Nov 08th, 2010 - We rented our Fiat Punto for a period of 10 days. You'd think extending our rental would be easy, right? Wrong. Our first idea was to visit the Hertz office in Tozeur (where we were) in hopes of contacting the office from which we rented the car in Tunis (where we weren't). Good plan. It helps if the Hertz office you are attempting to locate actually exists. Ours did not.
Apparently it closed shop. Super. Time for phase two: Call the office in Tunis. We spent three and a half days trying to do so. One of the phone numbers we kept dialing turned out to be the airport itself. They kept transferring the call to the phone in the Hertz office which nobody ever answered….EVER!!
We called the main office. The woman I spoke with could not find my file. She called me back once to tell me so. Her promised follow-up call never materialized. She'd had enough of us. This was a common occurrence. Folks would become frustrated with the language barrier, hang up with the promise of a follow-up, and then never call back. This was better than just hanging up on us initially, which occurred frequently as well. We called other offices. We called the emergency hotline. We scoured the internet. We summoned the angels, the saints, and all the prophets. Would Allah himself turn a blind eye to our plight?
Our dilemma was this: If we were to keep the car past the contract period would there be dire consequences? One woman who told us it should be no problem called us back to tell us we might go to jail. In the span of a few minutes we went from 'Hakuna Matata'to 'You're F***ed!!!'. Seriously?
Leslie finally reached a gentleman at another office in the south. He spoke so little English he had a friend (not a Hertz employee) translate for us. At first it seemed they would have to fax us a new contract. Not a convenient option when our direction pointed south to the Sahara. But at long last we were given a different number for the office in Tunis that a gentleman actually answered. After a short but painful conversation I was told it would be no problem to keep the Punto. Riiiiiight. That instilled me with oodles of confidence. Following a short discussion we decided to go for it. In the end it was all good. No handcuffs awaiting our return to Tunis.
The video below is a short clip from two conversations. Unfortunately, our small camera was not functioning properly. This was all we could salvage. It is a pity as it is a difficult to get an accurate representation of the true depth of our frustration. Still, some might find it mildly amusing.
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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim