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Hertz So Bad  (Sydney, Australia)

(Reprint from News: February 18, 2002)

February 11, 2002

 

After spending a night in Tumbarumba, a night in Cowra, and a few days in Bathurst, a pleasant city of 30,000 surrounded by the rolling wheat fields of the Central Tablelands, I drove a few hours east through the Blue Mountains and back to bustling Sydney.  After spending the previous week meandering through the bucolic countryside, Sydney was major culture shock.  Nevertheless, the boxes of camping gear that I had mailed to myself while in Auckland had finally arrived, so I picked them up at the Post Office and headed down to the airport, where I turned in my Avis rental car and got my 2-month rental car from Hertz.  

 

I'm really starting to hate Hertz and I wonder why I keep patronizing them.  A few months earlier in Los Angeles, they ripped me off but I didn't notice it until too late, so this time I was on my toes.  When I got to the desk at the Sydney Airport, the Hertz agent, a woman in her mid-20's, was going to charge me US$25 a day for a car that I'd reserved via Hertz's website at US$17 a day.  That difference of $8 a day carried over two months worked out to about $500, so I was pretty ticked off.  Fortunately, when I made the reservation the previous week I had copied the Hertz confirmation webpage into Microsoft Word, so I dragged out my laptop, opened the file, and showed her.  After a few calls to the manager, the Hertz agents were adamant:  "We can't rent it at $17 a day.  We couldn't make a profit at that rate."  Of course, I was thinking, "Who cares if you make a profit?  A deal is a deal."

 

I was polite but firm and so after another hour, I finally got my car.  Even better was that Hertz didn't have any more compact cars available, so I got a free upgrade to a Toyota Camry, which will be my home for the next two months.  Not a bad deal -- a brand-new 30-mpg Toyota Camry with air-conditioning and a good stereo system for only $17 a day.  Both Hertz and I hope the Camry comes back in one piece.

 

With that taken care of, I left Sydney and headed south along Highway 1, starting my two-month trip around Australia.

 

2-2176_Car_Exchange_at_Airport.jpg (37553 bytes)    2-2182_Booderee_National_Park.jpg (48087 bytes)    2-2184_Jervis_Bay.jpg (45410 bytes)

Above left:  At the Sydney Airport, exchanging my one-week rental car (right) for my 2-month rental car (left).

Above center:  Jervis Bay, south of Sydney.

Above right:  Murray Beach at Booderee National Park.

 

2-2188_Botanical_Garden.jpg (89282 bytes)    2-2190_Batemans_Bay.jpg (43512 bytes)    2-2191_Bega_Valley.jpg (24460 bytes)

Above left:  The Botanical Gardens at Booderee.

Above center:  Bateman's Bay, a pleasant resort town a few hours south of Sydney.

Above right:  The Bega Valley, in southern New South Wales, where I'm writing this update.

 

 

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