Jury To Dealership In Used Car Fraud Suit: Pay $5.8 Million

Photo: Martial Trezzini (AP/Keystone)

A Mercedes-Benz dealership in Northwest Arkansas has been ordered to pay Virginian Ferrari buyer Hamid Adeli $5 million due to selling him a car they’d claimed passed their pre-sale inspection, only to find out that it was plagued with a slew of ”undisclosed issues.” Yikes.

That’s a hell of a lot of money, and this case has been plagued with plenty of scandal from start to finish. In 2016, Adeli purchased a used 2007 Ferrari F430 for $90,000, >Automotive News reports. The deal was conducted without Adeli actually visiting the dealership. Everything was done via phone call, text message, or video chats with the dealership. After clearing an inspection at a Ferrari dealership in Texas, the Northwest Arkansas based dealership shipped the car to another dealership closer to Adeli.

Almost as soon as he started his drive home, Adeli reported smelling gas—a smell that grew worse as the car sat in his garage overnight. He had it towed to Competizione Sports Cars of Maryland to be inspected a second time by a local Ferrari mechanic. The diagnosis? A leaky fuel pump, suspension problems, and a cracked manifold. Those “undisclosed issues” mentioned earlier.

The owners of that Mercedes-Benz dealership in Arkansas, Superior Automotive Group, refused to compensate Adeli for those issues. According to Superior, they’d done nothing wrong. Adeli agreed to buy the car as-is, and the car cleared their pre-sale inspection. Beyond that point, it was in Adeli’s hands. Adeli felt that he should have been told about every possible issue with the car.

So, Adeli did the only thing he could do. He sued them for a breach of warranty, fraud, and deceptive trade practices. And the jury ruled in his favor.

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Apparently, that Texas inspection did turn something up. The main point of contention in the suit focused on exhaust manifold issues that had been noted but not worked on. Mercedes-Benz of Northwest Arkansas argued that they’d noted it as a potential future issue, but nothing warranting immediate attention.

Adeli won the case and received $6,835 in compensatory damages, $13,366 in incidental damages and $5.8 million in punitive damages. That seems like a hell of a lot of money, even if they did knowingly sell Adeli a messed up car.

Unsurprisingly, the dealership had some qualms with that. They argued that the verdict was “out of touch with precedent and constitutional law.” They’re still hoping to get the full settlement reduced to $27,340, but their appeal has yet to be heard.

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