This Man Bought A Used Car. It Was Repossessed, Because Hertz Reported It Stolen

It’s become pretty clear that poor Hertz recordkeeping has been sending customers to jail for no reason. They report cars stolen that have been returned.

Usually, at least, the damage is limited to customers who have chosen to rent from Hertz. At this point it seems like there’s a certain amount of assumption of risk. If you rented from Hertz and wind up in jail – perhaps changed vehicles or extended your rental – it’s you that should have known better.

But what happens when Hertz falsely accuses you of crimes you didn’t commit (and were never even in the state for)? Or when you buy a car from a national business – in this case Carvana – but that car used to belong to Hertz?

A Colorado man has accused online used car retailer Carvana of selling him a stolen, damaged vehicle. …Dennis Atencio paid $300 down and financed over $22,000 with loan servicer Acceptance Corp. to purchase a white 2019 GMC Terrain from Carvana on Dec. 18, 2020.

..[A] repossession company called Anytime Towing showed up at Atencio’s front door on June 23, 2021, to take the vehicle out of his driveway. After Atencio explained to the repossession agent that he was up-to-date on his payments to Bridgecrest, he learned that the vehicle was being repossessed on behalf of Hertz Corporation.

The man who bought the car is now suing, accusing Hertz of stealing it from him, and Carvana of selling a vehicle that wasn’t thoroughly vetted.

According to Hertz, the car was stolen from the Memphis airport on May 6, 2020. The day before, though, documents show that the vehicle was in.. Long Beach, California. The vehicle was returned to the purchaser about three weeks after it was towed.

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. Ivan Reitman should have filmed an alternate ending where Clooney winds up behind bars after completing the sale.

(HT: Robert G)

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Is there no state AG or local prosecutor who will bring charges against Hertz senior executives? This needs to stop.

  2. Better yet, wouldn’t some lawyer make a lotta money filing a class action suit? Or is there an insufficient number of plaintiffs?
    Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on Gary’s blog.

  3. @ Gary — I am waiting for the story of an uber passenger being arrested for riding in a stolen Hertz car next.

  4. This has gone on long enough. Hertz’s top management needs to be in prison. Yes, anyone who rents from Hertz is taking a risk, but most don’t know it. But also, when will police departments stop taking action based on the word of this criminal operation?

  5. The news media picked up on this story to throw shade at Carvana as they love to do. Most of that must be influenced by traditional car dealers is my guess. Out of the tons of cars Carvana has sold this is bound to happen some. I bet it has happened many times at traditional dealerships as well. Many times there is lag time on paperwork when cars change hands. I’ve rented from Hertz in the past but they are not helping their PR efforts lately. I’ve bought two cars from Carvana and sold one outright to them in the past year with no major issues. I think they lack enough phone support staff but that is likely due to the vast growth they have seen. Other than a few minor issues like guaranteeing that the car hasn’t been smoked in, buying from Carvana is awesome. I don’t ever want to walk into a regular car dealership again.

  6. Let me see if I understand. (1) Renting a car from Hertz carries a risk of costing a random stay in jail, though Hertz lawyers say it’s, you know, only a little risk. (2) Now I’m hearing that buying a car with Hertz anywhere in the chain of title means wondering whether my ride will pop up on a police computer as stolen. Do I have this right? If so, then gosh–I think I’d rather let Hertz work out its possessiveness issues without me. Maybe others will be more ready than I am to live dangerously with Hertz, but if they’re not, then I’m soothed by a gentle image of all those cars unrented, unsold, unreported to police, snoozing safely in Hertz lots. The problem, like the business, would just… disappear. Though I hope not before paying actual and punitive damages to anyone who has been falsely arrested. And seeing the prosecution of executives who kept allowing police reports to be filed and people imprisoned based on careless and inaccurate records.

  7. The Colorado man should have reported the car stolen by the Hertz CEO and try to get the Hertz CEO arrested. Ha ha, if that happened.

  8. All these customers being arrested and jailed makes no sense as a brand promotion. It sounds like wrong headed vindictiveness. Maybe they deserve to not be in the car rental business.

Comments are closed.