FlyerTalk Member Arrested After Hertz Files False Police Report

A member of frequent flyer community FlyerTalk reports being arrested because they rented a car from Hertz that the company had previously reported stolen

I was an extraordinarily loyal and highest tier gold member before Hertz’s lazy stupidity ended our relationship with a bogus felony arrest.

It’s shocking that these stories keep coming out. You rent a car, go to jail. You go directly to jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect (much devalued) loyalty points. One Hertz elite member chalked up 4 arrests, spending 30 days in jail where she… suffered a miscarriage.

Much of the time, though not all the time, the problem seems to be with cars a customer swaps out midway through a rental (preferring a different vehicle) or where a customer extends a rental and the company doesn’t record the change properly. Hertz appears to do a terrible job tracking its fleet. And they say they do not withdraw false police reports, or else the police might stop believing them.

Two things currently stand out about the issue.

  • There are currently 40 active prosecutions of Hertz customers. According to attorneys representing customers suing the rental car giant, this is “because Hertz refuses to cooperate with investigators.” That’s not surprising when Hertz is facing numerous lawsuits over these arrests, but they’ve pledged to clean up their act. You’d think that once stories of these incidents became commonplace a couple of years ago, that every Hertz vehicle theft report would go through a separate and vigorous review process. But the incidents keep happening.

  • Hertz has not announced any actual changes to policy, technology, or procedures. Hertz’s CEO has acknowledged problems, and claims they’re fixed, but the stories keep coming. And they haven’t things they are actually doing differently.

    Hertz has announced a deal with Palantir to track their fleet so perhaps they’ll know when their cars aren’t actually stolen at some point in the near future. However the rental car giant has not made any public statements to suggest these two things are related, so it may just be unjustified hopefulness on my part.

  • Investors and the company’s board appear complicit at this point. They’re certainly losing out on rentals as a result of the stories. Even if risk of imprisonment is small for any given rental, it’s the sort of long tail risk you don’t normally associate with reserving a rental car. And the consequences are bad enough, a certain segment of customers simply look at Hertz and say ‘why bother?’ That doesn’t just mean fewer transactions, it means lower prices to induce make up demand. (I frequently see Hertz as the cheapest option when I search.)

    Hertz needs to speak clearly to this issue and explain how they’re going to stop it from continuing, and then they need to back it up with action.

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