Hertz reportedly has a system glitch that has been reporting some cars stolen even though they’ve been properly rented out. The customers that have rented the cars? They’ve been getting arrested. In a few cases they’ve faced guns drawn by police. One case even resulted in two weeks in prison.
While Hertz rents millions of vehicles, this has ‘only’ reportedly happened to about 30 people. The actual number could be higher, but if you rent from Hertz it’s statistically unlikely to happen to you. Still, the stories seem to have a common thread involving switching out of the originally-assigned vehicle.
[S]ome of the renters reported switching vehicles, upgrading cars, or reporting mechanical issues before being approached by the law. One driver returned a vehicle for a flat tire and was given another to drive instead, and when the company did not complete paperwork for the second vehicle, the car was reported stolen and the police got involved. Another driver was alerted to an expired registration on her rental but was ultimately arrested before she could even return the car a few days later.
Hertz has reportedly already paid out damages to some of the victims. Rather than denying the incidents they acknowledge “it happens” but notes that it’s “extremely rare.”
False reports of stolen vehicles are extremely rare,” said Hertz spokesperson Tressie Rose, told us in a statement. “When it has occurred, it has been the result of unique and extenuating circumstances. In the rare instance an error within our controls has occurred we take responsibility
Three years ago Hertz informed me that reservations for their cars are never guaranteed. Apparently that’s true even after you pick up your rental.
Hertz was once the rental company for business travelers. In this extended montage from Up in the Air when George Clooney is grounded in Omaha he wants to buy a Chrysler Sebring from Hertz. The part they didn’t show was Clooney getting arrested when Hertz failed to file paperwork on the sale.
Three years ago Avis was going after Hertz on Twitter, offering customers discounts, upgrades, and status matches. Maybe it’s time to fire up the old marketing engine and do that again, along with a promise not to send customers renting Avis cars to jail?