Lawsuit

Did Ferrari Allow Dealers To Illegally Reset Odometers?

That's the claim being alleged by an ex-Ferrari salesman.

Dealerships tampering with odometers to reduce a car’s mileage value isn’t unheard of, sadly, but it’s less common in supercars since owners don’t typically rack up as many miles to retain the car’s resale value. Last year, however, ex-Ferrari salesman Robert ‘Bud’ Root filed a lawsuit claiming that a Ferrari dealership in Palm Beach had been using a device, known as a DEIS Tester, to illegally roll back the odometers on customer cars, significantly increasing their value.

His contract was terminated for age discrimination reasons after he discovered the device. If that wasn’t already bad enough, a new report by The Daily Mail claims that Ferrari was aware of what was going on but did nothing about it. Ferrari even approved it since the automaker was required to authorize use of the device online. The device can be used for servicing, but was also capable of resetting the odometer, in some cases back to zero. A memo, which was originally published in April 2017 and filed in court early last month, mentions that a software update was released by Ferrari removing the ability for a tester to perform a an “NQS ECU reset cycle.”

“As a result …, the odometer 'reset to zero' functionality is being removed,” the memo reads. According to the memo, Ferrari also announced it would remove paragraphs about turning odometers backward from its Ferrari Workshop Manuals that told technicians how to reset the counters for years. According to the lawsuit, a former client, retired Sara Lee chief executive Steven McMillan, paid off a dealership employee to roll back the odometer of his car. The Daily Mail says that by resetting the odometer back to zero, the value of the LaFerrari hypercar increased by over $1 million. Tampering with odometers is illegal in several states and can lead to a felony conviction in Florida.

Ferrari has denied any illegal wrongdoing in an emailed statement to The Daily Mail by Director of Communications Krista Florin. “Resetting an odometer to zero in case of a malfunction of the odometer when the pre-repair mileage is unknown is consistent with the federal odometer law,” Florin wrote. “Ferrari determined that the risks of odometer fraud in the United States from unauthorized use of the DEIS tool outweighed the convenience of this functionality of the tool, and thus, Ferrari has informed its network with a technical bulletin that a software update to eliminate the odometer reset functionality of the DEIS tool was necessary and disabled this functionality.”

The email also added that the tool could not work after the odometer reached 311 miles, or 500 kilometers. It will be interesting to see how this revelation affects the used Ferrari market.

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