As a present for retiring from a long career of military service, Lt. Col. Joe Pagnotta bought himself a Ferrari F430 F1 from a luxury car dealership in Munich and decided to have it imported here. But when the car arrived in the U.S., it was seized at a port by customs officials. Here's why.
English-language German newspaper The Local reports that Pagnotta says the dealership sold him a Ferrari that was not up to U.S. specification like they claimed, but was rather certified for sale in Latin America instead. The car cannot be driven in the United States.
Not surprisingly, the dealership hasn't been helpful, according to the newspaper:
Joe, 49, told The Local: "US Customs performed the normal entry investigation on the car and its paperwork and found out that the dealership had sold me a non-American specification car.
"I immediately contacted the dealership to ask for help, their answer to me was, 'we have 100 percent of your euro, you are now in America, the car is in America, there is an unfortunate typo on your title paperwork, too bad'.
"The dealership has since told me not to call them, email them, or return the car to them. My German soldier friends went to talk to the dealership to find a resolution on my behalf and they sent them away."
Pagnotta has spent thousands of dollars flying back to Germany to sort out the issue, and he was also fined by U.S. Customs officials for illegally importing a vehicle. He's looking into his legal options, and now claims he was the victim of a scam.
Emails sent to the newspaper showed the dealership — which, for some reason, they did not name — was originally built for the U.S. market.
The Ferrari cost Pagnotta about 88,000 Euro, or $120,000, which he is now out because the car is being deported back to Germany where he will have to sell it privately or trade it for another vehicle. This really sucks.
Hat tip to Richard!