Until recently, Ferrari dealers in South Florida and elsewhere were able to roll back the odometers of the fancy pre-owned cars they sold.
However, when the Miami Herald and other media organizations brought attention to it, the company discontinued the practice that could grossly inflate the value of used Ferraris, according to new documents filed in a Palm Beach County lawsuit.
In an internal Ferrari memo filed Feb. 8 in the lawsuit brought by a former showroom salesman-turned-whistleblower, Ferrari North America notifies dealers it will no longer provide access codes that for years allowed an app called DEIS tester to make miles driven vanish from dashboards of Spiders, Californias and 488 GTB’s.
“The odometer ‘reset to zero’ functionality is being removed,” the memo reads. It also announces the removal from its Ferrari Workshop Manuals of the paragraphs that taught techs how to roll back miles.
After spending 22 years selling Ferraris throughout South Florida, the whistleblower sued for libel Ferrari of Palm Beach and one of his clients.
The whistleblower claims he was fired after discovering odometers got rolled back and discussing it with his client, who allegedly then paid off a mechanic from the dealership to roll back his LaFerrari mileage.
The whistleblower explained in court paper the rollback — which had to be greenlit by Ferrari headquarters in Italy — instantly increased the resale value of his client’s $3 million-LaFerrari by $1 million, the lawsuit claims.
The whistleblower says he was fired by Ferrari of Palm Beach in January 2016 for “egregious violation of business ethics,” allegedly facilitating his client’s rollback.
What really happened, the whistleblower says in the suit, is that he was targeted after he loudly objected to the use of the rollback device.
The whistleblower was rehired in March 2016. Since then, however, he claims Ferrari of Palm Beach engaged in a pattern of retaliation, including his move to an office that’s harder to reach by customers.
Ferrari stands by claims they did nothing wrong or illegal.
Under state and federal law, employees who step forward to expose illegal activity on their employer’s part can recover financial damages if they find themselves being harassed, intimidated, or unlawfully terminated. Moreover, in qui tam cases, whistleblowers are eligible to receive a percentage of any money recovered by the government where their testimony and cooperation were pertinent to obtaining a conviction.