Hertz Customers Sue Rental Company After Being Arrested for Allegedly ‘Stealing’ Cars

Imagine driving around in a sweet Toyota Corolla that you just rented from Hertz, only to be pulled over by a cop and have a gun drawn on you. You weren’t doing anything wrong, and there’s no reason that you should be getting pulled over. Later that night, you find yourself in jail under the accusation that you stole the car you just rented.

This was the case for many Hertz customers over the past couple of years when they were allegedly accused of stealing cars from the rental car company and tracked down by police. Now, 47 of those customers are fighting back by suing the rental car giant.

Hertz’s wrongful claims led to many customer arrests and jail time

A couple of Hertz rental car agents help a customer.
A couple of Hertz rental car agents help a customer. | Getty Images

The Hertz rental car wrongful arrest case has been an ongoing ordeal. Back in June, the rental car company offered to settle over three dozen cases filed by renters who said they were wrongfully arrested for suspicion of auto theft, reports the LA Times. Let’s keep in mind that more than 230 customers filed reports at the time, so much retribution was still needed.

Fast forward to last week, CNN reported that 47 of the customers filed a lawsuit against Hertz out of the Delaware Supreme Court, and some even recounted harrowing details of their own arrests. In many cases, the plaintiffs reported that the arrests caught them completely off guard. In some of the cases, the arrest came at gunpoint, with the plaintiff ending up in jail.

One account included Mary Lindsey Flannery, who says while driving in a rental car from Hertz back in 2020, she was pulled over by police and told that the vehicle was stolen. The vehicle was impounded, and she was arrested weeks later. While in jail for 14 days, Flannery had three panic attacks, was physically attacked by inmates, and bitten by bed bugs, according to the complaint that was filed.

This account was just one of many that echoed the same process in which plaintiffs were not only pulled over but even arrested and jailed for one day or even multiple days. Some even lost their jobs and have waited months or years to have the charges dropped.

What is Hertz planning to do?

A Hertz worker assists a customer at its rental-car pickup area.
A Hertz worker assists a customer at its rental-car pickup area. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Steven Scherr, Hertz CEO, told CNBC that several hundred people were impacted by the false arrests. “We have changed our policies to avoid the possibility of this happening [again],” Scherr said. Some settlements have already been reached.

One spokesperson from Hertz told CNN, “We are reviewing and considering each claim brought against Hertz on its individual merits. We have begun extending settlement offers to dozens of claimants and will continue to do so on a case by case basis.”

Should you rent a car from Hertz?

If you plan to go on vacation this summer and need to rent a car, then it’s up to you whether you want to give Hertz your business. While CEO and other employees are taking measures to ensure that false arrests don’t happen again, it’s a “you never know” type of situation right now. Here are a few more rental car hacks that you can possibly use this summer.

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