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My lady and I recently toured Spain by car and had reserved a budget-econobox, a Ford Escort 1.3, from Hertz in Madrid. The first surprise was being told that particular car would not be available for our rental: Hertz quietly upgraded us to a larger, faster, four-door 1.6 liter model at no extra charge. The second surprise was receiving the bill based on Hertz Affordable Europe rate: We had the car for 16 days, drove 1,800 miles, yet the total came to only $430.

This week I received the following letter from Hertz:

“A review of our records indicates that the currency exchange rate applied on your rental was incorrectly computed at the time of check-in.

“Recomputing the exchange rate allows us to credit your account $5.71. A refund check will be sent within two to three weeks. Please accept our apology for this error.”

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If Hertz has a favorite charity, it has just earned $5.71.

If Hertz is interested in rental loyalty for a lifetime, it has mine.

PAUL DEAN

Woodland Hills


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