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South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1,564 posts
71 reviews
South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Has anyone filed a dispute with their credit card company before on an unwarranted charge from rental car company (South Africa)? Were you successful? What else had I not done?

My story is the following:

- Rented car in South Africa for a few days, amount was fully prepaid on Chase card before trip

- Drop off car, agent inspected car and check in without issues

- Two weeks after drop off, saw a $200-300 charge from rental car company

- Contacted rental car company, who replied and said this amount was for i) damage/dent, ii) outstanding charge since prepaid amount hasnt covered everything (not true), iii) insufficient fuel and miscellaneous (not true). All of which were not raised as an issue to me at the time I drop off the car

- Followed up again, but merchant disappeared into thin air.

Merchant is a international car rental company (think Hertz, Budget, Avis etc, not mom-and-pop shop). Also contacted the US HQ of the car rental company to file complaint, so the international team opened up a case, claimed they are contacting their SA counterpart and escalating the case, but still no response.

After 3-4 weeks of being ignored, I decided to take the next step - file dispute with Chase whose credit card I used for rental car payment. Chase did not follow-up with me at all, did not offer provisional credit and had not ruled in my favor yet. Very annoyed that I have to call them up to see what's going on, and they claim it takes 30 days to respond to me.

I am getting increasingly agitated abt the whole issue as it's been dragging for almost 2 months. I know we are not talking about thousands of dollars, but still, this annoys me to no end.

I am clearly aware this post-trip random charge has been quite a notorious issue with South Africa car rental companies. So I would like to know what others have done in the past in resolving their situation. Appreciate any insights.

27 replies to this topic
Belfast, United...
Level Contributor
45 posts
183 reviews
21. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Spent 2 weeks in south Africa and the only time I had any problems was at hertz car hire in both Johannesburg airport and cape town. Firstly returning a car to johannesburg they tried to say there was a scrape on the rear driver side wheel trim when I argued they checked a old return form and suddenly everything was OK. Then returning a car to Cape Town they said there was a rip/hole in tyre I explained that when I picked the car up it was after 9pm and dark the rep who was with me at the time was using his mobile phone as a torch. I asked for more lighting but this was no forthcoming. Speaking to the supervisor at cape town she said the vehicles were recorded leaving the workshop so they would be able to tell if there was any damage at that time.when I said why do they record each tyre she said they would carry out an investigation. Sounds like a scam

Level Contributor
22 posts
17 reviews
22. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Glad to hear the OP got his money returned.

We had a 4 month saga with Hertz. Everything was booked and prepaid in the UK and I arranged separate car hire excess insurance as well, so did not take the super waiver cover.

The collection was at Phalaborwa airport, but Hertz had closed down their office and so we were met with a rep who had driven the car over from Polokwane. He had a pre-printed rental agreement with the super waiver insurance added. The rental agreement was very confusing but it appeared as if everything had been paid, but the rep didn't have a clue and so I asked him to confirm what was going to be charged to my card. He tried to call his office but gave up after 2-3 attempts as there was no signal. He told us there were no more charges to be added on and told us to go ahead. We tried contacting Hertz later that day without success (no signal in northern Kruger). The next day we entered Zimbabwe and no SIM or internet access until the 5th day when we had an incident.

A 3rd party reversed into our parked car. We contacted Hertz and they told us to continue with our trip but they would get an estimate for the 3rd party incident (no mention of a police report as they were getting an estimate, it seemed they didn't have the super waiver added on their records). I checked my credit card statements and no extra payments had been taken, so I was under the impression that the super waiver had not been added. Later on the trip I reversed into some trees and was expecting to be charged for both incidents and claim my costs via my car hire excess policy.

On returning the car, the staff at OR Tambo told me that no charges were due as 'my insurance' would cover all damages. I was very confused by all this and insisted on them checking what was going on. A couple of calls were made and I was told to proceed to our flight as all was in order and nothing extra would be charged!

3 days after the end of the rental period, my credit card was charged £330 for the super waiver insurance. When I contacted Hertz, I was told that by adding this cover, I had been spared R35000 excess for the damages. I explained that I didn't want this cover in the first place as I wanted to claim from own excess policy. Hertz responded that the cover had already been applied and processed and so couldn't change anything now. I accepted this, but 5 weeks later I was charged £1430 for the repairs as well because there was no police reports for any of the incidents! Hertz policy is that all incidents (even small scratches and non 3rd party incidents) have to be reported to the police for the super waiver to be effective.

Despite several emails from me and my car hire excess policy, Hertz did not change their stance. Thankfully, my policy paid out for the repairs.

All this could have been avoided if the rep at Phalaborwa had a clue about what was going on or if they had an office there with competent staff. In my 30 year of hiring cars, the super waiver is offered before being added on. The staff at OR Tambo decided to add the super waiver without checking for a police report.

My advice is to always get a police report to avoid any issues and never collect a car from a remote location! We did the paperwork in the back canopy of the Hilux we had hired!

Hertz's communication was pathetic throughout.

Edited: 21 February 2018, 13:43
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2 posts
8 reviews
23. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Shocking behavior by what is meant to be a reputable global company. I booked a car as a GOLD Hertz member months before my arrival in South Africa last month. Whenever I have done this in the past. I walk up to the desk, pick up the envelope with car keys and all relative documentation and collect my car in the designated spot. Normally a two minute exercise. But not this time. No, this is Africa and they follow their own rules. It took over 30 mins to process the whole rental even though all my details and reservation were on the system. Worse was the fact that the price I had booked the car under was almost 15 % more!! This was put down to airport tax and some other ridiculous fees. Why was this not included at the time of booking?? I has no choice but to accept as I had just flown for 14 hours. To then add insult to injury, the swines then took two $1.50 deductions off my card. Not much, but imagine they do that to every rental every day for a year. Bet you in goes into someones pocket. Grubby tactics and won't be seeing my credit card again.

Bucharest, Romania
Level Contributor
975 posts
24 reviews
24. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Did you read the terms of your rental when you clicked 'I agree' at the time of booking? Might have saved you some unnecessary grief...

'The swine'? Really?

Edited: 08 November 2018, 09:53
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19,950 posts
62 reviews
25. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

Shockingly, you have had to wait 30 minutes for your rental car?! In Africa?? Oh boy. Now, have you booked directly with the final provider? If not the problem of 15% lies with whoever you booked with. " x 1.50 USD charges? And no explanation why??? That is so unprofessional ...

All money eventually ends into someone's pocket. Unfortunately, to me anyway, too few of the pockets are filled with too much of the money. But that is already another story.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2 posts
8 reviews
26. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

hey Jean, as I point out I have hired through Hertz plenty of times and always paid what I was quoted as well as collecting the car on time and it being ready. If you have traveled to aArica before then you will be able to relate. Sadly in life, one lives and learns. Next time I shall be more vigilant

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
657 posts
122 reviews
27. Re: South Africa car rental company - charge dispute

So...I have two car rentals scheduled in couple of weeks. One - at JNB dropping off at MQP and second - at PLZ dropping off at CPT.

Both with Avis, reservation made, but NOT prepaid. The reservation outlines all fees/charges.

My plan is to pay for the rental and fuel with Chase Sapphire card, keep receipt and as soon as the trip is over - call chase to cancel the card and ask them not to transfer any balances/changes.

Any advices are appreciated.

Edited: 05 December 2018, 08:56
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