How did this situation occur?
Let this be a lesson to anyone considering a used Ferrari: purchase one directly from a certified Ferrari dealership. Here’s a very good example why. According to Automotive News, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Arkansas has been ordered to pay $5.8 million following a jury trial to a guy named Hamid Adeli who purchased a used 2007 Ferrari F430, sight unseen (another F430 is pictured here) from the dealer.
Prior to the final sale and delivery, Adeli and the dealership, part of Superior Automotive Group, communicated via phone calls, text messages and video chats before the $90,000 price was agreed upon. The dealership then sent the Ferrari for a pre-purchase inspection at a Ferrari dealership in Texas before shipping it to Adeli in Virginia.
However, on the drive home from the dealership, Adeli began experiencing problems. He claims he smelled gasoline and the stench became worse overnight after parking the car in his garage. The following day, Adeli had it towed to a local Ferrari mechanic who, upon his own inspection, discovered a leaky fuel pump, suspension issues, and most disturbingly, a cracked exhaust manifold. Superior Automotive group declined to pay for any of these issues, claiming the car was sold as-is.
Adeli disagreed and sued for breach of warranty, fraud and deceptive trade practices. When the case went to trial, it was the exhaust manifold issue the jury focused on the most. Why didn’t the Texas Ferrari dealership find it? Well, according to a repair work receipt provided to Adeli, it wasn't even looked at.
The Mercedes dealership, however, did install a new clutch, fuel sensor and addressed a few other things, but the exhaust manifold was never examined. Not only did the jury find in Adeli’s favor, it also ordered Superior to pay him that $5.8 million in punitive damages (plus $6,835 in compensatory damages and $13,366 in incidentals) over a faulty inspection. That’s why Superior is appealing, claiming the award was “fueled by passion and prejudice.” It seeks to lower the punitive damage award from $5.8 million to $27,340, about four times the compensatory award.
Even Adeli’s lawyers say the legal precedent exists for an award of 99 to 1 for punitive damages, which would lower the jury’s award to $676,325. Meanwhile, Adeli is without a Ferrari during the appeal.