If you don’t return a rental car on time, it’s late. But at some point, it stops being late and becomes a stolen car. Hertz — and all of the rental car companies — eventually report the car stolen.
But while Hertz is apparently good at reporting cars as stolen, it isn’t so good at reporting cars as un-stolen. That is, sometimes the car eventually gets returned (“Huh? I didn’t realize that it was a week late.”) and then the next renter is still driving a car that had been reported stolen with no correction. That subsequent renter gets pulled over by the police, sometimes arrested, and sometimes at gunpoint. This is not a hypothetical or a Black Mirror episode. It’s, unfortunately, a very real pattern.
For example, when a NASA employee rented a car from Hertz, he certainly had no idea that the previous renter of that car hadn’t returned it on time. Pulled over, the “NASA employee was surrounded by police with guns drawn. He was cuffed and arrested in front of co-workers, accused of stealing a Hertz rental car. Hertz later said it was a mistake.”
In another example, the victim “spent 37 days in jail,” and “she lost her job, missed her nursing school graduation and had a miscarriage.” Crazy.
How does this happen? The police employ automated license plate readers (ALPRs). You drive by with a car marked as stolen and it triggers in the squad car. The police then pull you over, guns ready. It’s scary, it’s dangerous, and it could be easily prevented by the car rental companies.
Hertz has claimed that this issue stopped with its 2020 covid bankruptcy. But that’s not true; indeed, the false arrest problem has apparently continued.
If you were a victim, we are interested in hearing your story. Call us at 646.290.7251, or email FalseArrest@PollockCohen.com.