Hertz charges customer for car rental even after it's returned

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- When you rent a car, you don't expect to keep paying for it even after you return it. But that's what happened to one East Bay woman: she got a bill for driving the car when she didn't even have it. She says nobody listened - until 7 on Your Side's Michael Finney stepped in.

It was a very frustrating situation: Nazarene Ali-Sullivan dropped the car off as instructed, but the rental company didn't close her account until weeks later. She didn't know it happened until a bill came out of the blue. How do you prove you returned a car? That's when she came to 7 on Your Side for help.

Aidan Ali-Sullivan shows where a hit and run driver sliced into the rear of his parked car. "The damage was here, and on the lens here... I came back and the rear bumper was basically ripped and this backup sensor had also broken off," he said.

"I realized I needed to get this taken care of," Ali-Sullivan said, "But I was leaving the country for six months, so..."

So who could take it into the shop for repairs?

Aiden called his mom, Nazrene. Except he didn't tell her about the damage until the car arrived at her Hayward home. "Aiden called me and asked me if I wanted his car. I said okay. He told me: but now you have to take care of this problem for me!" she laughed.

"I know I left her in a tough position," Ali-Sullivan admits.

However, the repairs were the easy part. It was the rental car that caused all the trouble.

Nazrene said she rented a car from Hertz. The company told her to return it to the auto body shop when her son's car was ready. So, that's what she did.

"I took the rental car back to the body shop, turned in the keys to them," Nazarene recalls.

Everything was fine. Or so she thought.

"A couple months later I get a bill from Hertz for a rental car, and I had no idea what they were talking about," she said.

It turns out Hertz kept charging her for that rental car even after she returned it.

"I said, I have proof I handed the car back into the body shop. They still insisted I had to pay for the car. It was only $145; it wasn't a lot, but it was the principle, because I didn't have the car!" said Nazarene.

She disputed the charge with her credit card company -- but Hertz refused to reverse it.

"I said okay, 7 On Your Side, I'm going to call!" Nazarene said.

7 on Your Side contacted Hertz, and after looking into the case, the company said there was confusion over where Nazrene returned the car, and "... that may have contributed to the delay in closing the rental. We have refunded the extra days she was billed."

"With 7 on Your Side, it only took a few hours for them to fix what I had been trying to fix for two months. So I was very happy," said Nazarene.

Hertz also gave her a gift card for a free rental car in the future.

If you return a rental car someplace like an auto repair shop, a hotel or a different rental office, always make sure they close your account.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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