In an alarming incident, Blake Gober, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and political consultant, found himself entangled in a legal nightmare after car rental giant Hertz falsely accused him of stealing a vehicle. Gober's ordeal began with an unexpected arrest in Louisville, Kentucky, due to a warrant he knew nothing about, leading to a five-day stint in corrections.
The arrest stemmed from a 2019 car rental in West Virginia, where Gober had rented a Nissan Versa from Hertz. Despite returning the vehicle after three months, Hertz reported it stolen, claiming they had made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact Gober for its return. This culminated in Gober's indictment for theft of a rental vehicle and grand larceny, charges that could have landed him 12 years in prison.
The confusion escalated when it was revealed that Hertz had mistakenly reported a Nissan Sentra, a different model, as stolen. Gober's attorney, Wes Prince, highlighted the discrepancy, emphasizing that Gober had never rented a Sentra. In response, Hertz suggested the mix-up was likely due to a typo by law enforcement. However, Prince pointed out that the police report clearly indicated information from Hertz about a Sentra, casting doubt on the company's claim.
This isn't an isolated incident for Hertz. The company has a history of reporting rented vehicles as stolen, leading to wrongful arrests. Last year, hundreds of customers sued Hertz for emotional and mental damages from false arrests. In one case, Julius Burnside spent seven months in jail before a court ruled he had legally paid for his rental.
In February 2022, Hertz admitted in court to falsely reporting some customers for stealing vehicles. By December, they settled 364 claims related to vehicle theft reporting, compensating wrongfully arrested customers with $168 million.
In Gober's case, the West Virginia court ultimately dismissed the charges, citing unreliable information from the victim—Hertz. The Marine veteran, now cleared of all charges, calls for Hertz to apologize and acknowledge their mistakes, underlining the need for significant change in their internal processes to prevent such grave errors in the future.