Video: Father And Daughter Held At Gunpoint After Renting From Hertz

Hertz has a problem keeping track of its fleet of cars. Customers return the cars, but staff fail to check in the vehicles. And report them stolen. Sometimes the person who returned it gets arrested, sometimes the next person who rents the car gets arrested for the theft. There are horror stories of cops with guns drawn, and long stays in jail. And Hertz, which has acknowledged the issues, doesn’t withdraw false police reports – saying that to do so would undermine their credibility with police (!).

These stories usually involve either extending a rental or swapping a car, and usually happen at the main Hertz brand, rather than at Dollar or Thrifty which they also own. So the story of a traffic stop of a father and 13 year old daughter – complete with guns and police body cam footage – is just as notable for happening on a Thrifty rental as for coming mere minutes after driving off the rental lot with contract in hand.

Police had their weapons drawn as they ordered Nick Wright and his 13-year-old daughter to put their hands on the hood of the car they had rented less than an hour earlier.

“I couldn’t see my daughter for most of the situation, so I felt completely helpless,” Wright said. “I was being detained with my fingers locked behind my head and police telling me to shut up. It was surreal.”

They’d just left the Savannah, Georgia airport Thrifty location . Eventually guns were lowered and the dad was allowed to show his valid rental contract which was only 36 minutes old, demonstrating that the vehicle was (improperly) reported stolen before he’d rented it.

He reports “his daughter couldn’t sleep for days following the stop” and he’s suing. He should be thankful he’s not Julius Burnside, who “was arrested and spent seven months in jail” though a court found he had actually paid for his car rental.

Hertz has still taken no responsibility for its poor record-keeping practices that land its customers in jail. However this past week it announced a new partnership with big data company Palantir for its Foundry software to help manage its fleet. So long after declaring the problem to be fixed, they may finally be taking steps to fix it. But Hertz’s victims have continued to mount in the meantime.

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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Comments

  1. Makes me feel like I was playing russian roulette picking from the president’s circle section at the airport.

  2. The father is lucky he wasn’t shot because of sloppy Hertz/Thrifty. And his poor daughter will certainly not forget how easily things can wrong when the police are brought into the scene.

    But Hertz is not the only party that should be questioned about this. Why is it that law enforcement in the US are so eager to rush to the scene with guns drawn, knowing full well that there are parties that peddle false accusations in order to try to humiliate others or otherwise try to get the upper hand over others while using law enforcement authorities as a tool to do just that.

    I hope the family traumatized by this incident win a very hefty amount of money from the involved law enforcement authorities and Hertz.

    It’s too bad that the police don’t sue Hertz for this kind of stuff. They aren’t meant to be a private police force doing Hertz’s dirty business.

  3. I am staggered by these continuing stories re Hertz. I will never rent from them ever. I have used Enterprise for years but in my travel heyday, used to use Hertz primarily. The leadership at Hertz should be ashamed by this. Disgraceful.

  4. Palantir to save the day? Say it ain’t so.

    Palantir is neck-deep in bad stuff on behalf of coercive authorities and companies. Shouldn’t be a surprise, since it’s the child of Peter Thiel. You know, Peter Thiel: a scummy Donald Trump-supporting dude if there ever was one.

    Don’t like PayPal, don’t like Palantir, and have to wonder what kind of demons settled into Peter Thiel’s head after lots of games of Dungeons & Dragons and his fascination for dungeon mastering.

    Too bad Malta seems unlikely to reject his application to buy himself citizenship there. Given his things for dark knights and fortified cities and stuff, losing out on Maltese citizenship might sting him a bit.

  5. C’mon man (GUWonder) – enough with your TDS.

    “Nov 23, 2021 (CNBC) — New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams is considering Goldman Sachs executive Stephen Scherr for a role in his administration.” Sure seems like the head of Hertz is an ally of Democrat Eric Adams and this arrest was on his watch.

  6. Individuals can be charged for false police reports, so why not Hertz ? I realize the police can’t just blow off reports by Hertz, but why not charge them for it ? Never rent from either Thrifty or Hertz unless you enjoy this trauma.

  7. @GUWonder
    I’m with you! I can deal with record inflation, crime, WW3, an American economic recession, illegal immigration at its highest levels, and corruption at the FBI and Justice Department- but I just couldn’t deal with mean tweets! So happy he’s gone! Now America and Americans can be the shining beacon on the hill the world will once again look to with admiration. Bravo Biden! And bravo democrats!

  8. @Don, good to know that WW3 is now also a conspiracy theory. Seriously, seek help.

    As to the actual point of Gary’s article, I can’t believe that this hasn’t attracted more widespread attention. That’s just as despicable in my eyes as the lazy disservice from Hertz.

  9. I used to rent from Hertz a lot because of the four hour grace period with the Amex Plat but completely stopped after reading about these constant arrests. I still have enough points for one or two free days (even after the points devaluation) and aren’t going to use them at this point

  10. @roundtree
    LOL- everything you disagree with or doesn’t fit your narrative is a conspiracy theory to you. Sorry, your government propaganda really doesn’t work anymore. Go back to your DC warmonger circle-jerk.

  11. There has been enough publicity about this that cops should be following up with false reporting charges against Hertz. At the very least they should know to take Hertz reports with a grain of salt. If it were me I would respond to any Hertz reports with a statement that my police department will not accept such due to multiple false reports. That and false report charges are the only thing that will force Hertz to change.

  12. I agree with Denis and Ryan. Law enforcement needs to start putting Hertz management in jail for filing false police reports. Simply suing in civil court will not fix this. Whatever settlements are eventually handed out to each victim is a drop in the bucket for a big corporation like Hertz.
    But you put some of their suits in jail and things will get fixed real quick.

  13. Shouldn’t law enforcement also cut back on being so eager to pull out guns? Threatening deadly violence — and the police were threatening the father (and possibly even the young teenage daughter) with deadly violence — needs to be checked and become less frequent part of the responses from law enforcement officers.

  14. Hertz doesn’t want to go back on its reports of the vehicle stolen because they will lose credibility? It seems to me they already HAVE lost credibility.

    When the police have guns drawn, the father and daughter were only a trigger pull from being dead. Hertz and its management need to be criminally charged for this crap. Someone should be in jail, starting with CEO Paul Stone. Why do the authorities give him a pass?

  15. This problem is very simple to solve. Don’t rent or purchase a car from Hertz. They will be bankrupt and out of business in a year or two.

  16. Agree with most of the others here. This is a product of both out-of-control police as well as complete idiocy from Hertz.

    Until this nonsense is completely resolved, reports from Hertz without any additional evidence should *not* qualify as probable cause. Performing a felony stop over this is just insane and the police should know better. Also, these egomaniac Rambo-wannabes should not be on any police force. We need very different training and qualifications for police in this country. People who just want to feel powerful have no business being anywhere near a badge, other than being arrested by people with badges when they pull crap like this.

  17. Hertz will never go bankrupt as it’s the best rental car agency in the country with the most elite group of executives ever to run a company brilliantly
    Why is my nose growing ?
    Pinocchio

  18. No surprise with the way these cowardly paranoid cops act nowadays. Unbelievable that Hertz is still in business.

  19. Palantir is an incredibly strange technology service provider choice. Granted, they make software for the military and law enforcement to track people who are evading capture. That’s not the problem that Hertz is dealing with, though. Not even close to it. This is a very simple problem of tracking rentals and returns (there’s nothing crazy, complicated or needing Palantir technology about this), and having a very good way to make sure that a vehicle isn’t in inventory before reporting it stolen. It also helps to have a way to promptly fix problems (as best you can) if you make a mistake.

    Wonder whether the US government had intelligence data collection goals for Hertz’s data, and offered to solve their problem via Palantir in exchange for easy access to this data? If so, I really have to wonder what program authorized this sort of data collection on US citizens.

  20. How it’s anyone still renting from Hertz??? And how are companies like Capital One still working agreements with Hertz?

  21. Even more baffling is why AAA promotes Hertz (and their affiliates Thrifty & Dollar) exclusively, expositing their members to arrest.

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