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Ohio drivers caught in Hertz investigation speak out

More than 200 Hertz customers are suing the car rental company, claiming false arrests after Hertz incorrectly labeled their rentals as stolen.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On May 21, 2019, while driving east on Interstate 76 in Ohio near the border of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Letourneau noticed flashing lights in her rearview mirror.

"I was returning the vehicle and I got pulled over the by Ohio Highway Patrol," she said.

Letourneau had rented a car through princeline.com and had her electronic rental contract on her phone that she said she showed to the officers.

It didn't matter. She was arrested and her car was towed.

"They did end up charging me with possession of a stolen property," she said.

Ayisha Essick's husband also rented from Hertz

Essick said Columbus police came looking for her husband with a warrant.

"Somebody did not check that the car was freaking returned," she said.

Essick said they returned the car with no issues.

"I mean it really felt like it wasn't real. I didn't know what GTA [was]. It was grand theft auto, it was ridiculous," she said.

More than 200 Hertz customers are now suing the company, according to their attorney, claiming false arrests after they allege Hertz incorrectly labeled their rentals as stolen, when in reality, they were returned as normal.

"I ended up doing 40 days in jail," says Letourneau.

Letourneau and Essick are represented by Attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy of Pennsylvania.

"What we have are clients who had valid IDs, valid credit or debit cards and Hertz would continue to bill those credit cards without any issue and the problem we are having here is that Hertz is falsifying payment, information to law enforcement they are falsifying the context that renter is having with the organization, and they are deleting rental extensions and backdating the due dates," he said.

"Hertz had claimed the vast majority of these cases involve renters who were many weeks or even months overdue returning vehicles and who stopped communicating well beyond the scheduled due date.”

Hertz's new CEO, Stephen Scherr, recently said, "It's not acceptable to Hertz to have any customer caught up in what's happened," regarding the false arrests.  "We will do right where our customers have been negatively affected and we're working to resolve that very quickly."

According to CBS News, Scherr said that the issue is not a "systemic" problem and that they have put new policies in place to address these problems. Scherr said that he's "confident" the company will reach a settlement with customers who are suing Hertz in bankruptcy court.  

"I'll believe it when I see it. Actions speak louder than words. It's one thing to say, it's another thing to do it," Malofy said.

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