A lot has changed since this commercial aired a few decades ago. Hairstyles and fashions have evolved. Superstars have ruined their once-pristine reputations. Powerful entities have inflicted terrible cruelty on innocent victims, leaving a legacy of irrevocable pain and righteously boiling anger that will burn until the last human has left this godforsaken earth and pastoral peace reigns once again.
I’m speaking, of course, about how Hertz tried to charge me more than they said they would.
In late May, I made a long-term rental reservation for later this summer using Hertz’s website. I filled in all the information they asked for and was quoted $1551 for about 12 weeks, the best fee I had found. After reading the fine print (seriously!) I jotted down the reservation number and checked “rent car” off my long list of logistics to worry about.
Yesterday morning, I called Hertz to get a rate quote on insurance. The representative asked for the zip code on my drivers license, which is in Brooklyn. She said if I decided to use their insurance, it would cost $1,087, so my total fee would be $4,068.
It took me a moment to the math.
When I inquired where the extra $1,430 came from, she casually replied, “Oh, that’s the extra charge for your New York drivers license.” What a fun surprise! Wouldn’t it have been something if I had showed up ON THE MORNING OF THE TRIP and found out that in fact this rental would cost almost double what Hertz had quoted me? I wouldn’t have been upset, of course, because as each of the 17 customer service reps I spoke with explained, “This is the policy.” And I should have known this because “it’s on the website.”
Fair enough. I have no doubt that it exists in tiny, hidden type somewhere on Hertz.com. That’s their only option with our current limited computers. But allow me a moment to dream here. What if someday — and I realize this is decades off — we would have the technology for the Hertz.com reservation page to have a little box where it said, I don’t know, “ZIP code.” And then the user would type in their own ZIP code? And then maybe, in this 22nd-century fantasia I’m imagining here, the “approximate rental fee” that Hertz gives its New York customers would actually…how do I put this…approximate the actual fee? I’m just sketching this out roughly here, we’re talking future science and I’m not a tech wizard.
Hertz, like your distinguished former spokesperson, you deserve to go to jail forever and ever.