Hertz to pay $168 million to settle lawsuits over false arrests

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Hertz said Monday it would pay $168 million to settle hundreds of claims from customers who falsely reported their vehicles stolen by the rental car company, arresting some innocent renters and On reports was sent to jail for weeks or months.

Hertz said in a brief statement that it was settling 364 claims, which represented 95 percent of the outstanding claims against the company over false theft reports.

Dozens of customers shared stories on social media and broadcast television programs of being arrested, “SWATed” or stopped at border crossings after Hertz gave false information to authorities about stealing vehicles from its rental fleet was.

Hertz claims that thousands of renters steal cars. The clients argue that they have been falsely accused.

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In many cases, the customer had paid for the car weeks or months in advance and returned the fine – or never rented the car at all.

Drew Caesar, a real estate appraiser in Colorado, found out about a warrant for his arrest in Georgia when he was stopped at the airport on his way to Mexico with his family. Seeger told CBS News that he had never been to Georgia, nor had he rented a car from Hertz. He was kept in jail for more than 24 hours; The charges were dropped after his lawyer provided an alibi to prosecutors.

Paul-Anthony Knight said on “Inside Edition” that he was arrested after Hertz wrongly filed a theft report against him. “All guns were pulled on me. I was thrown to the ground. I was arrested. And I was locked up for more than a week,” he said. Another man, Julius Burnside, told the program that he had been jailed for more than six months for a false report.

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It was not immediately clear whether Caesar, Knight and Burnside were among the claimants who settled with Hertz, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2021. An attorney for dozens of customers suing Hertz in Delaware did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hertz said in February that “the vast majority of these cases involved renters who were returning vehicles more than several weeks or months late and who stopped communicating with us beyond the specified due date.”

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But Hertz Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Sher was more apologetic, saying on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in April that “it is not acceptable for Hertz to have any customer, a single customer caught up in what happened.” Is.” He said the issue of false theft reports was “one of the first things” he dealt with since taking over the company in February. “Several hundred people” were affected by the reports, he said.

When the false report was discovered to be retracted, Sher said, “Yet these guys were caught, you know, in an instant” when the report was “unrecognized” by law enforcement. He said the false reports were “unfortunate”.

Marisa Iati contributed to this report.

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