Hertz didn't take my CC number with online booking. Normal?

As you can probably tell from the question, i don’t rent cars very often.

We’re off to Vermont for a few days next month, staying with friends in Burlington. Because it’s so expensive to fly into Burlington from Baltimore (~$320 return per person), we’re flying Southwest to Manchester, NH ($120 per person, return). Our friends from Burlington are very kindly picking us up in Manchester (his parents live there, so he’s coming down to stay the night, then driving us up to Burlington when we arrive).

They offered to give us a ride back to Manchester as well, but asking them to make another 3-hour round trip seemed like too much, so i decided to see if we could rent a car one-way from Burlington to Manchester on the day we leave.

Well, Hertz does one-way rentals, so i booked a car at their website, to be picked up in Burlington and dropped off at Manchester airport. I put in my name and email address, and got a confirmation. The confirmation on the website, and in the resulting email, looked fine, but i was rather surprised that they didn’t ask for a credit card number. I can’t remember the last time i was able to book something online without giving up a CC number.

Anyway, i just wanted to get people’s take on this. Do you rent cars often? From Hertz? Are these companies good about honoring their online rentals, or is it going to be like U-Haul, where i turn up on the day, only to find that there’s no vehicles available?

Any insight into this puzzling issue is most welcome.

It happens to me all of the time. They do it just to get an idea of the number and types of vehicles to have on hand at a particular location.

It’s rare for them to have a rush on vehicles and not be able to give you one. If they did have a rush, I have no idea what they would do or be required to do.

That has been my experience with both Hertz and Avis. No CC# until you get there to pick the car up.

Yes, it is like U-Haul, with perhaps a bit more chance that they have a car for you.

In all fairness, I’ve only been burned by car rentals once or twice, but it sucks regardless. You make a reservation weeks (or months) in advance, you show up, no car. I hate it.

Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?

Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.

Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the
reservation.

Agent: I *know * why we have reservations.

Jerry: I don’t think you do! If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to
take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold * the reservation and
that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody
can just take them.

They do not charge a penalty fee for a no-show.
There is, therefore, no point in getting a CC number.
I have never had them not have a car for me, ala Seinfeld, if I have a reservation. They do refuse to make a reservation if all the cars are reserved, which is not uncommon at big airports. I am not saying it never happens.
I rent from Hertz once or twice a week in the course of my job.

Nothing unusual, mhendo, it’s the current norm in the USA domestic market; some * used * to ask for the CC (and *internationally * it is still often so) but haven’t for some time now. This I suppose results from more effective fleet management systems enabling them to cut down on idle stock and minimize potential no-show losses. The system will prevent you from reserving if the specific time+place+class+sale-offer you’re trying to book is oversold.

The rental companies promise a car in the general category you reserved, not a specific chosen car; and in the case of the reputable companies, if they run out of that category, you’ll be offered a free upgrade to the next class available (BTDT). Of course, the “upgrade” is defined according to* their * standard. I once was at a concession at Philadelphia during one of those “summer of rocketing gas prices” we’ve had in the last few years, and there was a mini-insurrection of multiple customers refusing the “upgrade” to SUVs.

Well, it’s good to know that this is standard practice, and that companies like Hertz generally seem to try not to overbook their cars. Luckily for us, the worse thing that would happen if there were no car when we turned up would be that our friends would have to drive us back down to Manchester. That would suck, but we wouldn’t be stranded or anything.

I certainly don’t care what kind of car i get. I booked a compact (second-cheapest class), but it really doesn’t matter. The car is literally going to be used for nothing more than driving us from Burlington to Manchester airport.

I remember the first time i rented a car in the US, when i was here from Australia on a research trip (before i moved here to live). I ordered a compact, and the guy at the rental office asked me if a knew how to drive a stick. I said that i did, but that i’d prefer an auto because i didn’t have too much experience driving on the right hand side of the road, and i figured learning how to change gears with my right hand might complicate things.

He said, “Well, i’ll have to give you a minivan then, because we’re out of compacts. If you were happy with a stick, i would have given you that Mustang over there.”

I blurted out “I’ll take it,” and ended up with a Mustang for the price of a Ford Focus. And driving a stick on the wrong side took no time to get used to. I felt very American, cruising down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in my Mustang.