SAN FRANCISCO -- Hertz settled hundreds of lawsuits from customers who were falsely accused of stealing vehicles. The rental car company said it will pay approximately $168 million by the end of 2022 to settle the majority of the 364 pending claims - some made by customers that were arrested at gunpoint.
"All of them were pointing guns literally to the back of our head," said customer Kelly Grady of Pennsylvania.
In April, CEO Stephen Scherr said that he was working to fix a glitch in the company's systems that resulted in vehicles being listed as "stolen" or incorrectly indicating that a customer had not paid.
Hertz also blamed the computer glitch for not properly recording rental extensions.
Grady said she was arrested a month after she had returned a Hertz vehicle because it was reported stolen. She spent 12 days in jail prior to the incident being cleared up.
"They yelled and screamed, 'Get out of the car, put my hands up'," said Jonathan Olivares, who was pulled over in Louisiana after his vehicle was reported stolen.
He said he tried to contact his employer who set up the rental but was unable to do so. Officers proceeded to charge him with felony auto-theft.
"I was in a cell the size of a bathroom with two other inmates," he said.
The company anticipates recovering a "meaningful portion" of the settlement through its insurance carriers. Hertz does not expect the resolution of these claims to impact its capital allocation plans for the remainder of the year, nor for the 2023 year.
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