Rental car company Hertz announced Monday it will pay $168 million to settle over 360 claims relating to the company falsely accusing customers of stealing its vehicles.
For years, the rental company has accused hundreds of innocent customers of theft — accusations that have led to arrests, felony charges, and scary interactions with law enforcement. Now, the company is admitting its failures and owning up to its mistakes.
“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 CEO Stephen Scherr in a statement announcing the settlement.
“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” he added. “Moving forward, it is our intention to reshape the future of our company through electrification, shared mobility and a great digital-first customer experience.”
Hertz Global Holdings, which also owns the Dollar, Firefly and Thrifty car rental brands, filed for bankruptcy in 2020, opening the door for many of these claims to emerge.
Hertz said the settlement will resolve more than 95% of pending claims on the issue, adding that the company expects to recoup a “meaningful portion” of the settlement amount from its insurance carriers.
Of the 25 million rental transactions Hertz processes each year, 0.014% are reported stolen, or about 3,500, the company has said.
One of the plaintiffs said she was arrested in January 2021 after extending and paying for her Dollar car rental, and that police soon charged her with a felony.
“To experience something like that, and especially as a woman and a black woman with all white cops throwing you around with guns out like I’m a criminal, and it wasn’t even a stolen vehicle,” Saleema Lovelace, one of the plaintiffs, told NewsNation.
Hertz emerged from bankruptcy in 2021 and said it will pay the $168 million by the end of the year.