I’ve extensively covered the issue of Hertz reporting its customers to police for stealing cars even when those cars were returned. It seems that Hertz has a record-keeping issue when a customer changes vehicles or extends a rental.
This morning, though, I flagged an outlier – an incident where Hertz reported someone to the police who had never even rented their car and who wasn’t even in the state where the rental supposedly took place. An outlier, but not the first instance like that which had been shared with me.
Hertz sought to have much of the information in the class action lawsuit against it for wrongfully sending customers to jail sealed. The judge didn’t go along, and when documents were unsealed we learned a couple of important things about the case.
- There’s a lot more of these incidents than I’d even imagined. On average Hertz files 3,365 police reports charging customers with theft each year. They may have filed 20,000 theft reports in the past 7 years.
- And the false reports keep coming. There’s a submission in the class action about a case on January 4 of this year where a woman was arrested in front of her child and sent to jail even though she’d paid for her Hertz rental in full three years earlier.
You’d think that after Hertz realized they were mistakenly sending customers to jail, and facing a class action lawsuit, they would take steps to ensure they stop doing it if for no other reason that it would look bad in court to continue but also because post-bankruptcy incidents wouldn’t receive shielding by the bankruptcy court.
And yet I heard from a reader this morning about another incident that occurred this month alleging jail time during the Texas ice storm as a result of a false Hertz report.
The chances of this happening on any given rental are small. And if you don’t swap cars or extend your rental the chances seem even lower. But Hertz really seems to have a problem, that they appear to be trying to hide rather than fix.