Date 2 Aug 1996
From"Irene Abi-Zeid"
Our story is quite incredible but true. Three years ago, my husband and I travelled to France. We rented a car from HERTZ in Deauville, Normandy, for a week. When we came to return it, the garage was closed, they closed on wednesdays, a fact of which we were not aware. We had a train to catch for Paris, so we parked the car at the train station, put the keys in the glove compartment, locked the doors, and left a message on HERTZ's answering machine regarding the car.

Two days later, before taking the plane home from Paris, we called HERTZ to verify that everything was in order, and HERTZ informed us that they did not find the car. We went to the Police station in Paris to make a declaration of theft, we were not too worried since we had purchased full proof insurance with no deductible.

A couple of weeks later, we received a call from ROYAL BANK VISA informing us that our credit limit had surpassed 7,000 dollars (where it was supposed to be 2,000). We learned that HERTZ had tried to pass 5,000 dollars on our VISA. Of course we refused to pay, since we could not be held responsible for 7,000 where our limit was only 2,000 dollars, and VISA refused HERTZ's transaction. However, on the next bill, we found out that HERTZ was able to pass 1,200 dollars on our VISA. All throughout the month, HERTZ kept on trying different decreasing amounts until one of them got authorized by VISA. We had to pay that amount because we had signed a blank VISA bill (you must do so if you want to rent a car, even here in Canada).

The story only gets better. Apparently, HERTZ found the car, it had been in an accident. So they sent us the bill for it. We refused to pay, they sued us in France. We hired lawyers in Canada and in France, and we lost. We were condemned to pay 15,000 dollars (the value of the car), plus the interest on that money on a 2 years period, plus HERTZ's lawyer fees. We decided to appeal. So far this has cost us over 4,500 dollars in lawyers fees and it will cost another 3,000 dollars. We are hoping that the decision will be reversed.

HERTZ Canada (Customer service in Toronto) has always refused to help us or to intervene. We would like to bring our story to the attention of the public, because this could happen to anyone.

Irene Abi-Zeid

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