May 30, 2024

A longtime Hertz customer with President’s Circle status was slapped with an unexpected $277.39 charge after returning the Tesla Model 3 that he rented during a weekend in Los Angeles. The renter was Joshua Lee, who selected the “skip the pump and save time” option on his reservation, so he wouldn’t have to worry about any additional refueling fees if Hertz gave him a gas-powered car.

Hertz, in its infinite wisdom, didn’t admit fault when Lee submitted a billing inquiry regarding the extraneous charge. In fact, Hertz told him it was unable to provide a price adjustment or refund since the service was provided and the contract was closed. I’d just like to take a moment to commend Lee on his patience and grace, because if this happened to me I would have lost my mind.

According to The Drive’s reporting, Lee’s final receipt reflected the fact that he returned the rented Model 3 to Hertz with the battery at the exact state of charge that he picked it up with. Hertz has a policy that allows EV renters to return their car at any charge level and Hertz will recharge it for $35 (or $25 for certain rewards members), or they can return it with the same charge they picked it up with for no fee. None of this justifies Hertz’s fault in demanding $277 from a valued customer. Even if Lee rented a gas car, returned it on empty, and Hertz was charging $7 per gallon to refuel their cars, $277 worth of gas would be nearly 40 gallons — no car has a tank that big. The Drive reports,

Let’s recap: Not only did Hertz acknowledge that Lee was charged for refueling an electric car, which isn’t possible, but it’s defended that claim on the basis that the agreed-upon “service was provided.” How? Where did the fuel go? And you’ve got to ask, even though this shouldn’t even matter: if we were talking about a gas-powered car, what make and model is knocking back $277 for a full tank? That’s more than 46 gallons at LA’s peak prices, less whatever markup Hertz would charge of course.

Lee told The Drive that the rest of his communication with Hertz was done over the phone; at the time of writing, his problem has yet to be solved and Hertz still refuses to refund the $277. (The Drive has reached out to Hertz for comment and will update this story with whatever we learn.) Lee is disputing the charge with his credit card company but, since Hertz is standing firm, he doubts that course of action will get anywhere.

To reach President’s Circle Status with Hertz, customers must use 20 or more rentals in a 12-month period, or spend $4,000 or more in the same period. Lee has President’s Circle status with Hertz, so he is clearly a longtime Hertz fan, but he told The Drive this was his last Hertz rental.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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