PSA: Renting From Hertz May Get You Arrested

PSA: Renting From Hertz May Get You Arrested

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Hertz seems to have a pattern of falsely accusing renters of stealing cars. I think this is at least worth being aware of, especially as we learn more about the extent of Hertz’s false accusations.

Hertz files thousands of theft reports annually

Admittedly rental car companies have a lot to manage, including inventory, car damage, etc. However, it would seem that Hertz struggles with this more than competitors.

Hertz is facing lawsuits from hundreds of customers who rented cars, claiming they were falsely arrested for auto theft. Newly released court documents show just how many people Hertz is accusing of theft — the rental car giant has allegedly filed nearly 8,000 theft reports annually over a four year period.

Of course some people don’t return their rental cars, so in some cases reports of theft are probably legitimate, as Hertz requests help from the police for tracking down a car. Hertz claims that a “vast majority” of cases involve renters who are weeks or months late on returning a car, and reports will only be made to police after “exhaustive” attempts to reach a customer.

The problem is that accusing someone of theft and only getting it right a “vast majority” of the time isn’t really good enough. Hertz doesn’t seem to be great at figuring out which cars are stolen, and which aren’t. According to reports, customers with valid contracts have been falsely arrested, due to a mixup on Hertz’s end.

Court documents show that some renters ended up being jailed years after renting and returning their car at Hertz. One person was even allegedly held at gunpoint hours after paying for a rental.

Since Hertz was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the pandemic, those with claims against Hertz have filed in bankruptcy court, demanding to be paid like other creditors of the company.

Careful when renting from Hertz!

Why is Hertz so incompetent?

A few thoughts on Hertz’s pattern of having customers arrested:

  • Is Hertz actually worse than competitors when it comes to falsely accusing people of stealing cars, or did the concept of suing Hertz over this just pick up steam as the company has been in bankruptcy?
  • I would imagine that Hertz’s standard for filing a theft report must be pretty low, based on how many people are falsely accused of stealing cars
  • Isn’t there punishment for falsely filing theft reports against people? If so, why has Hertz not made changes to its process that will prevent this from happening in the future?
Maybe Hertz needs a “gold standard” for theft reports?

Bottom line

Hertz is accused of filing false theft reports against hundreds of customers, who ended up being arrested because the company accused them of stealing cars. While I can appreciate the challenge of managing inventory at a rental car company, Hertz obviously needs to do better, and I hope the company is held responsible for these careless reports.

If nothing else I figure this is a useful PSA. If you’re ever driving a Hertz rental and aren’t breaking any rules, and then are pulled over and the police handcuffs you, now you know why.

Does anyone have an explanation for why Hertz is so ridiculous?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Conversations (45)
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  1. Dan Guest

    I am currently being accused of this right now! They called me (this morning) to threaten legal actions and police involvement literally two days after I returned the vehicle on camera. Incompetent, but I am curious how they compare to other companies with these types of situations.

    1. Marvin Oneson Guest

      I wonder why the people filing the false police reports are not arrested.

  2. Fed UP Guest

    I had an issue with Hertz too...ll I took them 2 weeks to "find" my car that I dropped off at BWI Airport.... It simply got lost. I had to show them my Boarding Pass that I flew out the morning in question, but it still was a big deal.

  3. AC Dumas Guest

    I was arrested for stealing a car from Hertz in 1991! I was totally in SHOCK!

  4. Charles Conner Guest

    I rented from Dollar (owned by Hertz) at MSP2 (the only place there that SWA flies to), returned the car in the same way to the usual place, and got charged for returning the car to a different location. After many phone calls with nice people and lots of buck passing, Hertz referred my case to a collection agency! I can't believe (maybe now I do) that they are so completely incompetent. At least I didn't get arrested!

  5. Michael Guest

    John Adam’s would say that one man imprisoned falsely was worth letting every criminal free.

    If the customer has good contact information in their record, it should be open and shut. If the customer has bad info and overstayed a reservation by 30 days, sure, call the cops after sending every mode of communication out, and be sure the car was not re rented since the offense.

    Personally I have received 3 certified...

    John Adam’s would say that one man imprisoned falsely was worth letting every criminal free.

    If the customer has good contact information in their record, it should be open and shut. If the customer has bad info and overstayed a reservation by 30 days, sure, call the cops after sending every mode of communication out, and be sure the car was not re rented since the offense.

    Personally I have received 3 certified letters from another national rental car agency demanding I return their car. Each time I called right away, and they would run the car number - seeing that while my return record was lost, they can see the car had been rented since. Always absolved by human review, and before police summoned.

  6. Robert Guest

    How long before Capital One dumps the Hertz President's Club benefit on the Venture X card? I'll never use them...

  7. Ray Gold

    I get this is completely due to the laziness Hertz has always shown but what I don't understand is how are police arresting people without any investigation, how are prosecutors proceeding without any investigation or questioning, how are judges not putting all at task as they get to court? Clearly you can tell America has gone to sh*t with their laziness.

  8. Kent Guest

    I have largely abandoned ALL the big players ... their remote call centers, underhanded tactics, untraceable chain of command and overall disregard for customer care have made doing business with them ONERUS at best. If I have ABSOLUTELY no choice, I'll use Enterprise, but I prefer SIXT even at a substantial premium. My experience with Hertz was a 180 degree opposite. I am Gold, and reserved a car, and when I got there, it had...

    I have largely abandoned ALL the big players ... their remote call centers, underhanded tactics, untraceable chain of command and overall disregard for customer care have made doing business with them ONERUS at best. If I have ABSOLUTELY no choice, I'll use Enterprise, but I prefer SIXT even at a substantial premium. My experience with Hertz was a 180 degree opposite. I am Gold, and reserved a car, and when I got there, it had expired (out of state tags), so the agent directed me to another car. MEANWHILE, another client took the car I had been assigned, was allowed to leave with it, drive it for several days and return it to another city. I would have been completely unaware, except that I got an email receipt (fortunately billed to a different card) for that car. I went down to Hertz in Phoenix and made a lot of noise, eventually getting the regional vice president involved. They didn't seem too concerned - but I was: imagine if that person ... driving a car with a contract in MY NAME ... had gotten a ticket, had an accident, or had the car stolen. That was the last time I ever rented from Hertz (or by extension, Thrifty or Dollar).

  9. Hershey Guest

    Deb B., I like how you clarify “statistically significant” in preference to your closing statement. Statistics are significant in the center of police involved aggressions, shootings and death. That prevalence in using stolen car reports is important to those affected by the end results.

  10. Bob Guest

    One of these cases was recorded on police cam. The officers had guns drawn because of the report of a stolen rental vehicle which was not the case. When it was sorted you can hear the police on the phone with hertz telling them that they could have easily shot the woman and hertz needed to get their act together. Speaks volumes of how bad this food get.

    1. Al Guest

      Also speaks to the lunacy of arming every cop...

  11. Ivan Y Guest

    So does anyone have similar experiences with non-Hertz group companies? I had read the article about Hertz a few months ago and it was even worse than Ben’s post.

  12. Jeff Guest

    This strikes me as 1) probably something that happens across all rental companies more or less in proportion to their market share and 2) strange because from my experience the rental companies always have a tracker (or several) on the car and can basically pinpoint in real time more or less where the car is. I remember one of the car sharing services had such a problem with stolen cars in SFO that they hid multiple trackers per car.

  13. CorpsSteal Guest

    I feel like Hertz plays the $200 charge bc you didn't leave the keys game as a systemic way to pad margins. I left the key in the car in obvious view in the tray, got hit with the charge, and then when I said days later I would dispute the charge, they 'found' the key in the car. They thought the 'Start' button magically worked to move it out of the return lane after I dropped it off?

  14. George Romey Guest

    I'm very dubious of this post. I'm assuming when someone doesn't return their vehicle when they've contractually agreed to and doesn't contact Hertz, Hertz makes an attempt to contract the renter. Unless the renter responds very quickly I think they have no alternative than to treat it as a theft.

    1. elmothehobo Guest

      This doesn't address the underlying issue. Hertz referred clients who made arrangements to extend or alter vehicle rentals, failed to reflect the changes in their system of record (or other issues arose, like an expired card on file that was different than the card that the card used to pay for the rental), and Hertz began treating these like stolen vehicles.

      I stopped renting from Hertz three years ago over this. It's unconscionable.

    2. Suzie Alcatrez Guest

      Hertz has a lousy inventory tracking system. Instead of investing money to fix the systems, when they lose track of a car, they simply report it stolen and the police find the vehicle for free.

    3. Hershey Guest

      And those that return their cars and are arrested? I’m dubious of your comment. Maybe you’re a hertz employee.

    4. Ray Gold

      Try Google, it can really be your friend. This has been going on for years and many cases now on record and it is being investigated. Try researching it when in doubt.

    5. Chris Read Guest

      Hertz is sloppy and innocent people are harmed. Consider the guy who was falsely accused of chasing a Hertz employee with a screw driver. The accuser was Hertz's head of security for western US and a former cop. Didn't bother to read the police report before picking a name to send false accusation to. See: https://bit.ly/hertzfalseaccusation

  15. Cleo Guest

    Hertz/Thrifty/Dollar Rent-A-Car - they are all one entity. Took me a week to resolve my rental with them. After I came home, they had added another $400 to the charges. After I called, the next day they had added another $200! We were well past $1,000 at this point. They kept asking me if I had dropped off the car at the airport and had I left the keys in the car. I had to tell them that 3x in 3 phone conversations to customer service. Never again.

  16. John MacGyver Guest

    I was sued by hertz put of the blue months after tenting a car from them. They claimed I had smashed the front end of a Nissan Maxima and sent me pictures of the damage and everything. Thing is I had returned the car in perfect condition. I eventually got in contact with one of their higher managers and proved to her that it wasn't me and it must have been caused by a renter...

    I was sued by hertz put of the blue months after tenting a car from them. They claimed I had smashed the front end of a Nissan Maxima and sent me pictures of the damage and everything. Thing is I had returned the car in perfect condition. I eventually got in contact with one of their higher managers and proved to her that it wasn't me and it must have been caused by a renter after me. She agreed and said it was a administrative error and I had been wrongly sued and also that she would call their lawyers to cancel the lawsuit. It took another 4 MONTHS for them to actually call of the suit off, all the way almost to a few days before the court date. What a nightmare.

  17. beachmouse Guest

    Last summer, Hertz cancelled my rental when I was in the middle of a trip and never contacted me about it. I saw the pending charge with my credit card show up on my Apple Watch as we were exiting the SFO parking ramp and assumed all was well but when I went to turn the car in about ten days later I was told that Hertz had reversed the charge for the rental a...

    Last summer, Hertz cancelled my rental when I was in the middle of a trip and never contacted me about it. I saw the pending charge with my credit card show up on my Apple Watch as we were exiting the SFO parking ramp and assumed all was well but when I went to turn the car in about ten days later I was told that Hertz had reversed the charge for the rental a few days earlier so I needed to go inside to pay at that point. So we were driving all around California without a valid rental agreement which probably would have been a mess abs a half if I’d gotten in an accident and tried to file an insurance claim with AmEx in addition to whatever other legal weirdness would have been in play.

  18. Richard Guest

    And the competition is any less "ridiculous". Car rentals are problematic by definition. The rental company entrusts the renter with a $30,000 vehicle with little more than a driver's license and a credit card to confirm you are you and you will return the vehicle. Added attention to the process for both the rental company and the renter is in order. Needless to say I don't give Hertz too much credit as twice in the...

    And the competition is any less "ridiculous". Car rentals are problematic by definition. The rental company entrusts the renter with a $30,000 vehicle with little more than a driver's license and a credit card to confirm you are you and you will return the vehicle. Added attention to the process for both the rental company and the renter is in order. Needless to say I don't give Hertz too much credit as twice in the past year I have driven off without a rental agreement.

  19. uldguy Diamond

    Yet another reason why I always rent from National. Better rates, better cars, less arrests!

    1. DenB Diamond

      @uldguy I'm curious about National. I have National Executive Elite and Hertz Presidents Circle, both thru status matches, very few actual rentals at Hertz and none at National. When I rent in SoCal (usually ONT, sometimes PSP), I hope fervently for a convertible. Hertz top-tier usually comes thru for me at ONT, usually with one softtop in the Presidents Circle lot at any given time. Are my chances as good at National? Anyone?

    2. Paul Guest

      It really depends on the location and availabilities at the time of your pickup. I got a Mustang convertible at San Diego as well as a BMW convertible in Maui with National before. I believe both high demand locations for convertible. However if they are out of convertibles or all convertibles are already booked, you are not going to get it. In general, I tend to have much better upgrades with National EE than colleagues with Hertz PC.

    3. stogieguy7 Diamond

      Knock on wood, I've never had an issue with National and I rent a ton of vehicles with them. I used to use Avis and had good luck until they decided to whack me with a $250 cleaning fee for supposedly having a pet in the car (which was BS, I never did). This followed a management change at my nearest Avis. And my switching of loyalties came thereafter.

  20. DenB Diamond

    I'm not persuaded (sorry Ben) that this is a Hertz-specific issue and to be persuaded I'd need to know how many rentals Hertz actually does. Are these egregious cases 1% of their rentals? 0.000001%? I agree that each single case is very important to the person involved, but that doesn't make it statistically meaningful, or a reason to be extra-specially-cautious when renting from Hertz instead of National or Thrifty. My experiences with Hertz have been...

    I'm not persuaded (sorry Ben) that this is a Hertz-specific issue and to be persuaded I'd need to know how many rentals Hertz actually does. Are these egregious cases 1% of their rentals? 0.000001%? I agree that each single case is very important to the person involved, but that doesn't make it statistically meaningful, or a reason to be extra-specially-cautious when renting from Hertz instead of National or Thrifty. My experiences with Hertz have been largely favourable and I'm not yet ready to abandon my Presidents Circle status over this rumour that they're worse than other companies.

    1. Suzie Alcatrez Guest

      Hertz reports 8,000 customers a year for stealing their vehicles. Some people reported for theft have never rented from Hertz.

    2. Bob Guest

      This is not new. I have seen news on this a lot more than I should in the past 12 months and almost everyone of these stories have been hertz related which statistically at this point is way more than coincidental. It's been on NY times, Canadian news outlets and several regional news stations. Most of the victims tells almost identical stories from across the continent where hertz never contacted the victims but claims that...

      This is not new. I have seen news on this a lot more than I should in the past 12 months and almost everyone of these stories have been hertz related which statistically at this point is way more than coincidental. It's been on NY times, Canadian news outlets and several regional news stations. Most of the victims tells almost identical stories from across the continent where hertz never contacted the victims but claims that they made "exhaustive" attempts to do so. Hertz seems to love that word. At this point its likely to me hertz is relying on faulty software that nobody at hertz has bother to scrutinize. The only reason why this is now a much bigger deal is because a federal judge has denied hertz decision to keep these claims undisclosed. In those news stories hertz said there were only hundreds of cases over several years. Now with the claims made public we know it's in the thousands.

    3. Hershey Guest

      Hertz is the subject, but what does it matter in this post of the other companies? The fact that it’s happening. There’s no news to detract on the subject by highlighting what company is or isn’t mentioned. It a distraction from the issue.

  21. Ray Guest

    Off-topic, but I’m putting it out there: go watch the Ukrainian airspace. It’s practically shut other than a few aircraft flying to/from Kyiv.

    What’s more, I’ve found a SAC Heavy Airlift Wing Globemaster III take off from Kyiv, and an A319 CJ with unknown registration.

    The Ukrainian government owns a single A319 CJ operated by Ukrainian Air Enterprise. Watch this space. Literally

    1. Chuck Guest

      My mother makes really good shepherd's pie.

    2. DSK Member

      Thank you so much! I laughed so hard I cried, and then showed these three comments in order to everyone around me.

  22. Abey Guest

    Suing their asses and winning big is the only way to stop this

  23. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Filing false police reports used to be a crime. Why isn't Hertz being prosecuted criminally for filing false police reports?

    1. Chris Guest

      Ben asked this: "Isn’t there punishment for falsely filing theft reports against people? If so, why has Hertz not made changes to its process that will prevent this from happening in the future?"

    2. Paul Guest

      I think you have to prove that someone intentionally filled out false police reports for it to be a crime. Hertz as a corporation can hide behind some process error excuse = unintentional mistake.

    3. Reno Joe Guest

      There's a difference between intentionally filing a false police report and negligently filing a false police report. A Hertz representative negligently fails to update Hertz records regarding a car's return date / time. A different Hertz person files the police report with a good faith belief that the car is stolen. I'm not certain that an AG or DA would pursue such a criminal charge. But, I'm certain that an AG or DA could pursue a civil charge.

    4. TProphet Guest

      A better question is why police accept reports from Hertz at this point, or prosecutors press charges. Felony auto theft charges in a city where you don't live are no small matter to deal with. Especially if there is an arrest warrant with extradition attached. This absolutely must stop.

  24. Tim Guest

    I’m surprised you’re just writing about this now, as I think this is a PSA that should have been shared a long time ago.

    I rarely rent with hertz, but after hearing all the stories, I won’t ever rent with them again.

    1. E.P Guest

      good....number (1).all their vehicles have GPS installed...this agency steals money from their cutomers...when they file the report with their INSURANCE(will be covered by their theft report,collect money from insurance...See this case scenerio...its called double dipping,collecting from their Insurance....( and you)..known as Insurance FRAUD,Embezzling Money from their Insurance, and customers BANK

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Chuck Guest

My mother makes really good shepherd's pie.

3
DenB Diamond

I'm not persuaded (sorry Ben) that this is a Hertz-specific issue and to be persuaded I'd need to know how many rentals Hertz actually does. Are these egregious cases 1% of their rentals? 0.000001%? I agree that each single case is very important to the person involved, but that doesn't make it statistically meaningful, or a reason to be extra-specially-cautious when renting from Hertz instead of National or Thrifty. My experiences with Hertz have been largely favourable and I'm not yet ready to abandon my Presidents Circle status over this rumour that they're worse than other companies.

2
Tim Guest

I’m surprised you’re just writing about this now, as I think this is a PSA that should have been shared a long time ago. I rarely rent with hertz, but after hearing all the stories, I won’t ever rent with them again.

2
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