Car rental giant Hertz announced a $168 million settlement to resolve numerous lawsuits against the company by customers who claim they were wrongly detained for driving stolen vehicles. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Car rental giant Hertz announced a $168 million settlement to resolve numerous lawsuits against the company by customers who claim they were wrongly detained for driving stolen vehicles.
The 364 lawsuits allege Hertz falsely reported stolen vehicles, resulting in the arrests of customers who had rented them. According to a news release from Hertz, the settlement will resolve 95% of the pending claims against it.
The settlement will be paid by the end of the year, Hertz said.
"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 Stephen Scherr, CEO of Hertz.
"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."
Some of the claimants say they spent time in jail or were arrested at gunpoint because of the false theft reports.
Many of the arrests came after customers extended their rentals. Saleema Lovelace is one such case. Video of her January 2021 arrest circulated online. She is seen explaining to officers that she has proof of extending her rental on her phone.
"The car is not stolen. If you take my phone out and go in my email, they sent me my receipt," she told officers.
In an interview with News Nation posted in August, Lovelace said she still had marks on her arms from being handcuffed. Her receipt indicates she was arrested one day after paying her balance with Hertz, which was in excess of $3,900.
"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," she said.
Hertz is the parent company of Dollar, Firefly and Thrifty car rental