A lawsuit has been filed by 47 customers of the car rental company Hertz who were arrested after Hertz falsely reported that their vehicles had been stolen.
CNN reported that the plaintiffs were arrested, sometimes held at gunpoint, and in some cases spent time in jail.
Systematic errors were identified in Hertz’s reporting of thefts, including failure to record rent extensions, falsely claiming customers had failed to pay, and failure to correct false police reports.
The action was filed in Delaware Superior Court outside of bankruptcy court. Recall that Hertz filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 before returning in July 2021.
Although its president Stephen Scherr acknowledged in April that “several hundred people” were affected by the flaws, the company disputed the decision in a press release.
“We review and examine each complaint filed against Hertz on its individual merits,” Hertz spokesman Jonathan Stern said, according to CNN. “We have begun extending settlement offers to dozens of claimants and will continue to do so on a case-by-case basis.”
Among various testimonies, we find Bianca DeLoach arrested at a gas station by armed police, under the gaze of her children. She was then in a rental car that she had paid for. She spent nine nights in jail before the charges were dropped a few months later.
James Tolen, who was driving one of the rental cars, was also arrested.
“When he opened the door, at least four officers pointed guns at him. They forced him to lift his shirt, then searched and handcuffed him in the back of a police car,” the complaint said. “It’s disgraceful and appalling.”
Upon subsequent calls to Hertz, police learned that the vehicle was not stolen, but had been stolen several months prior to the rental.