Michael Okoasia, a 29-year-old Black video director from NYC, rented a car through Hertz in Los Angeles before 10 cops pulled him over at gunpoint and arrested him for driving a stolen car. As it turns out, a "glitch" in the Hertz computer system reported the vehicle stolen.
"Hertz had rented me the wrong car and then without any investigation reported the car I was driving stolen," Okoasia wrote in a court filing. "I was eventually let go, and the car towed, but not before a very public arrest in Hollywood."
Okoasia said he lost $20,000 because he wasn't able to get to the video shoot. "I had to the production team I had been arrested for possession of a stolen car." He's not alone.
Jeremy Benjamin and Brittany Morgan rented a Ford Mustang from a Hertz in Houston and were pulled over by police at gunpoint shortly after.
"We showed the police the paperwork and told them we had obviously not stolen the car. We were stunned when police told us that the license plate on our car was from another car that had been reported stolen and that it was not even the license plate listed on our rental paperwork," the couple wrote in a legal document.
"We are infuriated that something like this could happen and dumbfounded to learn that Hertz has previously rented 'stolen' cars to customers," the couple added.
Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr took over in February and vowed to address the software issue but more than 300 cases similar to Okoasia, Benjamin, and Morgan have been filed in court, with the cases seeking a total of $750 million in damages. The allegations have prompted Congress to step in and request the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation.