport requires that all car rental companies collect this fee. The money collected is used to pay for new car rental facilities.

Joe says: So we are paying for future construction of newer/additional rental facilities. Hmmmm…if I am already paying for the privilege of using the facility, why do I have to pre-pay for future space. I would love, love, love to see how this fee is accounted for and tracked. I’d be more than a dollar that this money is used for new facilities just as efficiently as lottery money is used for education (yes, heavy sarcasm there)

State Surcharge – State/Local Surcharge: This fee is for Hertz’s recovery of taxes and fees charged by state and local governments. Usually shown with name or state or locality (i.e., “FL State Surcharge”).

Joe says: Not sure why they don’t just call this a TAX, since that’s what it is. Gotta pay those pensions…

Vehicle Licensing Fee – Vehicle Licensing Cost Recovery (VLCR): This fee is for recovery of the proportionate amount of vehicle registration, licensing and related fees applicable to a rental.

Joe says: I get that there are licensing fees (aka – taxes) for owning/renting the vehicles, but please don’t think I am dumb enough to think that this “fee” isn’t being paid over and over by this charge to us.

Energy Surcharge – Energy Surcharge / Energy Recovery Fee – Separate and apart from the costs of fueling rental vehicles, energy costs represent a substantial portion of Hertz’s operating expenses. To offset the significant costs of utility charges, bus fuel, oil and grease, and related costs, Hertz is separately imposing an Energy Surcharge. This charge is not intended to reflect a precise measure of Hertz’s actual energy costs incurred to serve a particular customer.

Joe says: Let me translate, we are paying for some of their operating expenses, period. They are slapping the “energy” term on it so it sounds like we are saving the environment or something.

Bottom line here folks is the cost of your car rental that you see online is only a portion of what you will actually pay. Based on my limited sample size (1), add about 32.3% to your alleged car rental charge to get a more accurate view on what you will really pay.

Why not just call it “Gratuity”, add 30%, and call it good?

What to do about it? Great question – haven’t figured that out yet, but here are a couple ideas:

  • Write your Congressman
  • Share with local newspapers
  • Share on social media
  • Sign my petition to ask for millions in government funding to research this
  • Chain yourself to the exits of the rental car facilities so people can’t get out
  • Use duct tape to paste this blog to as many rental cars as possible
  • Hack into their billing systems and change the fee percentages to 0%
  • Figure out how to blame our current administration as that always attracts more people

All great ideas right?

I honestly don’t know, but I do know this is BS for sure.

I have go back to therapy now for being so blatantly violated…