More Renters Added To Lawsuit Against Hertz Over False Car Theft Claims

from the rentals-now-coming-with-free-rides-to-police-stations dept

Late last year, more than 165 Hertz customers sued the company over false allegations of theft. Multiple plaintiffs claimed they had been stopped by law enforcement for supposedly having stolen a rental car. In some cases, customers were jailed for months before criminal charges were dropped. One former Hertz employee claims this is just how Hertz does business. Rather than go through the normal collection process, Hertz appears to prefer to let law enforcement handle it.

The bogus theft allegation problem that’s unique to Hertz dates back to at least early 2019, but it appears very little has improved since these reports first started trickling in. The number of plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit has swelled by another 100 allegedly falsely accused renters.

Lawyers are preparing to file 100 new claims over the coming weeks on behalf of Hertz customers who say they were victims of false arrest incidents.

Among the new cases is Brittany Morgan and Jeremy Benjamin, a couple who was pulled over and arrested at gunpoint in Houston, Texas after renting a Ford Mustang from Hertz at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“We showed the police the paperwork and told them we had obviously not stolen the car. We were stunned when the police told us that the license plate on our car was from another car that was reported stolen and that it was not even the license plate listed on our rental paperwork,” the couple wrote in a legal declaration. “We are infuriated that something like this could happen, and dumbfounded to learn that Hertz has previously rented “stolen” cars to customers.” 

Hertz, of course, is still offering the same statement — one that claims this only affects a very small percentage of its millions of rentals. How small that percentage actually is remains to be seen. Hertz has been ordered to provide exact numbers of its bogus theft claims to the court handling the class action suit.

But even if it’s a small percentage, it’s still hundreds or thousands more than are generated by other car rental companies. And if those companies can accurately handle vehicle rentals without getting people arrested on bogus theft charges, there’s no reason Hertz can’t either… other than possibly a lack of desire.

And while Hertz continues to pretend the problem only Hertz has isn’t actually a problem, reports of bogus theft accusations continue to roll in. This one comes via travel blog View from the Wing, sent in by another regular Hertz customer who has just been screwed in a uniquely Hertz way:

I just got a letter today from Hertz claiming I still have a vehicle I returned last week and threatening me with arrest. No previous communication prior to the letter. President’s Club, no rental extension, picked up and returned at the airport. Thankfully, I took a photo of the dash when I returned it, for mileage and fuel record, and that’s geolocated to Hertz airport rental office.

Offshore call center agent said they’d “look into it.”

I’m done with these guys. They can keep my 10k points.

Just another anomaly for Hertz. Just another data point the company feels is too insignificant to address honestly, much less get sued over. But this certainly isn’t the last bit of anecdotal evidence that will likely soon become actual sworn evidence in the future. Hertz wants us to look at the iceberg. But the tip is where all the action is.

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Comments on “More Renters Added To Lawsuit Against Hertz Over False Car Theft Claims”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“one that claims this only affects a very small percentage of its millions of rentals.”

So its a perfectly acceptable business model that has Hertz filing bogus police reports, getting customers arrested, and generally being fuckups…

Only a small percentage of POC stopped by cops end up dead under odd circumstances, but its enough that we know we have a problem and are actively trying to fix it.

Sofia Holcombe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I was arrested 2014 by Hertz I rent the car I was arrested after I bailed out they had another warrant against me at this point I didn’t even have they car. At the warrant was active almost a whole year I was in a hideout. I want to see several lawyers no one want to take action to sue them for me now they haven’t discussed action lawsuit I joined but I was told my cases too old for me to be and I have to wait the cort to open to see if can join the lawsuit.this really crazy I’m really sorry for all the that experience this like I did was a nightmare it really left me with a lot of anxiety and fear.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hertz has decided letting the police handle their problem rather than them going to collect the car is much cheaper. They don’t have to hire tow truck operators or people to go get what they think is their ‘stolen’ car. That’s a business decision on how to save money.

They also don’t think it worth the time and money to update their procedures to reflect when a car is returned. They will go ahead and re-rent the car when it comes back in but won’t check to see the previous renter had returned it. What’s wrong with this picture when your business depends on repeat customers?

I suspect when this class action lawsuit gets done, they will find they made a mistake on what was cheaper.

None of this helps the customers who were jailed on stolen car reports and the resulting criminal record of the arrest. That criminal report will result in problems getting future jobs and even renting a house. But hey, that’s not Hertz problem is it? At least from their viewpoint.

Since this isn’t the first time this problem has been addressed here at Techdirt, I can guarantee I won’t ever consider Hertz for renting a car. I don’t need the hassles they are causing.

Naughty Autie says:


None of this helps the customers who were jailed on stolen car reports and the resulting criminal record of the arrest. That criminal report will result in problems getting future jobs and even renting a house.

Unless the plaintiffs win their case, in which situation they can apply to have their ‘vehicle theft’ convictions overturned.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What was missed here is the idea that they will still have a job after being arrested, held, pretrial, maybe get bail, lose their job for not showing up, lose their home because no income, and then where are they to find the money to try and have their records expunged?

Oh and depending on the state your mugshot & name will be on a website easily discoverable and nigh impossible to get taken down, so even if you manage to finally get the charges dropped, your record expunged, a quick websearch shows you’re a criminal.

(The echoing in my head is from Kash Hill’s story about the crazy lady in Canada who spread all sorts of rumors about someone she thought had screwed her over for years and even people who knew the victim of the rumors were still thinking that well someone is calling them a pedo so there might be something to it, and treated the completely innocent man like he might be a pedo.)

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Be Aware that Hertz Sometimes Does Affinity Plans

If you rent through AAA, you may be making a mistake. Not sure this whole ``falsely accuse of stealing cars” thing is going to look good for AAA, either.

Of course the ABA ought to know better. At least many of the members will be the sorts of litigators that might push back.

(hope the links work, preview is still broken on new site with firefox 78.4.0 esr/64, linux, no javascript; worked fine on old site with same set-up on same computer,OS,browser)

Another Arrested Hertz Renter says:

Fasely Arrestted by Hertz Stolen Car "Computer" Glitch

I too was arrested two months after I returned a rental car to Hertz in 2021.. The bad thing is I was arrested at home to be transported to a different Parish (St. Tammany, Covington, Louisiana) in which I had not rented a car in that Parish. I contacted Hertz on the day the officers came to my house and spoke with Paul (who I had dealt with on other occasions due to being a frequent renter) Paul stated, “they (Hertz) were in possession of the car, 2020 Kicks and there was a balance due and I also asked about the female worker who was not present. Majority of my rentals and extensions were with her, Therefore it was nothing new for me to rent and keep a car for weeks. However, on the day I rented the car 12/2020 the gentleman working the counter was not my usual workers who worked the Hammond location. I asked was he new and he informed me he was from the Covington location. However, I didn’t think any thing of it until I called to do an extention and Kristie (I will call her) could not locate the car I had and she asked me, “was I sure I had a rental?”, in which I responded yes. Now does this sound like someone stealing a car? As she continue to look, with no success, she asked me about the key, I provided the key code and also informed her someone from Covington was filling in on that day. She then found the renatal and also stated, “the male had placed the rental under his code. I thought nothing of that as long as they were afoemd ware I had a car. The mistake he made cause me to be arrested in the wrong parish for a car I was not in possession of. I am still going to court as of this day for a criminal charge they have tried to pin to me and there has not been one representative from Hertz. My Court appearance in May I was asked did I want to do a “Motion to Quash” Let me just add my Bail was set at $30 for this supposingly felony I committed. And to top it off, Hertz sent a letter to the courts on May 25, 2020 claiming they had the car. However, this was not clarified but attached during the discovery. Lance who work at Hertz “arrogantly informed my family, it is what it is” on July 7-8, 2020. Now if that letter had been attached to the discovery, Lance could have quickly referred to the letter in which they claimed were in the possesion of the Sheriff’s Department in May 2020. However, I need assistance. I want Hertz to respond for the disruption they have caused in my life. I have been emotionally, socially, physically and mentally sick and stressed sick while dealing with this

Shopper says:

Re: Sofia, Sofia,Sofia!!!

Hun, you ARE an adult, yes? I mean, you’re old enough to rent a car so you must be over-what is it-25?? So why do your comments- I’ve read (or tried to, anyway) two so far- look like they were written by an exceedingly dim eight year old ? You
Mentioned in a previous comment that you had tried and failed to interest at least one attorney in assisting you with this matter. Was this contact a call? A letter? An Email? If your writing here in this comment section is any indication, Perhaps your inability to express yourself intelligently or even cogently is a factor in failing to secure representation for what must surely be a distressing & continually disruptive matter in your life. Do you have anyone- a friend or relative to help you? Because if you have a disability or difficulty with communication, that shouldn’t mean that you just knuckle-under and let yourself get screwed. The fact that this is now a class action suit that has received media coverage would make finding representation considerably easier, aI should think- communication difficulties notwithstanding. Maybe you should consider contacting one of the attorneys mentioned in one of the several articles on this very subject published on this site & seriously consider using an intermediary to write any necessary letters. Failing that, if you believe that a disabling condition is preventing you from securing representation & seeking legal redress, you might consider finding a disability rights attorney who might intervene with these other lawyers on your behalf.

OKJordan (profile) says:

Tell me the lawyer to contact

I rented in April 1995 in OKC, right before the OKC Bombing. I was arrested in 2002 in Dallas. Detectives showed up at my work with guns drawn. I was a manager at a major department store. My nine children were left with my husband who had to take time from work, and move the kids to a hotel to be near me in downtown Dallas near the jail. I was battling cancer and the jail refused me my OxyContin, even after my pain management doctor, my Oncologist, my General practitioner, and my church leaders called, FAXed, called the governor, and raised ten kinds of Hell to make sure I was getting my cancer treatment and my pain treatment. Nothing like a very naive woman, a jail virgin, rotting in jail in severe pain and withdrawal! The only saving grace was my husband hired an attorney (she is now a judge) to represent me. She knew the Sheriff and others, got me extradited to Oklahoma quickly, then got me processed through OK jail quickly and out on bail. I still had the embarrassment and pain of the arrest, my children and husband being afraid for me and them, and I lost my job. In America, you are always guilty until proven innocent, and many times after, you are still guilty (even with a verdict of not guilty). This arrest continues to follow me and prevent me from getting a good job, working with the government, etc. My attorney told me the expense of traveling back to Oklahoma for court, and her high fees would be far more than the $1500 settlement the court requested. I paid to make it go away, and until recently, I thought it was just my bad luck. I have now been told it is probably too late for me to do anything, but I am not letting this go!

Shopper says:

Re: Maybe…

I’d probably start with one of the lawyers quoted in one or more of the articles about this subject on this website. Look at all of the articles, Write down all of their names, find their office contact info & start calling. I have to wonder though if you would even qualify to sue, seeing as this was in 1995. Class actions are often slow & by the time this sees the inside of a courtroom, it could be 30 years since your unfortunate & unjust incarceration. I don’t mean to discourage you. I’m just not a lawyer so I don’t know these things. Is it possible to contact the now judge who represented you back then? She should know what your options if any may be. Because the case involved interstate activity, that should mean it would be a federal case.
On the upside, you had cancer in 1995 AND were prescribed OXYContin- and you’re still alive! That’s AMAZING! Lots of people didn’t survive ONE of those. So at least there’s that, right?!?

Shopper says:

Re: Hey….

I’m not a lawyer. But I kinda wish I were so I could help you. Twenty years later, it doesn’t seem all that hopeful. But I would think that because this case involves interstate activity, it SHOULD be a federal case. But if you can’t get a lawyer to help you- which is insane because a 100% innocent, church-going mom & cancer survivor is the kind of client most lawyers would kill to get- think about this:
You had cancer AND an OxyContin scrip; that was 20 years ago & you’re still alive today. Entirely too many people didn’t survive just ONE of those. I hope you can find a lawyer & that you aren’t excluded by a statute of limitations though. You asked who to contact. She doesn’t do this exact thing- & I’m not 100% positive she’s still alive but you’re a lady so my first instinct is to say Gloria Allred. If absolutely nothing else a high profile form like that should at least be able to tell you whether you’re boned by an SoL & who you should contact.

Mike Hightower says:

Another Hertz Rental Arrest

These actions by Hertz have been going on a long time. I rented a car in Roswell, NM in 2003 and no one was at the counter. The keys were on the counter and I drove the car to Carlsbad NM for a meeting and returned the car there after the meeting to make sure everything ws fine. Hertz tried to have me arrested in Carlsbad for stealing there car, but the police in Carlsbad would not to that because I had a rental contract. Three weeks later, they refiles the charge, after the car had already been returned, in Roswell. Five yers later, coming back from Italy with my family from a vacation, I was arrested at Chicago O’Hare as a long-term federal felony fugitive and was bounced from the airport jail, to city jail, to the Cook County jail where I spent two days with 300 felons. Pretty scary place! Got out with only being accosted once, so felt lucky, could have been a lot worse.

The fact that Hertz refiled charges after police had already said there was no stealing of a car, wa plain out and out intentional revenge!

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