Hertz gone wild: A rather interesting pick-up adventure


Picking up a rental car is rarely an exciting event. Get to the lot, find my car and drive away. I like that it takes no effort and, generally, no interaction with people. Except this week at the Hertz in Nashville, TN. This was a whole lot of strange going on.

The Nashville Hertz recently converted to being a “Gold Choice” location which I enjoy because it means I get to pick my car. That usually works in my favor, though I also generally don’t really care about the details of the car. And it worked against me in two separate ways this week.

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My first move, as I entered the car pick-up area was to add my frequent flyer number to the reservation so I earn a few points for the booking. Not a ton but better than collecting Hertz points on this booking. SO I headed in to the booth and asked the guy to do it. He pulled up my reservation and informed me that he could not make any changes because I didn’t have a car assigned. The supposed convenience of selecting my own car meant that doing things like adjusting my booking would not be possible. They did suggest that I could drive back in after collecting my car and they’d be able to make the change at that point. No thanks.

So I left the booth and headed to the collection of midsize cars. I chose the silver Honda Civic with local plates and headed to the exit booth. I presented my license and the friendly agent went about doing what it is that they do. I was given my contract and I rolled out of the lot. Only to discover that I didn’t have my contract at all.

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I am most definitely not Christopher Miller. Whoopsie. And I was already out of the lot at this point, rolling down the ramp towards the airport exit. I looped around the airport and headed back up into the returns area. The guy there was a bit confused but eventually routed me through the cones and up to the booth where the guy who was previously unable to add my FF# to the reservation fixed the contract and added the FF#, now possible because I had the car. Not what I planned to do but it got the job done, I suppose.

And then there’s wonky problem number three. I cannot blame this one on the “Gold Choice” location; it could have (in theory) happened anywhere. I headed out to enjoy my afternoon and ran a few errands. And then I got back to the car and tried to unlock it using the buttons. Nothing happened. I switched to the other key and it worked. Not the first time that’s happened to me; I just assumed that the battery in the transmitter was dead. Nope…the little red light came on when I pushed the button. So I looked more closely at the keys. Turns out they are different.

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Two keys on the same ring and I’m guessing given out to many others before me. But only one of them actually works on this car. And I checked a few times. Definitely different keys.

The good news is that I was only delayed about 15 minutes total getting out of the airport, I still got a spectacular rate thanks to AutoSlash and one of the keys does work. But the overall circumstances are definitely quite a bit different than my typical rental car experience. At least the car is a nice ride.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

3 Comments

    1. Agreed. That number was my first hint that things were amiss. Though, to be fair, it was a one-way rental from Nashville to Knoxville and one-way trips are known to be a bit more expensive.

  1. We had that happen when several members of my family were taking a road trip from NY to Niagara Falls for a family friend’s wedding. We rented a Ford Expedition. The thing was the damn thing was governed to do a max of 85 MPH!!! It was annoying because the second car had no such issue. We found out later in the trip (too bad halfway HOME), that one key was chipped to have a governor active on the car while the OTHER key had no such programming; it was luck of the draw on which key you decided to place in the ignition.

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