KAYAK.com – Worst Experience Ever

I recently reserved a car rental through Hertz using KAYAK.  I reserved a mini-van to haul my daughter’s stuff up to college.  This was supposed to be an exciting time.  Instead it became an incredibly difficult experience thanks to KAYAK.

I had originally made my reservation to pick up my vehicle at 5pm on a Saturday.  Around 12pm on the day of the reservation I called the Hertz location for my pick up and asked if I could come earlier…perhaps around 3:30 pm.  They were befuddled.  First they didn’t even do commercial Hertz rentals.  Second, they close at 1pm on Saturdays.  Do the math on that one!  I would have arrived 4 hours after they closed if I hadn’t called early.  Lastly they didn’t even find my reservation in their system.  They directed me to call the nearby airport location.

Next I called the airport Hertz location.  Same luck.  Nobody had my reservation and worst of all they didn’t have any mini-vans!  They advised me to call Hertz’ 800 number.  I called the 800 number and was put on with someone who spoke so-so English and was obviously “from out of town.”  I’d say somewhere around the outskirts of New Delhi.  I didn’t get very far with him.  He recommended that I call KAYAK; however, in their infinite wisdom have decided not to have a customer support number…or any level of customer support for that matter.  Eventually he asked if he could put me on hold while he called the local Hertz location for me.  After about 5 minutes he came back and assured me that everything had been handled.  He thanked me, ensured that I didn’t forget that it was a “blessed day” and hung up.  Jeez.

My follow-up was to immediately call that same local Hertz dealership.  Interestingly enough they DID receive the phone call.  They said I would be find to come pick up the mini-van but I would need to do so before 1pm when they close.  I mentioned how I wouldn’t be able to get back the following day before 1pm and didn’t want to be penalized by having to pay for 2 days because of their mistake.  “No problem,” he said.  Just drop the keys off in “the box” when I return the mini-van and it’ll be fine.  So, I said “excellent, can I come pick it up now?”  “Well, let me make sure we have a mini-van here.” he tells me.  “Are your F***ing kidding me!?” is what I’m thinking.  After about 10 minutes on hold I finally hung up and immediately called back.  It rang for about 30 seconds followed by someone answering, asking if they could put me on hold…indefinitely.

Before I was upset, but at this point my blood is boiling.  Here I am 4 hours away from needing to drive my daughter up to college and still need to pick up the rental and then get home and load it.  I decided to call the airport Hertz location and explain my plight.  Again, no reservation and no idea how they can help me.  In my desperation I explained that I am stuck, was counting on them and needed any kind of solution that they could accommodate.  When it became clear to them that I only needed the van for 1 day they said that as long as I could return the mini-van the next day then they would let me take it overnight.  “Can I come get it now?”  “Yes,” was their reply.  “I’m on my way!”

At the airport location the clerk tells me he can’t do anything about the charge that I already paid KAYAK but that he could still rent me the mini-van at my expense.  I didn’t really have a choice so I did.  He said he’d cut me a break and give me a less expensive rental charge than typical ($85) whereas my total out the door with KAYAK was just under $68.  I didn’t care at this point and took the rental.

The next day I tried to get back quick enough to keep from inconveniencing the Hertz airport location and fulfilling my promise to bring it back the next day.  I arrived about 27 hours after I’d picked up the mini-van the day before.  Guess what?  A different guy behind the counter and a 2-day charge since I went over by 3 hours.  This is some serious bullshit!  Exhausted, I reluctantly paid and went home.

The next day, Monday, I tried to track down any kind of contact information for KAYAK.com.  I finally found an 800 number that got me absolutely nowhere.  It’s an automated system with zero recourse or ability to talk to an actual human being, not even one from New Delhi.

I figured I was never getting any of my money back and I should just cut my losses.  Then a few seconds later I remembered how I make it my mission in life to destroy people who’ve slighted me.  I found the 800 number for Hertz and gave them a call.

When I was finally put on with a human being, this time one from this hemisphere, everything changed.  Long story short she refunded me for everything except for the 1 day rental charge.  Ultimately I’m satisfied with Hertz, but I wouldn’t recommend KAYAK to anyone and I hope my experience will help ease anyone else the pain and suffering a company like KAYAK can do to you.


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