Hertz is at it again, calling law enforcement on customers for no reason, this time, a Hertz employee refused a Puerto Rican customer a rental, wrongly claiming he needed a passport.
After a dispute and explanation that Puerto Rico is (unincorporated) U.S. territory, the Hertz employee called the police, and things quickly went downhill from there.
One would think that Hertz would have learned its lesson after paying out millions in settlements to customers who were wrongfully reported to the police as car thieves, many of who spent considerable time in jail until things were cleared up.
This local employee didn’t get the memo and will most likely cost the company another chunk of money in compensation and reputational damage.
It all broke when the customer posted a video and account of what happened on his Twitter:
@Hertz I’ve been a Hertz Gold Member for more than a decade! I just got denied a Prepaid Reservation(3 weeks ago) because I only had my REAL 🆔 Driver License from PR 🇵🇷 – they required to physically show my passport-I only had a digital image!- they called @NOPDNews on me! …. pic.twitter.com/LSymCFPiqE
— Bert Marchand Paonessa (@Moonrican1) May 10, 2023
Not enough with Hertz refusing the customer his prepaid rental and going completely nuts, the police was called and apparently, the officer at the scene wasn’t exactly the brightests bulbs in the chandelier either:
The NOPD Officer ordered me to leave the area (I was already outside HERTZ premises) or other wise he was going on call US Border authorities! They are making a huge mistake!
— Bert Marchand Paonessa (@Moonrican1) May 10, 2023
A police officer threatens a U.S. citizen who is in possession of a REAL ID by calling CBP/ICE to settle a business dispute?
I get (not that I accept it) that Hertz has ‘some’ bozos working for them, I doubt their hiring requirements are very high, and that geography, civics, or political science played a major role in their employees curriculum, but a police officer should be trained better and know the basics.
CNN reported that following the Tweet, which went viral, Hertz acknowledged the error and issued a public statement:
Hertz has apologized to a Puerto Rican customer after one of its employees refused to rent him a car he had paid for in advance because he did not show her his passport.
Humberto Marchand said that he traveled to New Orleans last Wednesday and presented his Puerto Rican driver’s license at the Hertz counter at the Louie Armstrong International Airport. The employee asked for his passport even though, like all Puerto Ricans, Marchand is a US citizen and does not need to have a passport to rent a car within the United States.
Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, and anyone born on the island is by law a US citizen.
“I was surprised and definitely frustrated because it was very late at night, so I decided to make a formal complaint” said Marchand in an interview with CNN.
In a statement to CNN, Hertz (HTZ) said that the company accepts Puerto Rican driver’s licenses from customers renting in the United States without requiring a valid passport.
“We sincerely regret that our policy was not followed and have apologized to Mr. Marchand and refunded his rental,” a company spokesperson said. “We are reinforcing our policies with employees to ensure that they are understood and followed consistently across our locations.”
Marchand says a Kenner Police Department officer responded to the scene and also asked him to leave. As he walked away, he said he heard the police officer threaten to call the border patrol.
A spokesperson for the Kenner Police Department told CNN that they have reviewed the officer’s body cam footage and that nowhere in the video did the officer mention the border patrol, ICE or any other immigration authorities.
“There is the specific portion on the footage where the officer says something, not related to any of those things mentioned earlier, and clearly Mr. Marchand misunderstands the officer,” Capt. Michael Cunningham told CNN.
Cunningham also said that the police department will release a statement about this incident and the body camera footage but did not specify when it will be released.
“I became very nervous because once you call the police you don’t want the matter to escalate to the point that the officer thinks he has to use some sort of force. So, I kept a very calm and assertive, but respectful, posture,” said Marchand.
It is not clear if Hertz took any disciplinary action against the employee, however, the company said that this employee, like all their employees, has been reminded of their longstanding policy related to Puerto Rican driver’s licenses.
Marchand said he also plans to file a complaint against the Kenner Police Department to ensure that their officers are trained to validate Real IDs and to review any inappropriate comments about being referred to border authorities that he claims were made by the officer.
Refunding the rental which the customer didn’t utilize isn’t an acceptable form of compensation. It’s not even an apology and should this be the only action taken it’s absolutely ridiculous and the customer should explore his legal options with the help of an attorney.
Why is it always Hertz that’s in the news with these sorts of things? What in the world is going on with their employees, hiring policy, and training philosophy?
The claim of the police officer threatening to call CBP has been disputed by the police department. If the customer is 100% sure that’s what the officer said then he should absolutely lodge an official complaint, gain access to the footage and consider legal action.
Hertz once again made headlines for all the wrong reasons, this time a station employee got into a fight with a customer demanding he presents a passport to obtain his rental car. As a U.S. citizen and Puerto Rican resident, he isn’t required to do so and this should be flagged in the Hertz system.
Why an employee would make up random rules and then even call the police is beyond me. Sometimes employees who have an overbooking situation on their hands and not enough cars that day try to go 100% by the book and hope some customers can’t fulfill the requirements so they won’t have to give them a car. Happened to me recently at (surprise) another Hertz station but of course, I had my passport handy. Still ended up with a total trashcan of a car that I immediately exchanged at the LAX airport station.
It’s not like this customer rented the first time with Hertz, he’s a member of Hertz Gold Rewards and has a rental history. This employee in question has no business being on the frontlines with customers or even in any other position with the company. Hopefully, Hertz will take appropriate action here.