Poor Customer Service: Hertz - Lost not Found[2]

Open letter to Mark Frissora, CEO, Hertz (HTZ) regarding repeated Lost and Found failures at Hertz Heathrow Airport Branch

26 Cheney Way
Cambridge CB4 1UD
Mark Frissora,
11th March 2007

Dear Mr Frissora,

I wrote to you on 17th January 2007 regarding some sunglasses that I had inadvertantly left in the hire car which I returned to your Heathrow Airport branch on the 6th January. Whilst I accepted responsibility for the loss I was surprised that your lost property department had not received the glasses. To my even greater surprise, I was told by your Heathrow Airport branch that they had not had any lost property for a while. Surely, in your business, you routinely deal with lost property. To have little or none at the busy Heathrow branch sounded fishy to me.

Your Executive Customer Services department told me, "To date this year, the Lost Property Department at Heathrow have only found a few small items of lost property". In a later email they went on to explain that, "The majority of our customers would remove all personal items before returning the rental agreement". I understand this is the intention of your customers. However, people are human and when rushing for a plane, I would suspect that they are not always particularly diligent about remembering all their possessions. I am sure that handling lost property is a routine aspect of Hertz business and if one of your busy branches has little or no lost property, this is suspicious.

I have recently had occasion to rent a car from Hertz at Heathrow again (Feb 26th - March 4th). This time I thought to test out your lost property process at this branch by deliberately leaving some sunglasses in the car, in an obvious place (in fact I left them in the same place as I left the glasses I accidentally left in one of your hire cars in January). I took some photos of exactly where I left the glasses in the car.

sun glasses deliberately left in Hertz rental car on return to test their lost property sun glasses deliberately left in Hertz rental car on return to test their lost property

I emailed your Heathrow Airport branch and told them that I left the glasses in the car. They replied, "I wish I could help you but unfortunately we didn't find anything. At least not sunglasses."

I emailed them again saying, "Are you sure? I am positive I left them in the car. What normally happens when you find something that is lost like this?".

They replied, "I'm sure we didn't find anything! The procedure is whenever our cleaners team have any lost property they delivering this to us. We have special FOUND BOOK . We writing there every information about lost property and the customer. If we don't have any information about customer we still keeping the item we writing every details and than waiting for customers to claim, like you! The stolen items always coming to our office nowhere else. And we keeping them for 3 months. So that's why I'm so sure that we didn't found any sunglasses or glasses.

Sorry for your lost."

Curious for the word "stolen" to be used, presumably inadvertantly, in this response from your Heathrow branch.

Might I suggest that something untoward is going on at your Heathrow Airport branch and that the lack of lost property held there requires a better explanation than believing that your customers are particularly diligent whilst rushing for planes? I am sure you would have an expected running rate for lost property and for the sake of the integrity of your operation you would monitor this. Perhaps you would like to replicate the test I just did to see what happens.

It saddens me to see that this lost property process is not working for your business. You spend money on customer loyalty programmes and yet, when you have a real opportunity to wow a customer by returning property that they believe is lost, you fail to take advantage of it. Perhaps your staff should be given incentives for the amount of lost property they find and return.

I look forward to your response on this matter and will be happy to publish it on the web, on www.litsl.com, along with this letter if you so wish.

Yours sincerely,

Carl Myhill

PS Whilst waiting in the bus to be transferred to the airport I kept an eye on the car on the lot. One odd thing happened. Someone jumped into the car and reversed it, very quickly, out of the queue of cars that had just been returned and drove it towards what was perhaps the cleaning area. I wondered why my car had been singled out in this way.