Hertz has a problem keeping track of its fleet of cars. Customers return the cars, but staff fail to check in the vehicles. And report them stolen. Sometimes the person who returned it gets arrested, sometimes the next person who rents the car gets arrested for the theft. There are horror stories of cops with guns drawn, and long stays in jail. And Hertz, which has acknowledged the issues, doesn’t withdraw false police reports – saying that to do so would undermine their credibility with police (!).
These stories usually involve either extending a rental or swapping a car, and usually happen at the main Hertz brand, rather than at Dollar or Thrifty which they also own. So the story of a traffic stop of a father and 13 year old daughter – complete with guns and police body cam footage – is just as notable for happening on a Thrifty rental as for coming mere minutes after driving off the rental lot with contract in hand.
Police had their weapons drawn as they ordered Nick Wright and his 13-year-old daughter to put their hands on the hood of the car they had rented less than an hour earlier.
“I couldn’t see my daughter for most of the situation, so I felt completely helpless,” Wright said. “I was being detained with my fingers locked behind my head and police telling me to shut up. It was surreal.”
They’d just left the Savannah, Georgia airport Thrifty location . Eventually guns were lowered and the dad was allowed to show his valid rental contract which was only 36 minutes old, demonstrating that the vehicle was (improperly) reported stolen before he’d rented it.
He reports “his daughter couldn’t sleep for days following the stop” and he’s suing. He should be thankful he’s not Julius Burnside, who “was arrested and spent seven months in jail” though a court found he had actually paid for his car rental.
Hertz has still taken no responsibility for its poor record-keeping practices that land its customers in jail. However this past week it announced a new partnership with big data company Palantir for its Foundry software to help manage its fleet. So long after declaring the problem to be fixed, they may finally be taking steps to fix it. But Hertz’s victims have continued to mount in the meantime.