OMG The Hertz Story Is Worse Than I Thought, They May Have Filed 20,000 Police Reports

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Why is anyone renting from Hertz? Why doesn’t Congress haul their CEO in front of a committee?

  2. Insane, apparently people were told just to write up the police reports and nobody checks on their work. Certainly nobody is seeing if the system is doing what it is supposed to. I hope they get slammed with a lot of big and successful suits. Anyway, I had no luck pasting any of the OJ Simpson Hertz ads here, but they are easy to find online. I’m waiting for him to say that he was framed by the company.

  3. These people should have done to them what they have done to others. Make them and their families pay.

  4. Rather than implore Hertz to get its recordkeeping in order, can we also educate police departments across the country to ignore reports filed by Hertz?

    Then we should all go rent and never return Hertz cars, causing Hertz to file true police reports, but not getting anywhere because Hertz cried wolf too many times.

    We could make a lot of money liaising under the table with brokers at the ports. We’ll drive Hertz vehicles straight into shipping containers and get paid for it.

  5. Well, since they conveniently expired all rewards points last month (wow, how did I miss that) even though there’s a pandemic still on (!) I guess I have no reason to rent from them anymore. They seem to have scored a solid double of reasons to not support them.

  6. Worse than Hertz are the cops who arrest people on false claims. Cops aren’t just doing their jobs. They choose to arrest people without absolutely verifying the veracity of claims and substantiate evidence. This won’t end until cops are held accountable by the public. There should be a minimum of life in prison for any cop who arrests someone on false claims or for he said she said claims in which this is. Hertz made a claim and cops arrested someone on it. Victims of this abuse should hold each any every cop, jailer, prosecutor, and judge personally actionable for their actions. Ultimately, the system is made up by individuals who choose to do evil instead of ignore orders or what their computer system tells them. The cops should ask someone if they stole a rental car and tell them to contact the company and court and release them.

  7. At that level, its systemic and willful behavior, I hope they are made pay in court. Surprised the current administration would not go after them, good publicity all round, standing up for the little guy against the corrupt corporation.

    Has this broke anywhere in the mainstream media yet ?

  8. Gary, kudos to you for your work on this one. I think I have seen enough now, I ignored your warnings for years. Hertz – I am out.

  9. As I said earlier this problem could easily be solved with a court order requiring senior executives to go to jail when the next false police report is filed. Nothing will change in the absence of personal accountability at the senior management level.

  10. So I rented a car from Hertz in Denver maybe 3 years ago, and ended up with not only an upgrade but a whole fiasco when the car they first gave me had a check engine light on. Probably had 4 different cars on my RSVP over the course of 2 hours.

    Other than getting myself pulled over and seeing if they arrest me, is there a safe way to find out if I might be one of the ones they filed a false report about?

  11. @Baroxo

    More effective and more fair would be if cops go to jail along with the prosecutor and judge who all choose to pursue a false claim and in some cases jail people without verifying the accuracy of the claim. It’s not the Hertz employees or executives who use force and violence against innocent civilians: it’s cop. It’s the Blue.

  12. How does Hertz get away with this kind of total nonsense? And to make things worse, do the various police departments who get so called ”stolen vehicle” reports from Hertz actually do any serious investigation on these items (before they start serving warrants/arresting people/putting them in jail overnight/whatever)? I haven’t rented from Hertz in almost 20 years and I definitely have no further intention of doing so after reading about all this insanity.

    The CEO and senior management at Hertz should be hauled before public local/state/national
    investigative hearings/panels/etc. to explain (and justify) why all these renters are being tossed in jail through no fault of their own. These individuals should also make a VERY STRONG case for why Hertz should not go out of business (permanently).

    I am a lifelong Canadian citizen and a resident of Toronto. If this nonsense is happening up here in Canada, I don’t really know. Hertz deserves to go out of business for perpetuating this unpalatable behaviour.

  13. I agree with Jackson regarding cops following orders and arresting without any attempt to verify an allegation.

    On the other side, this keeps happening because of how we treat corporate crimes. Dollars and cents don’t matter to them. We need to be sending executives to jail. Only when the have some skin in the game, and aren’t playing with essentially Monopoly money, will there be any accountability.

  14. Jailing the cops would be effective but too difficult to implement. There is just too much public support for cops.

    The idea to jail senior Hertz executives is sound. It should be easy to get the public’s buy-in. No Hertz exec will actually go to jail, because the moment that law passes, Hertz will cease filing any and all police reports.

  15. Why is everyone so shocked at the cops and prosecutors? They have and always will be lazy. Their union covers their arses at every step and surprise, the “Justice” system protects them. But of course, go to a GOP rally and the cops are “our heros”. The police system in the US needs a complete overhaul just like the Hertz computer systems.

  16. Beside hauling CEOs and cops to jail, maybe Tom Brady should be electrocuted for being their spokesperson…

  17. It happens even if you don’t swap or extend cars, and it is not rare. I had a one-day one-way rental that I returned on time in January 2022. Yet I received a letter about three weeks after returning the car, informing me that I have not returned the car and Hertz will take legal actions. Contacting Hertz is a waste of time. I don’t know what happens the next time I have a traffic stop. Is police going to see a report filed against me by Hertz, and arrest me? I hope not …

  18. Hasn’t this reached the point of criminal negligence and shouldn’t Hertz leadership be personally prosecuted?

  19. They are all crooks, though. I rented from Avis, drove the car off the lot, got 1/2 mile and the “low air pressure” alert on the tire came on. So I looped back to the rental agency, only to be told I must have driven over a road hazard and was responsible for repairing the tire myself!

  20. It comes to something when the only safe way to deal with an Industry with such a culture is to ensure that you film and record every moment of your engagement with them, needing to retain as much evidence as possible so to protect yourself.

  21. I stopped renting from Hertz when these stories became more prolific and will not rent from them anymore.

  22. Seriously Gary you let stand a comment like @JW ‘”Now that NYC has been blacked with Adams”. Do you have no limits to keeping this kind of irrelevant racist crap in your comments?

  23. OMFG, WHOA, WOW, WTF: Though I don’t always agree with your views, I’ve always thought your writing skills and style were pretty good for a blogger. Until today. Did you let your kids write the headlines? Trust me (contrary to what Ben thinks) most adults don’t need a one-syllable tagline to be interested in a post. Seriously why dumb things down all of a sudden?

  24. “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.” – this is a hilarious line.

    Imagine saying “The chance of going to jail due to making any one purchase at CVS is small.” Nobody would ever go to CVS. They’d just go to Rite Aid or Walgreens. How anybody continues to rent from Hertz is beyond me when there are numerous options at all the exact same locations.

  25. While I haven’t rented from hertz (yes they don’t deserve a capital H) I realized I had an account with them. I canceled it yesterday. Everyone needs to cancel their account – probably won’t help but the only thing I could think of to show my disdain/hatred for them.

  26. @LK stuff that comes in while I’m away from the keyboard isn’t “letting it stand” … I come back online and read through the comments, and indeed I can even miss something, I don’t have a staff for that. But I appreciate when folks flag or ask questions.

  27. The company needs to be destroyed. Can the Dept of Transportation or SEC do something about this? Seriously, the company needs to be destroyed and the people in charge financially ruined.

  28. Ray you are an idiot with your stupid generalizations! Not all cops and prosecutors are lazy idiots! This story is also not about the Republicans. This story is about Hertz’s incompetence. Bringing political bias’s into the fray further supports your’e lack of intelligence.

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