A Hertz customer who was aboard a cruise ship in Florida was removed from the vessel and put in jail after a reported theft by the rental company that he claims was false.
Charles Doucette is a pharmacy and healthcare consultant who says he spent more than $15,000 with Hertz in 2020 and 2021, reports CBS News. The latest in a long line of people who claim to have been falsely accused of theft by the company, he says police knocked on the door of his berth while he and his girlfriend of 18 years were sleeping this week.
“Customs and Border came onto the boat and told me to turn around, face the wall with my hands behind my back,” he told the outlet from Florida’s Brevard County Jail. “This is the most horrific experience of my life.”
Doucette said he rented a car from Hertz for his business last year and properly extended the rental several times. In March, however, Arizona police stopped him and told him that the company had filed a police report saying his rental car had been stolen and towed it.
Hertz then charged his card the full amount but prosecutors still took his case to a grand jury and indicted him in August. Doucette said he contacted a local lawyer so that he wouldn’t be required to a court appearance in Arizona but it’s unclear what happened in the courtroom.
“Hertz refuses to correct a police report when they’ve learned payments [were] made, when they’ve learned the car’s been returned or when they’ve learned there’s inaccuracies,” said attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy, who represents Doucette and others who claims to have had similar experiences with Hertz.
The attorney says he has sent a letter to Hertz asking for its help to get Doucette out of jail because, unless something changes, the accused will have to spend 10 days into custody awaiting extradition to Arizona.
Hertz is facing more than 230 claims in bankruptcy court from people who allege that they were arrested for being falsely accused of stealing rental vehicles. CBS News reports that the company has filed roughly 8,000 police reports per year for the last four years. Of those, documents from claimants indicate that almost 3,500 were filed against customers who had lawfully rented from Hertz and for whom the company had payment information on file.