Hertz To Pay $168 Million To Customers Arrested Due To Their False Police Reports

Hertz announced a $168 million settlement covering 364 claims against them, at an average of just over $460,000 per customer.

There are perhaps a dozen more customers who are suing Hertz, that are not a part of the settlement. I have to think that in many of those cases the customers believe the egregiousness of their experience warrants a greater cash payout and that it makes sense to get closer to trial.

It’s hard to imagine that – given the substantial evidence of Hertz incompetence, wrongdoing, and callousness (a refusal, for instance, to retract false police reports out of fear that the retractions would lead police to stop trusting their false reports) that we won’t see additional liability.

Here are a handful of examples of what happened. One elite member chalked up 4 arrests spending 30 days in jail, where she suffered a miscarriage. And:

  • Connie Totman, who rented a car from Hertz in South Carolina and returned the car in Georgia. Hertz subsequently overcharged Ms. Totman in error and falsely reported the vehicle as stolen to South Carolina police. Because of this false theft report, Ms. Totman was then arrested on three separate occasions, twice in Georgia and once in South Carolina, over the course of a year. Charges against her were ultimately dismissed.

  • Saleema Lovelace, who was arrested at gunpoint two days before the date on which she had agreed to return her rental car to Hertz. Despite paying for her rental in full, Hertz reported the vehicle as stolen after deleting records of Ms. Lovelace’s payment and of her rental extension agreements. Ms. Lovelace remains under ongoing prosecution today.

In its release, Hertz says they believe “a meaningful portion of the settlement” will be covered by insurance so ‘no big deal’ to them what they did to customers, at least for investors. Meanwhile their CEO shrugs in an included statement saying they “will not always be perfect.”

“As I have said since joining Hertz earlier this year, my intention is to lead a company that puts the customer first. In resolving these claims, we are holding ourselves to that objective,” said Stephen Scherr, CEO of Hertz. “While we will not always be perfect, the professionals at Hertz will continue to work every day to provide best-in-class service to the tens of millions of people we serve each year. Moving forward, it is our intention to reshape the future of our company through electrification, shared mobility and a great digital-first customer experience.”

I’m not sure how “shared mobility,” electric cars and a strong mobile app will keep them from reporting cars stolen that haven’t been stolen? And you have to think a $100 million-plus insurance payout will affect their rates at least. But it’s something for a majority of current claims they’re facing, at least.

Unquestionably getting these stories out of the news benefits Hertz. But the trick is to stop this from continuing to happen. Hopefully working with Palantir will help them do a better job tracking their fleet.

(HT: Jonathan W)

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