CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Christina Gider’s family vacation turned into a nightmare in an instant.
“I was so nervous. I didn’t know what if I was gonna be alive tomorrow. I wasn’t sure if I would lose any of my family members,” she said.
The Hertz rental car her aunt secured for the trip had been reported stolen. Gider’s aunt, Kelly Grady, called to extend her rental contract, but the company reported the car stolen instead.
“When the police did pull us over, there were guns drawn on us and they were telling us to get out of the car and they have opened the trunk of the car to search the vehicle,” Gider said.
Grady showed troopers her contract and they called Hertz. The rental company admitted that the vehicle was not stolen. The police report called the incident a “miscommunication regarding an overcharged credit card.”
Grady was arrested and released with no ticket or citation, but months later she was arrested in New Jersey, put in jail and charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor. Ultimately, a judge dismissed all criminal charges. In a civil lawsuit she filed against Hertz, a jury found the company liable and awarded her $100,000 for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“They haven’t said sorry to my aunt, my family,” Gider said.
Now, Gider, who was in the car at the time of her aunt’s arrest, is suing Hertz for mental and emotional damages. She joins 165 others in a single Mass Tort Action lawsuit by customers who say Hertz filed police reports saying the cars they rented legitimately were stolen.
In April 2018, Julius Burnside heard there was a warrant out for his arrest after returning his rental.
“I felt it was a joke..like you you’re telling me I got a warrant for my arrest for something I paid for. That’s not possible,” Burnside said.
Burnside said Hertz told him to take the matter up with the police despite receipts that he paid and returned the vehicle.
He says he turned himself in.
“I kept telling everybody that’ll be in jail a week,” Burnside said.
He was released after a week but according to the lawsuit, he missed a court date which resulted in his re-arrest and detention.
Seven months later, Burnside says he was forced to sign a plea deal to get out of jail.
A Georgia court then looked at the evidence and ruled that Burnside had in fact paid for his rental. It withdrew his guilty plea and dismissed the case.
Hertz declined NewsNation’s request to interview on camera and would not comment on these two cases, but said in a statement, “The majority of these cases involve renters who were many weeks or even months overdue returning vehicles, and only reports to authorities after exhaustive attempts to reach the customer.”
Hertz cares deeply about our customers, and we successfully provide rental vehicles for tens of millions of travelers each year. Unfortunately, in the legal matters being discussed, the attorneys have a track record of making baseless claims that blatantly misrepresent the facts. The vast majority of these cases involve renters who were many weeks or even months overdue returning vehicles and who stopped communicating with us well beyond the scheduled due date. Situations where vehicles are reported to the authorities are very rare and happen only after exhaustive attempts to reach the customer.)Hertz
Hertz has said it goes to great pains to locate vehicles before it reports them stolen.
“It’s not one case. It’s not two cases. It’s hundreds,” attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy said.
Court documents suggest that Hertz knows what’s going on — keeping an internal database of every case since 2008 — documenting complaints and renters suing them for false arrest.
“The fact that Hertz hasn’t even said I am sorry, hasn’t corrected the record and looks at this simply as collateral damage, and peoples lives don’t matter, its disheartening, to say the least,” Malofiy said.