- A Hertz customer has been arrested after being charged with stealing a rental car, a lawsuit has heard.
- Antwanette Hill is one of hundreds of people suing Hertz for wrongful arrests for “stolen” cars.
- A father and daughter faced armed police after the company reported their rental car had been stolen.
A Hertz customer has been charged with stealing a rental car when she reserved and paid for the vehicle in an incident that saw her arrested a total of four times and detained for several days. in a row, according to a lawsuit.
Antwanette Hill used her platinum membership in the Hertz Gold Club loyalty program to reserve and collect a car without checking in with a staff member at Atlanta airport in October 2018, the lawsuit claims in July and seen by Insider. She had rented at least 20 times with Hertz before.
As she got into the car, an employee approached her claiming she was stealing from her. Hill told her she was a platinum member and was looking for her reservation, but instead he called the police who then arrested her.
Hill was arrested three more times between 2019 and 2021 for failing to appear in court about the incident because she was not told court dates, according to the lawsuit, and spent around nine days in prison each time. His case is still pending; Hertz declined to dismiss the case.
Hill was pregnant at the time of the fourth arrest in May 2021 and suffered a miscarriage in prison. She was hospitalized for three days.
The lawsuit said “the loss of her child will haunt her for the rest of her life” and that she was struggling to find work as an optician due to the ongoing charges.
Hill is one of dozens of people in the class action lawsuit against Hertz claiming they were wrongfully arrested due to false reports of theft.
The lawsuit says Hertz reported cars as stolen even when they had been legally rented or simply because they could not be located due to poor record keeping: “Hertz knows that its tracking and Inventory control is broken, but still flags the cars as stolen. “
A lawyer involved in the class action lawsuit, Francis Alexander Malofiy, said Hertz did not retract the theft allegations to avoid damaging his relationship with police.
A separate lawsuit filed in late September and seen by Insider focused on cars reported as stolen before being released to customers. Malofiy is also involved in this lawsuit.
In one incident, Nicholas Wright and his 13-year-old daughter were swarmed by armed police 30 minutes after recovering an SUV in Savannah, Georgia when a Hertz officer reported them for theft.
A Hertz official arrived at the scene with a replacement car after Wright showed officers his rental agreement. Her daughter is seeking therapy for the incident, the lawsuit said.
“No company in America, no company in the world, uses the police as a taxpayer-funded pension service,” Malofiy told Insider.
Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr acknowledged false arrests by the company in an interview with CNBC in March, quashing years of denials from the company, but said policies had been put in place to prevent them from happening.
Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020. But Malofiy said the lawsuits showed the arrests continued after the company exited that process in July last year.
“What [Scherr] what he says is wrong and he must be held accountable,” Malofiy said.
A Hertz spokesperson told Insider in an emailed statement, “Hertz cares deeply about our customers and we successfully provide rental vehicles to tens of millions of travelers each year.
“Where our customers have been negatively affected, we are committed to doing what is right for our customers. At the same time, we will protect and defend against false claims intended to harm our business.”
If you have been affected by similar issues with Hertz, contact us at [email protected]