Q: I would appreciate it if you could contact the appropriate person at Hertz and assist me with getting its decision to put my wife on the company’s Do Not Rent list reversed and getting her reinstated as a member of the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program.
A couple of months ago, my wife flew to Houston so she could drive to visit family in Louisiana. She was the only one on the rental agreement. Along the way, she picked up her parents, and they were traveling together.
On one of the days when they were out with family, my wife was helping her mother with her insulin. She inadvertently used latex gloves and developed a severe allergic reaction. Her eyes were itchy and swelling, she was sneezing nonstop, and once they had arrived at the resort area, she pulled over and allowed my father-in-law to drive the vehicle up to their hotel. She felt she was incapacitated and the reaction was negatively affecting her vision, as it made her eyes very light-sensitive.
Hertz, like other car rental companies, has a Do Not Rent list of problem customers.
During the short time her father drove the vehicle, another driver rear-ended them. He had driven it less than a mile, and the other driver accepted full responsibility, since it was his fault, and his insurance paid the full amount of damages.
The other driver did not see who was driving the rental car, but my wife, honest to a fault, allowed my father-in-law to be listed as the driver on the accident report. Now Hertz, despite years of using it as our primary rental company and our being longstanding members of its Gold Plus Rewards program, sent a letter canceling her membership and adding her to its Do Not Rent list.
I find it disturbing that a company with which we have done a lot of business over the years would treat her this way and ignore the fact that she was doing what was safest for everyone on the road that day. My wife feels as if she was punished for being truthful. She could have lied, and no one would have been the wiser, and we still would be Hertz Gold Plus members.
Do you feel this is justified, and is there any way you can assist us in resolving this issue?
Brian Thompson, Brush Prairie, Washington
A: Hertz, like other car rental companies, has a Do Not Rent list of problem customers. These are motorists who have damaged their cars or didn’t pay their bills, and the car rental company is well within its right to keep such a list and to refuse to do business with troublemakers.
Only, your wife wasn’t a troublemaker. By your account, she was trying to keep the car and its passengers safe by asking your father-in-law to drive. To her credit, she was honest about the circumstances of the accident.
The road to Hertz’s Do Not Rent list appears to be fairly automatic, but the appeals process isn’t. By the time you contacted me, your wife’s written appeal was somewhere in transit. I think her circumstances were special, and, given your longstanding relationship with Hertz, I think you stood a good chance of eventually getting back into the company’s good graces.
Next time, please don’t let anyone drive your car unless they’re listed as a driver. Something tells me if there’s another accident with an unlisted driver, Hertz won’t be as understanding.
An appeal to one of Hertz’s executives might have helped (http://elliott.org/company-contacts/hertz/). They’re known to answer their own messages and might have given your case a little push.
But why wait? I contacted the company on your behalf, and it agreed to remove your name from its Do Not Rent list.
Oh, and next time, please don’t let anyone drive your car unless they’re listed as a driver. Something tells me if there’s another accident with an unlisted driver, Hertz won’t be as understanding.