PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Car rental company Hertz is facing yet more lawsuits, this time from two Pennsylvania customers who claim the company filed false police reports that led to their arrests.
“Sitting in a cell, eating cheese sandwiches and drinking water for three days is not a very pleasant experience,” but that’s where William West found himself in November 2015.
He was locked up and charged with driving a stolen vehicle.
“They handcuffed me, put me in a car and I told them ‘it’s a rental,'” West said.
West drove a Hertz rental car for three months and left his credit card on file. But then, he says, the company reported the car stolen. He fought for years to clear his name.
“The judge ended up dismissing the question. How could you steal a car you’ve been renting for three months? They have your name, address, credit card information, etc.,” West said.
RELATED: Hertz settles dozens of lawsuits after Action News investigation
It’s similar to what Saleema Lovelace is facing. She was arrested while driving a vehicle from a Hertz rental subsidiary, Dollar Rental, in January 2021.
After being arrested, her criminal case is still pending. She still faces felony charges.
“How can a large company of this size allow this to happen to so many people? Lovelace asks.
She is one of 350 people from across the country currently represented by lawyer Francis Malofiy.
“It disproportionately happens to black and minority communities,” Malofiy said.
RELATED: Customers Sue Hertz Over False Theft Claims | Action News Survey
Now the cases are moving forward in civil court after being held up in bankruptcy court.
“It’s like molasses. It’s a sand trap. In state court, we get the benefit of a jury trial,” Malofiy said.
Hertz says he disagrees with the court’s decision to have the cases tried outside of bankruptcy proceedings. They sent Action News the following statement:
“As previously stated, we disagree with the bankruptcy court’s decision which allows claims prior to Hertz’s exit from bankruptcy to be heard outside of the bankruptcy proceedings. We have appealed the decision. of court and will continue to oppose any request to file pre-emergence claims outside of The claims filed in Pennsylvania are not new and are part of ongoing proceedings in bankruptcy court.Hertz also sent nearly sixty confidential settlement offers to people who had negative experiences with our company. As stated, these settlement offers are not exhaustive. We are diligently dealing with individual complaints as efficiently and quickly as possible and look forward to continuing to make progress towards resolutions in the months ahead.”
So far, two cases have been filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and 47 cases have been filed in Delaware State Court. Ten similar cases have been filed in Florida.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All rights reserved.