Just when you thought that the auto industry was on the mend after numerous scandals rocked it to its core, another potentially devastating scandal is on the horizon, this time involving Ferrari.
A report from The Daily Mail reveals that Florida-based Ferrari salesman Robert “Bud” Root has filed a pair of lawsuits in Florida alleging Ferrari of using a device that was designed to electronically roll back the digital odometers of Ferrari models that go on sale in the pre-owned (or second-hand) market. According to Root’s lawsuit, the practice of rolling back these odometers allows Ferrari owners to sell their Ferraris to unsuspecting buyers at grossly inflated prices.
The device is reportedly called the “Deis Tester, internet” and according to the lawsuit, it has been available since 2010 and has a software program that allows it to reset a Ferrari odometer back to as low as 0 miles. Not only that but Root also alleges that Ferrari headquarters in Maranello is complicit in the activity, even going so far as publishing a written policy manual detailing how the device works and having sole authority on when to actually use the device.
The lawsuit further adds that Ferrari “licenses the equipment, administers the passwords and remote log-in authorisations, electronically uploads and tracks functions through the use of the device – including odometer rollbacks – through aInternet connection, and stores the electronic data.”
As for why Root stepped forward threatening to blow the lid off of the allegedly illegal practice, it appears that the 71-year old salesman reportedly fired after discovering the use of the Deis Tester and implications it could have from a legal standpoint. Root even named one of his clients, retired Sara Lee CEO C. Steve McMillan, and accused him of paying off one of the dealership’s mechanics to roll back the odometer of his Ferrari LaFerrari back to 0 miles so he could sell it a higher price than what the car was supposed to be worth.
For its part, Ferrari of Palm Beach attorney Jason Kairalla issued a statement on behalf of the dealership, saying that it “does not litigate in the newspaper,” before adding its belief that the lawsuit filed by its employee “is wholly without merit and will be vigorously defended in court."
Meanwhile, the Italian automaker has also commented on the allegations, telling Motor Authority that the automaker does not comment on litigation that involves third parties with respect to Ferrari North America and the litigation does not involve Ferrari. The automaker threw in its own caveat, adding that it “reserves” the right to take all appropriate action against any party that has adversely affected its rights.
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