Warning! Booking a rental car for summer vacation could land you in jail, charged with a felony. That may sound crazy and confusing, but many Hertz customers over the years believe that statement from personal experience. 

According to claims released during Hertz’s bankruptcy legal battle, Hertz has accused thousands of its customers of auto theft, which led to customers being wrongfully arrested. 

Many of the claims come from allegations from over 200 customers who say they were wrongfully arrested due to Hertz’s inaccurate auto theft reports. 

According to several victims of Hertz’s flawed theft report system, they have been left “confused” and “traumatized.”

Hanna John Ayoub, a previous customer of Hertz, was arrested back in April 2019 in Wilmington, Delaware, after Hertz reported the truck he was renting as stolen. 

“I lost everything, my life, my reputation, everything.” Ayoub was arrested despite making $300 weekly payments to Hertz for the truck and extending the rental multiple times, according to receipts he provided to Delaware Online/The News Journal Via Yahoo news. The charges against him were dropped, he said.

Another customer, Carrie Gibbs, was arrested at a California gas station in 2019 after Hertz reported her rented truck for theft. The cops arrested Gibbs and charged her with felony car theft. But according to CBS News, her truck was rented to her from Hertz by an insurance company. 

Gibbs’s charges were dropped, but according to court papers, she lost her real estate license because of the arrest. 

“I’ve been a real estate agent for 18 years. So this is the most frustrating thing ever.” Gibbs told a CBS News consumer investigative correspondent. 

Carmen Bosko rented a car from one of Hertz Florida’s locations in January 2020 and returned it in April. But In August, she was arrested in Georgia for car theft. Bosko spent 40 days in jail and was separated from her family, which included two children and her then two-month-old baby.  

“I had to explain to my kids why I was gone for 40 days. And I missed time with my youngest that I’ll never get back,” she said. 

James Tolen was arrested in Houston in late 2020 while driving a pick-up truck he rented from Hertz.

“I rented a vehicle from Hertz all the time for my renovation company. In 2020 alone, I rented about twelve vehicles from them.” But on December 23rd, 2020, Tolen was arrested for operating a stolen vehicle reported by Hertz. 

“I was told from a loudspeaker to exit my vehicle with my shirt lifted and to back up towards them. When I turned around both officers had their guns drawn and pointed towards me, I was scared and thought I wasn’t going to make it home,” he told CBS News.

“I still had no clue why I was being arrested until the officers told me I was driving a stolen vehicle,” Tolen said.

He begged the officers to look at his contract, which showed that he was an authorized user of the vehicle. Tolen states that the officer called Hertz and told them “They need to get a better system.” The officers released Tolen and gave him back the vehicle, but Tolen found out that the vehicle was previously reported stolen by Hertz before Tolen rented it. 

Hertz declined to comment for this story but has previously said the “vast majority” of cases “involve renters who were many weeks or even months overdue returning vehicles and who stopped communicating with (Hertz) well beyond the scheduled due date.”

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