A woman is suing Hertz after being accused of stealing a rental car she'd paid for and getting arrested 4 times over the incident, lawsuit says

  • A Hertz customer was arrested after being accused of stealing a rental car, a lawsuit stated.

  • Antwanette Hill is one of hundreds of people suing Hertz for wrongful arrests over "stolen" cars.

  • A father and his daughter faced armed police after the company reported their rental car as stolen.

A Hertz customer was accused of stealing a rental car despite booking and paying for the vehicle in an incident that has led to her being arrested a total of four times and being held in custody for days at a time, a lawsuit stated.

Antwanette Hill used her status as a platinum member of the Hertz Gold Club loyalty program to book and collect a car without checking in with a staff member at Atlanta airport in October 2018, according to the lawsuit filed in July and seen by Insider. She had rented at least 20 times with Hertz before then.

As she got in the car, an employee came up to her claiming she was stealing it. Hill told him she was a platinum member and to look for her reservation, but instead he called police who then arrested her.

Hill was arrested three more times between 2019 and 2021 for failure to appear in court over the incident because she was not notified about the court dates, according to the lawsuit, and spent about nine days in jail on each occasion. Her case is still pending; Hertz has declined to dismiss the case.

Hill was pregnant at the time of the fourth arrest in May 2021 and suffered a miscarriage while in jail. She was hospitalized for three days.

The lawsuit stated that "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 pending charges.

Hill is one of dozens of people participating in the class action against Hertz claiming they were wrongfully arrested due to false theft reports.

The lawsuit states that 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 reports the cars as stolen anyway."

A lawyer involved with the class action, Francis Alexander Malofiy, said that Hertz failed to retract theft claims to avoid damaging its relationship with police.

A separate lawsuit filed in late September and seen by Insider focused on cars being reported as stolen before being given to customers. Malofiy is also involved with that legal action.

In one incident, Nicholas Wright and his 13-year-old daughter were swarmed by armed police 30 minutes after collecting an SUV in Savannah, Georgia, when a Hertz agent reported them for theft.

A Hertz manager arrived at the scene with a replacement car after Wright showed officers his rental agreement. His daughter is seeking therapy for the incident, the lawsuit stated.

"No company in America, no company in the world, uses the police as a taxpayer-funded repo service," Malofiy told Insider.

Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr acknowledged false arrests by the company in an interview with CNBC in March, reversing years of denials by the company, but said policies had been put in place to stop them happening.

Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020. But Malofiy said the lawsuits showed arrests had continued after the company emerged from that process in July last year.

"What [Scherr] is saying is false, and he needs to 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 for tens of millions of travelers each year.

"Where our customers have been negatively affected, we are committed to doing what is right by our customers. At the same time, we will protect and defend against false claims intended to cause our company harm."

If you have been affected by similar issues with Hertz, get in touch at rhogg@insider.com

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