Hertz has what at this point is a very well-documented problem: they send customers to jail for no good reason. In most cases this appears to be the result of Hertz systems and employees doing bad recordkeeping. When a customer changes cars, or extends a rental, the transaction doesn’t get recorded properly and Hertz doesn’t think their car has been returned. I’ve even seen instances where they continued to rent out a car after claiming it was stolen and having a customer arrested.
The rental car company files about 3300 car theft police reports on their customers each year and even sends people to jail for car theft who never rented their cars (or even entered the state where the cars were located).
What’s perhaps just as shocking about the incompetence – and arrogance in downplaying the issue – is that it appears,
- To still be ongoing – the lawyers in the class action lawsuit against Hertz have documented cases where this happened in January 2022 (when I first writing about this issue a couple of years ago) and a reader shared with me that it happened this month
- That is even happens to Hertz’s top tier Presidents Club members.
CBS News reported on President’s Circle customer Charles Doucette being wrongfully arrested last Friday. He is, it seems, currently in Brevard County, Florida jail after having gotten off of a cruise ship.
- He’s not even a status matched or credit card Presidents Circle member, “in 2020 and 2021 [he] spent over $15,000 with Hertz.”
- The arrest stems from a Salt Lake City rental in November 2020 where he “properly extended the rental agreement several times,” returned the car and paid $3900 for it.
Here’s a portion of his attorney’s letter to Hertz pleading for help correcting this.
The court ordered him held without bail while waiting for extradition to Arizona for the next 14 days. He could spend many more days in custody while being extradited, an unconscionable outcome.
…We demand that Hertz immediately step in and notify the authorities in Salt Lake City, Mohave County, AZ, and Brevard, FL that the report is withdrawn and that Mr. Doucette needs to be released immediately. Be sure to copy me in on this communication.
…If you need additional details to identify him, he was reported for theft on March 8, 2021. After his car was pulled over and towed on March 18, 2021 in Mohave County, AZ, he called Hertz on March 19, 2021 and asked why a false report was filed. He was assured by a representative that his bill was fully paid, that the rental was closed, and that there was no issue. Nevertheless, he was prosecuted for theft anyway.
Apparently your elite status will not protect you. While this isn’t a foolproof strategy, I’ve implored readers over and over renting from Hertz not to change vehicles or extend rentals. The problem certainly doesn’t happen every time but when it does it’s bad enough that each rental with Hertz seems like a risk to me.