Hertz will pay $168 million to customers it falsely accused of stealing its cars

Hertz will pay 8 million to customers it falsely accused of stealing its cars

For years, the rental car company Hertz falsely accused hundreds of innocent customers of stealing its vehicles — accusations that, for some customers, resulted in arrests, felony charges and jail time.

Now, the company will pay $168 million to settle those claims, Hertz announced Monday.

In total, the settlement will cover 364 people falsely accused of car theft. In a statement, the company said the number represents “more than 95%” of such claims.

“As I have said since joining Hertz earlier this year, my intention is to lead a company that puts the customer first. In resolving these claims, we are holding ourselves to that objective,” said CEO Stephen Scherr in a statement announcing the settlement.

Hertz Global Holdings, which also includes rental car companies Thrifty and Dollar, filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Many of the claims emerged as part of those proceedings.

Of the company’s 25 million rental transactions, 0.014% are reported stolen each year, or about 3,500, the company has said.

But some of those reports have been proven to be false. In lawsuits and in press reports, stories of false accusations revealed lapses in Hertz’s rental records and theft policies that led to the errors.

What customers say happened to them

One Hertz customer was driving her rental car in Chicago when she got a flat tire, and she called Hertz to have the car towed, court records state. Months later, she was pulled over for wearing a seatbelt incorrectly when police informed her she had a warrant for her arrest; she was jailed for more than 30 days, she said in a lawsuit.

Another customer in Florida extended her Hertz rental four times — but the car was reported stolen before the end of the extension period in spite of text message communications with a Hertz employee confirming her plans to return it, court records show. She was jailed for 37 days, separated from her two children and missing her nursing school graduation, the suit said.

%d bloggers like this: