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Hertz Forced By Judge To Reveal How Many People It Accused Of Car Theft

Things are not going well for Hertz in a case that could cost the bankrupt rental car company half a billion dollars in fines.

Hertz has been in the news for over a year now for what appears to be widespread false arrest. Innocent victims whose court cases are dismissed once they reach a judge tell a tale that seems to be repeated over and over. The company tells police they stole a car from Hertz, they are arrested and jailed, and then the case is dismissed when the facts are revealed in court.

In one of the most dramatic of such cases, Drew Seaser says that Hertz had him arrested for stealing a car he rented from the company in Georgia. There were only two problems with Hertz’s accusation, according to a CBS report. First, Mr. Saeser never rented a car from Hertz. Second, he had never been to Georgia. The craziest part of the story is that Mr. Saeser only found out he had an arrest warrant issued in his name when he returned from a vacation and customs agents informed him. He was arrested and jailed for more than a day. In our “innocent until proven guilty” America, Mr. Saeser was held in custody until his lawyers could prove he was not in Georgia on the dates that Hertz said he was. The CBS report below has more details.

In a court case brought by those who say Hertz falsely accused them, Hertz refused to reveal publically just how many people the company accused of stealing a car from them. Late last week, a judge ordered that this information be made public. The number is about 3,365 people per year. The publication Inc. estimates that nearly 50,000 people may have been accused of car theft by Hertz.

Hertz says that the people it accuses of car theft are those who it has tried to work with, but who either don’t return the vehicle when asked to, or simply disappear and won’t return Hertz’s calls. While this may be true, how in America is a person like Mr. Saeser jailed until he can prove he is not a thief? Why isn’t the burden on Hertz to prove a person has stolen a car before an arrest warrant is issued? Why are our publically-funded police acting as debt collectors for a private company that can easily track its rentals using now ubiquitous telematics and repossess the property at the company's own cost? A judge will soon help decide these and more issues.

Image courtesy of Hertz' media page attributed to E.R Davidson.

Resource list. For more details on this subject, please note the following links:
Inc.: Hertz Files 3,365 Stolen Car Reports Every Year on Customers Who Rented Its Cars
MSN: Claims are mounting against Hertz from customers who say they were wrongfully arrested for rental car theft.
CNN: Hertz files for bankruptcy
Fox Business: Dozens of Hertz customers allege company had them falsely arrested
KPRC 2 Investigates: Hertz customers report being accused of driving stolen rental cars
Naples Daily News: Hertz accused of falsely reporting that customers stole rental cars
Metro UK: Hertz car rental customers ‘arrested at gunpoint after company falsely reports vehicles stolen’
Inside Hook: Why Are Dozens of Hertz Customers Being Accused of Auto Theft?
Inc.: Why Are Hertz Customers Getting Stopped--or Even Jailed--for Driving 'Stolen' Cars?
Business Observer: Attorneys expand wrongful theft allegations case against Hertz
ABC7 / KATV: Hertz still wrongfully accusing customers of stealing rental cars, attorney says
Inside EVs: Why Did Hertz Choose Tesla Over Other EVs, And Pay Full Price?

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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