BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — One New Hampshire man is behind bars after getting arrested on a cruise ship last week at a Florida port.
CBS News says Charles Doucette, a pharmacy and healthcare consultant from New Hampshire, is accused of stealing a Hertz rental car. But, according to him, the car rental company filed a false police report against him.
And's he's just the latest of dozens of people who have found themselves in the same situation – accused of stealing a car they say they didn't, CBS News reports.
Douchette is being held without bond at the Brevard County Jail, where he's facing a felony charge.
"This is the most horrific experience of my life," he told CBS News. "I am one of their best customers. And here I am sitting in jail."
Douchette told the news network he rented a car from Hertz for last year for his business and correctly extended the rental more than once. He said he had a run-in with Arizona police in March claiming that Hertz filed a police report against him saying the car had been stolen.
Douchette claims, according to CBS, that although the rental car was towed, his credit card was later charged the full amount for the rental.
And, Douchette says he has always been one of Hertz's best customers. In fact, CBS says, he's spent more than $15,000 with the rental giant over 2020-2021 alone. He's an elite President's Circle member.
CBS says it has identified several people who claim they were arrested and jailed after cars they say were legally-rented were then reported stolen by Hertz.
"People think that they're an isolated incident and they don't realize that this is a systemic issue that's happening across the nation," Attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy told CBS.
Hertz takes issue with such a characterization. A previous statement from Hertz, obtained by CBS, claims, "attorneys have a track record of making baseless claims that blatantly misrepresent the facts."
Here's the full statement from Nov. 2, 2021 via CBS:
Hertz cares deeply about our customers, and we successfully provide rental vehicles for tens of millions of travelers each year. Unfortunately, in the legal matters being discussed, the attorneys have a track record of making baseless claims that blatantly misrepresent the facts. The vast majority of these cases involve renters who were many weeks or even months overdue returning vehicles and who stopped communicating with us well beyond the scheduled due date. Situations where vehicles are reported to the authorities are very rare and happen only after exhaustive attempts to reach the customer.