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Hertz will pay $168 million to settle hundreds of false car theft claims

Rental car giant Hertz Global Holdings announced Monday it would pay $168 million to settle 364 claims that it erroneously filed criminal reports against customers who did not return vehicles on time.

In February, CBS News reported that Hertz was facing lawsuits from hundreds of customers who said they were falsely arrested for auto theft. The arrests stemmed from thousands of criminal complaints the company files each year, CBS News said, citing court documents it sued to unseal.

In one instance, CBS News reported, a man in Colorado spent 24 hours in jail after he was arrested on charges that he had stolen a Hertz rental vehicle in Georgia, despite, he said, never having been to that state and never having rented from Hertz.

Hertz Global Holdings also operates Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, among others.

In other cases, the complaints caused police to pull over innocent customers on suspicion of driving stolen cars.

"As I have said since joining Hertz earlier this year, my intention is to lead a company that puts the customer first," Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr said in a statement. "In resolving these claims, we are holding ourselves to that objective. While we will not always be perfect, the professionals at Hertz will continue to work every day to provide best-in-class service to the tens of millions of people we serve each year."

Hertz said it believes it will recover some part of the settlement amount from its insurance carriers. It said the settlements resolve more than 95% of its pending theft reporting claims.

Hertz exited bankruptcy oversight last year. Its shares were down nearly 2% in Monday trading.

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