Compensation for losses caused by poor rental vehicle?

by Jamie

I was driving a rental car from Hertz on I-5 in Stockton, CA and the emissions light came on, then the car died. It was late at night, I couldn't find the hazards, called the cops to come stay with me, as it was pitch black and I was in fear for my safety and my life.

I called Hertz rental car, they wanted to send someone from the Sacramento airport which would have taken over an hour and a half to get to me. I was so scared that I opted to use whatever was faster, which turned out to be my AAA. What should have taken me 2 hours to get home took 5.

The next day, dealing with towing was a nightmare, it took 4 hours to get my replacement car from Hertz. This is 4 hours away from work!

Can I be compensated for the time off work and repaid for using my AAA tow, as well as the emotional distress this incident caused? It would have cost $660 out of pocket for the tow, although, I did pay cash, I used my AAA tow.

I asked to see maintenance records for the rental car, which they refused to provide. They suggested I reach out to Hyundai, however, I didn't rent from Hyundai. They are offering a $200 certificate toward another rental, but I do not feel comfortable renting from them ever again. Is there anything I can do about this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Compensation for losses caused by poor rental vehicle?":

Jamie (California):

You are in a precarious position. Certainly Hertz was responsible for replacing the car. However, from the facts you present, you chose not to wait for the replacement car from Hertz.

According to you, if you had waited an hour and a half you would have had the replacement car. Instead, you chose to use your AAA, and the whole process took 5 hours. Any delays from AAA are not Hertz's fault.

Furthermore, because you didn't have to pay any out of pocket expenses to AAA, you have no right to reimbursement from Hertz.

While you can ask Hertz to reimburse you for your lost wages, it is very unlikely they will agree. When they don't, you may consider suing them for the amount in one of California's small claims courts.

Your best bet would be to contact the Hertz corporation and discuss the matter with someone in their corporate office. You can reach them at:

225 Brae Boulevard
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
Telephone: (201) 307-2000

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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