Hertz sued by customers arrested for driving 'stolen' rentals

·2-min read

Hertz may have hit the ground running after its Chapter 11 restructuring concluded earlier this year, but even as the revived rental company is promising a bright future of sustainable rental experiences thanks to a handshake deal with Tesla, a bankruptcy court is still hearing claims filed by dozens of customers who were arrested after Hertz reported their legitimate rental cars stolen.

According to CBS News, the 165 plaintiffs in the lawsuit are vying for a chunk of what remains of the pre-bankruptcy Hertz. Lawyers representing the former customers must convince the court their clients' cases are strong enough to merit a payout with a long line of creditors waiting to chew on the behemoth's discarded remains.

The issue arose prior to Hertz filing for bankruptcy in May 2020, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last year, when 20 customers signed on to a suit alleging that the rental company had filed false police reports. A former security officer for another rental chain told the paper that internal clerical errors do lead to vehicles erroneously being reported stolen, but the same measures are in place in order to protect such outlets from theft and fraud. In a normal year, approximately 30,000 rental cars are stolen.

Many customers who found themselves on the wrong end of a stolen vehicle report paid with debit cards, which are especially problematic because they're popular tools for thieves who pay a deposit and then abscond with the vehicle, but legitimate paying customers can get caught in corporate loss-prevention nets. One customer was arrested after paying more than $2,300 to extend a rental period. The charges were eventually dropped, but only after the customer's life had been disrupted. A plaintiff in a previous suit over a similar incident was paid $100,000 in a pretrial settlement after spending 12 days in jail, during which she was assaulted by another inmate.

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