Hertz Ordered To Release Records Of Fake Vehicle Thefts

Industry News / 13 Comments

Renters have been falsely accused of stealing cars.

It wasn't too long ago when it appeared Hertz rental car company was emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with an ace up its sleeve. Thanks to a deal with Tesla, Hertz announced the purchase of 100,000 examples of the Tesla Model 3 at a value of around $4.4 billion.

A few days later, then-new CEO (former Ford CEO) Mark Fields said he may double the initial order if the EV rental program goes well, though at around the same Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated no official contract had been signed by the two companies. That's probably the last thing on Hertz's mind right now.

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Following a CBS News investigation, a Delaware bankruptcy court judge has ruled that Hertz must make public thousands of pages of documents that allegedly claim customers rented its cars and later stole them. There could be upwards of 8,000 people who were wrongly accused of doing so. Lawyers representing 230 Hertz customers claiming they were wrongly arrested brought the case to court.

Hertz not only accused them of theft but also informed local police departments these people committed a crime and were subsequently arrested. Hertz is now finding itself in hot water because of a computer system error claiming these customers never returned the vehicles.

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In response to the investigation, Hertz stated the following: "Of the more than 25 million rental transactions by Hertz in the United States per year, 0.014% fall into the rare situation where vehicles are reported to the authorities after exhaustive attempts to reach the customer."

That translates into an average of 3,500 customers being reported to authorities for theft. Hertz further admitted an unknown number within that average are also incorrect. The judge's ruling demands for Hertz to disclose a more exact number. There have been documented situations where at least some of those arrested were not even in the state at the time of the alleged theft.

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All the more troubling, in at least one instance an accused man, who spent 24 hours in jail before his lawyer provided the necessary proof to get him out, had never even been in the state where he allegedly rented and stole the vehicle.

"The vast majority of these cases involve renters who were many weeks or even months overdue returning vehicles and who stopped communicating with us well beyond the scheduled due date," Hertz said in response. "Situations where vehicles are reported to the authorities are very rare and happen only after exhaustive attempts to reach the customer."

Having people being wrongly accused and arrested for theft is a serious matter and Hertz owes them answers, not to mention an apology.

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Source Credits: CBS News

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