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I booked rental car from Hertz company via AutoEurope. My voucher says that I should pick up my car at Jul 28, 13:00.

But I would like to pick the car up at 11:00 (that's 2 hours earlier). Can I do that, or I absolutely must come at 13:00? How strict is that time?

I suppose the car should already be there 2 hours earlier so it shouldn't be a problem?

I'm asking because properly changing time via AutoEurope will cost me 200 EUR more at the time (because rates have changed). And that seems a bit silly for such a small change.

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    Practical suggestion if you haven't done so already: phone up customer service rather and talk to an actual human being rather than a computer system. You may well discover they can change your booking as a "special favour" at only a small charge. – Philip Kendall Jul 12 '17 at 11:26
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    Would it not make more sense to ask them about this? Or read the documentation provided with your reservation? Seems kind of silly to ask random strangers on the internet. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jul 12 '17 at 14:01
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    "I suppose the car should already be there 2 hours earlier so it shouldn't be a problem" - why would you think this? If they expect you to pick it up at 13:00 why would they get it ready for 11:00? It might be there but it might also not have been cleaned or refuelled or the previous renter might only be returning it at 11:30... – Chris Jul 12 '17 at 14:55
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    We're not Hertz... why don't you call them? – SnakeDoc Jul 12 '17 at 15:42
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    The vehicle availability is only one issue. If the hire company are also arranging the insurance, they will definitely not let you drive an uninsured vehicle away! Of course they could rearrange the insurance start time, but you don't want to have to wait while they do that. – alephzero Jul 12 '17 at 19:14
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Maybe yes, maybe no. It's like checking into a hotel early: you can always ask, and sometimes you'll get it, but they may also say no. So it's definitely worth a try, but the only way to (almost) guarantee early access is to pay extra.

In addition, beware that most rental agencies charge for their rentals on a 24-hour basis, so if you get the car two hours early, you may also be asked to return it two hours early or you may be charged an extra day.

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    +1 for the 24-hour basis rental policies. – mkingsbu Jul 12 '17 at 17:15
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    At Hertz, they very simply leger it from the instant you take the care - end of story. (The actual booking time is irrelevant.) – Fattie Jul 12 '17 at 19:36
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    You will only get it if available. The hotel / rental company has no way of knowing who will check out / return the car earlier than their deadline. – Weather Vane Jul 12 '17 at 22:40
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    Hotels are a bad comparison. Car rental companies are way more flexible than hotels in their management of reservations. – Martin Argerami Jul 13 '17 at 2:07
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    @MartinArgerami You'd be surprised: my employer has a no-fee same-day cancellation deal with most major hotel chains. And in both cases, the ultimate limit of flexibility is how many rooms/cars are available, if the room/car is not free they can't give it to you no matter how much you plead. – jpatokal Jul 13 '17 at 4:56
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This depends on the availability of the vehicle at the rental location.

If you have ordered something uncommon then they may have made special arrangements for your vehicle to be there at the scheduled time.

It is best to call the location directly and ask.

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    The type of location will have an impact here, too. For example, things will be much more likely to work out at the airport facility of a multinational hire firm than, say, the city centre facility of a single-country operator, which is only staffed 10am to 1pm... – AakashM Jul 12 '17 at 8:23
  • In fact, they've probably made arrangements for the vehicle to be there earlier than the scheduled time. The customer is going to be annoyed if they booked a car for 1pm and it's delayed until 1:30. – David Richerby Jul 12 '17 at 16:37
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I'm a little more optimistic than most other answers. Now, your rental will start early and hence end early, but at a major airport location where there are always a few cars, I don't think you will have an issue. This won't hold only if you are getting a special car or it's a holiday time where cars are scarce. Happens, but seldom.

Flights often land early or late.

  • Of course, this is correct. – Fattie Jul 12 '17 at 19:37
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Also, the car could only be given back a few moments before, so not available for getting it earlier. It happened to me once, the car just came back, and had to get a maintenance, so i had to leave later than what was booked. So, you don't lose anything by asking, but it is quite possible they won't accept

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The turn around of cars can be pretty quick. I returned a car to Avis in Atlanta airport recently. On my way to the terminal, I realised that I had left something in the car. I got back to customer service 20 minutes after returning the car and it had already gone out again. I had returned the car more than one hour early. This indicates that there is no specific car allocated to you in advance, you get whatever is available in the band that you paid for. On a lucky day, there is no car in your band and you get a better car at the same price.

As others say, call and ask but my guess is that it is likely but not guaranteed that it will be okay. I am moderately sure that I have done it sometimes.

  • IMO it's unlikely they'll give the OP a better car because it's his fault to come before the rental starts. – Dmitry Grigoryev Jul 13 '17 at 10:10
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that he might get a better car by arriving early. That was intended just to apply to the general allocation process. – badjohn Jul 13 '17 at 11:51
  • Every time I picked up a pre-booked car it was allocated for me. And in your case they may have rent "your" car to some one who just came by without booking. – Neusser Jul 13 '17 at 14:30
  • I rarely get the car that I expect. For example, in the trip that I just referred to, I expected a Chevrolet but got a Hyundai. I was very disappointed. I very much doubt that they put your name on a specific car in advance. Occasionally, I get a better car but more often just one that is different to what I expected. Sometimes, I am just told to pick any in a certain row in the parking lot. They only know what I have when I am checked at the exit gate. – badjohn Jul 13 '17 at 14:35

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