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On June 11, I picked up a Corolla at Orlando International Airport (MCO) (RR 586927810 Res F4913638357 / ADFW). I was offered to buy a full tank for a cheaper price, so that I would not have to fill the tank before leaving it at the airport. I refused because I thought I could do it on my way to Miami International Airport (MIA) (the return location). At that time, I found something could be strange because in Brazil (I rented it through a respectable travel agency), I was informed that nothing would be charged, that everything was paid, and the clerk told me there would be an estimated charge of $34.75. As I was picking up the car 27 min before the due hour (I was supposed to get the car at noon and it was 11:30), he charged me one extra day without telling me anything about it. I was tired and in a hurry to get to my hotel and said it was OK.
On June 19, on my way to the airport (approximately 10 min away from it), I filled the tank and went on. As I needed some change, I decided to pay it in cash, and did not even care to get a receipt.
Upon returning the car, at 2:30 p.m., the clerk checked the exterior, asked for the keys, entered and did not say anything, just reminded me to take the GPS stick off the windshield. I was certain she entered the car to check the fuel and I did not even think of going there and calling her attention to the full tank.
She simply gave me a receipt and, as I was on time for my check-in, I hurried to the MIA mover and calmly checked in my luggage.
About 20 minutes before my depart to Brazil, I decided to take a look at the receipt, to try to figure out the charges and insurances and fees. To my surprise, I saw a $187.29 charge - almost the amount I had prepaid in Brazil for the 8-day rent. The total was divided into some items: 1) Fuel + SVC $9.29GL/Tank Cap 13.2 T$122.63; 2) Concession Fee Recovery T$12.26; 3) Tax 6.500% on $122.63 $8.70; 4) the rest I could not figure out from the receipt. There was a line in the receipt that stated: Fuel: Full 8/8 OUT 0/8 IN.
I was aware that, if the tank were empty, I would have to pay that amount. However, my travel agent had informed me that I had a choice to fill the tank before returning the car (less convenient, but perfectly feasible). The clerk at the Hertz counter in Orlando told me the same thing. I acted exactly as I was informed I could by the company's clerk. This charge was totally unfair. The tank was full and I had to pay for it again!
I tried calling Hertz customer service at that same time (I was almost boarding the plane), but the company's representative asked me if I had paid using a credit card (I had not) and if I had a receipt (I did not). Then she said I had to talk to the manager at MIA, gave his/her phone number and transfered me to the MIA office. Nobody answered. I called it on my stop in Atlanta and nobody answered again.
I have already filed a complaint at Hertz website, but there was no response. I prefer to think of all this situation (being charged for a full tank, as if i had not filled the tank 10 min before) as a mistake that can be corrected with no damage for either parties. It was my first time renting a car in the US, and this is not the kind of experience I thought I would go through, being cheated by a well-known company such as Hertz.
To be honest, I am afraid this might be happening to other tourists coming to the States (trusting the company's fame and not checking every detail when charged by Hertz).
I am really looking forward to the best way to solving the problem.