Hertz CEO Admits Customers Have Been Wrongly Arrested Over Stolen Cars

He says Hertz has implemented new policies to prevent this from happening again, adding that he expects to settle with victims.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Apr 6, 2022 2:00 PM
Hertz CEO Admits Customers Have Been Wrongly Arrested Over Stolen Cars
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Since 2019, Hertz customers across the nation have reported harrowing confrontations with police over supposedly stolen rental cars. In short, it appears Hertz has been filing reports on rentals that have been stolen, but not retracting reports after the vehicles' recovery, reportedly resulting in hundreds of arrests over the last three years—some even after the customers returned their vehicle. But at last, Hertz's new CEO has acknowledged the problem and claims the company is taking steps to right its wrongs.

The admission follows pressure from a pair of U.S. Senators, who last week called out the rental agency's worrying behavior of having paying customers arrested. According to USA Today, the company was directly contacted by the chair of the Senate's Consumer Protection Subcommittee, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and referenced in a letter to the White House by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Senator Warren reportedly described Hertz's behavior as a "disturbing pattern [that] has led to traumatic experiences, job losses and even jail time for customers."

This week, Hertz responded, its new CEO Stephen Scherr going on Bloomberg TV to admit to the problem, as broadcast in a CBS Mornings segment. This reportedly marked the first time Hertz has admitted to being in the wrong over customers' arrests.

"What played out here is that we had cars that were stolen or allegedly stolen, we put a police report in," said Scherr, who joined Hertz in February after serving as Chief Financial Officer at Goldman Sachs. "When that car was found, the report was rescinded, and unfortunately in certain circumstances, when that car went out again, it wasn't in fact rescinded, and so the customer was accused."

Scherr alleged Hertz has implemented new policies to prevent further customer arrests and reportedly stated he expects to settle with victims. Hertz's word, of course, shouldn't be taken at face value and must be upheld by a cessation of unjust arrests. This is, after all, a company that bounced from bankruptcy to claiming to have ordered 100,000 Teslas last year, and another 65,000 Polestar EVs earlier this week. That's a lot of pricey new cars supposedly coming from a pair of companies that neither have world-class production volume nor much difficulty selling what they can make—not to mention a lot of cash being spent by a company that may face hundreds of costly settlements with mistreated customers.

Actions speak louder than words, so it's now time to see if Hertz keeps its word. Even if it does, this debacle will have soured more than a few Americans on Hertz for good.

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