Hertz Guilty of Falsely Causing Its Own Customers To Be Sent To Jail For Car Theft. Boycott Hertz.

Posted by freedomforall 1 year, 4 months ago to Business
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These days, poisonous collusion between powerful private sector interests and the state turns one’s thoughts to insecure cell phone data and social media censorship in the service of the Democratic Party. But devil’s bargains between Chamber of Commerce members and elected officials have been going on for a long time, maybe back to the Pliocene Epoch.

Consider the outrageous 5–4 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, which twisted the Fifth Amendment’s eminent domain doctrine “in favor of affording legislatures broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power,” the upshot being that a Connecticut woman’s humble home could be seized not to build, say, a public highway but because a politically well-connected private developer wanted it. Alongside its protection against self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment enshrined a guarantee in its takings clause that “private property” shall not “be taken for public use, without just compensation”—but “public use” became anything state legislators decided it was.

As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in her dissent, “Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party … The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result. ‘[T]hat alone is a just government,’ wrote James Madison, ‘which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.’”

Justice Clarence Thomas went further in a separate dissent, declaring that “I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution” and condemning “this boundless use of the eminent domain power,” the seeds of which were planted by previous cases dating back at least to 1954.

Interests ranging from the American Conservative Union to the NAACP attacked Kelo, and it wouldn’t be a bad bet that the current Supreme Court would overturn this license for governmental abuse of power given the opportunity, but it isn’t only your home, your smartphone, and your vote in the cross hairs when private sector financial resources and state power combine to target you as a menace. Your physical liberty is in jeopardy too.

The reports were too outlandish to be correct. “Hertz Announces Settlement Agreements Related to Past Legal Claims” was the pea-soup-foggy title of the press release recently sent out by the world’s most famous rental car service, disclosing “the settlement of 364 pending claims relating to vehicle theft reporting … The company will pay an aggregate amount of approximately $168 million by year-end to resolve these disputes.”

“Past legal claims”? It turns out that over a span of years, Hertz was falsely accusing hundreds of its customers of stealing its cars, in some cases resulting in arrest, false conviction, and even incarceration.

Its longtime slogan, “Hertz puts you in the driver’s seat” might more accurately be rewritten to say, “Hertz puts you in the slammer.” And Hertz’s longtime poster boy in the 1970s and ‘80s, NFL star-turned-accused killer O.J. Simpson, remembered for running through airports to reach his Hertz rental, turns out to have been a fitting spokesman for the company, given his familiarity with the inside of a prison.

Hertz Global Holdings was in bankruptcy proceedings in 2020–2021, and it was through that legal process that the shambles of the firm’s computer customer records system was revealed. Customers who were only pulled over by police because their rental car had previously been erroneously reported to be stolen got off easy; one Chicago woman went to jail for over 30 days after being falsely charged with car theft. A Florida woman spent 37 days behind bars, separated from her two children and forced to miss her graduation from nursing school. A Mississippi man spent over six months in jail for car theft despite the fact he had returned it and paid his bill in full.

Had Hertz had its way, none of this would have become public, its attorneys arguing in bankruptcy court that the allegations should be kept under seal. And although it’s shelling out $168 million to its victims, “Hertz does not expect the resolution of these claims to have a material impact on its capital allocation plans for the balance of 2022 and 2023,” its press release on the subject breezily concluded.

If faulty computerized records can dole out that much suffering and restriction of movement to the innocent—with the company pointing the finger and the apparatus of the state zeroing in—imagine how much worse it would be if it were intentional.

The now-most important of our personal effects, mobile phones, allow telecom companies to track our movements, then be perfectly happy handing the data over to police on request, along with our communications. Tech firms keep media revelations from us to prevent our votes from toppling their preferred politicians. And a man’s home is his castle—up until it gets in the way of “public use” somehow practiced by private companies.

The incompetence of Hertz in branding innocent customers as thieves and having the cops cart them off to the clink demonstrates that the power over us our public-private Big Brother has goes much further than we might imagine.
SOURCE URL: https://www.theepochtimes.com/big-business-big-government-big-brother_4915594.html

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