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Hertz Charging a Tesla Renter for Gas Was Not an Isolated Incident

Hertz billing a customer hundreds of dollars for gas in an EV wasn't a one-off mistake. In fact, it may have been happening for more than a year.
A Tesla Model S drives along a road with crops from Hertz invoices for exorbitant fuel charges overlaid

Hertz’s foray into renting EVs hasn’t been a runaway success. The rental agency is liquidating its excess Teslas due to limited demand and tanking values, while those who have rented its EVs haven’t always had a good experience. Last week, we reported on a customer who was charged $277 for gasoline his rented Tesla couldn’t have possibly used—and now, we’ve heard from other Hertz customers who say they’ve been charged even more.

Hertz caught attention last week for how it handled a customer whom it had charged a “Skip the Pump” fee, which allows renters to pay a premium for Hertz to refill the tank for them. But of course, this customer’s rented Tesla Model 3 didn’t use gas—it draws power from a battery—and Hertz has a separate, flat fee for EV recharges. Nevertheless, the customer was charged $277.39 despite returning the car with the exact same charge they left with, and Hertz refused to refund it until after our story ran.

It’s no isolated incident either, as other customers have written in to inform us that it happened to them, too.

Update May 20, 2024, 1:15 p.m. ET: A Hertz representative reached out to The Drive with the following statement after publication, explaining that these erroneous charges were due to a “systems error” that has since been fixed. From Hertz:

“Some customers who rented EVs from us were inaccurately billed a refueling fee, due to a systems error. It should never have happened, and we have fixed the problem that caused it. We also proactively reached out to the customers who were affected and refunded the erroneous charge. To compensate them for their inconvenience, we have offered them a credit toward a future EV rental.”

A lineup of Hertz Polestar 2 EVs
A lineup of Hertz Polestar 2 EVs. Hertz

One customer named Evan told us that when he booked a Tesla Model 3 Long Range, his problems began well before it came time to return the car. On pickup, he was told the Long Range model he’d reserved was unavailable, and that he’d been downgraded to a standard-range model. He had to go to a manager to get any recourse, which ended up being just a $22 discount.

Evan returned the rental at 21 percent charge, expecting to pay a flat $25 recharge fee. (It’s ordinarily $35, but Hertz’s loyalty program discounts it.) To Evan’s surprise, he was hit with a $340.97 “Skip the Pump” fee, which can be applied after returning a car if it’s not requested beforehand. He says Hertz’s customer service was difficult to reach, and that it took making a ruckus on social media to get Hertz’s attention.

In the end, a Hertz representative was able to review the charge and have it reversed. But Evan was told it could take five to seven business days for the money to transfer, and for his troubles, he was offered just one free day of renting an EV (to be redeemed this calendar year, no less).

Fellow Hertz customer Toan Le reported an even worse experience with their Tesla rental earlier this month. They told us they prepaid $329.83 for a week with a Model 3, and returned the car expecting to pay only $25 for Hertz to charge it. Le was then apparently billed $690.32, some of which was redundant billing for the rental they say they’d already paid for.

To add insult to injury, their invoice (shown here) indicates more than two thirds of that, $475.19, was a fuel charge, which was applied in addition to the $25 charging fee. They also faced a $125.01 “rebill” for using the Supercharger network during their rental, which other Hertz customers have expressed surprise and frustration with. Charging costs can vary, but a 75-percent charge from a Supercharger will often cost in the region of just $15.

Le was able to get the fuel charge waived, but was still dissatisfied to see such a large followup bill. Despite reaching the top tier of Hertz’s loyalty program, they told us they “might reconsider renting another vehicle from Hertz.” How many other Hertz customers have been inappropriately billed is unclear, though a March 2023 Facebook post documenting a similar case indicates this has been happening for more than a year.

After hearing these stories, other EV renters may be hesitant to bring Hertz their business. They might be more wary still when they hear about people’s other, more alarming misadventures with Hertz rentals.

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