Third in our new Thanksgiving tradition of Thankful We're Not ... is a case of an elderly renter who decided to follow the childhood playground maxim "possession is nine-tenths of the law".  Jacques Allouf of Stamford, Connecticut decided to test that maxim and is soon going to become acutely aware that the actual law doesn't work that way. You see, he rented a car on December 24, 2014, and apparently decided the 2013 Nissan Altima was an end of Hanukah or early Christmas gift from Hertz. The rental car company really wanted their car back but Mr. Allouf didn't oblige, the latest entrant into the pantheon of "renters doing bad things with a rental car".
Mr. Allouf clearly rented the vehicle on Christmas Eve 2014, picking up the car from the Providence, Rhode Island Airport (PVD). He just didn't return the vehicle in 2014 ... or 2015 ... or 2016 ... or the first 10 months of 2017. When he was confronted by the local police in Stamford, CT in early November 2017, he still had the original rental agreement from 2014 in the glove compartment! However, the rental was -- by that time -- approximately 32 months overdue. Based upon the computations provided in media reports, the renter apparently paid for two months of his 34-month rental. His balance due to Hertz was $25,344 for a rental car that was worth approximately $15,000 at the time he picked up the vehicle.
Mr. Allouf picked up two different felony charges for his efforts and apparently lives a charmed life. Despite keeping the car an extra 32 months without showing up at the Hertz counter, he was released from jail on zero bond and a simple promise to show up for a future court appearance. We guess the takeaway here is if one's first arrest is on multiple felony charges, Connecticut is the place to get pinched.
That leads us to a quick public service announcement and the real takeaway from this story:
Keeping a rental car without the rental car company's permission can lead to jail. A renter signs a contract that has a specified return time, and the contract may note that the rate is "valid through" a specific later point in time. The rental car company has to agree to any delay in scheduled return time, or the renter's using a very expensive asset without the owner's permission. As little as 72 hours late in some states without approval can result in felony charges. If there are any questions about keeping a car later than scheduled, the first call should always be to the rental car firm!
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