GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — “Red Rock Auto Group” has been driving in the fast lane for the last few years, buying up 5 major local dealerships since 2016, But a new state investigation could slow things down, after multiple customers, and some former employees, raised serious questions about their business practices. There are dozens of complaints online and with the Better Business Bureau on this issue, some so serious they’ve triggered a local and state investigation.
Tyler Slade of Red Rock Auto Group addressed those reviews, telling us. “We certainly never want bad reviews. We’re striving to be better and making sure that whether you buy or not from Red Rock auto group, you leave, at least with a good experience.”
But Red Rock Auto Group’s problems go beyond bad online reviews. We were told by a former Red Rock customer, Jesús Acevedo, that he bought a truck from Red Rock’s Hyundai dealership without a printed contract. When the bank printed it for him, Jesús found a 10-thousand dollar extended service agreement charge, that he says he knew nothing about. Jesús took a closer look at the document and found something even more disturbing. He told us, “somebody else forged my signature.” Jesús says Red rock Hyundai refused to address the issue at first, then gave him two choices: his down payment back or a newer truck, but only if he agreed to sign a curious liability waiver promising not to sue over his experience. Jesús told me he would have simply moved on, until close friends Michelle and Marcio Mondragon also ran into problems, this time with Red Rock’s Nissan dealership.
Local blogger and journalist Anne Landman started investigating after she helped Jesús and the Mondragon’s confront a Red Rock manager in person. She told KREX, “I brought up Jesús and the forgery on his contract and Collin Jones admitted he knew about that incident and he said he knew it was illegal.
KREX also talked to two confirmed former Red Rock employees who asked us not to use their names. In this statement to KREX, one wrote,
“During my employment with Red Rock Auto Group I witnessed sales managers and finance managers forging customers’ signatures on power of attorney forms, dealer bill of sale forms, title applications, Colorado certificate of title and loan documents. Many times, entire documents were missing from title paperwork.” They also said, “I was told by my direct supervisor that ‘every dealership does it and it’s no big deal’” The employee states they believe they were ultimately fired for refusing to go along with these practices. A second former employee, a salesman told KREX the practice was well known in the office.
We contacted Red Rock auto for their side of the story and spoke with platform managers Brian Knight and Brantley Reade and also with Tyler Slade who introduced himself as a minority investor and who we learned is also a general manager for one of parent company, Tim Dahle’s Utah dealerships. They told me they would not address specific customer complaints but insisted there is no systematic wrongdoing by Red Rock dealership or its parent company. Slade told us, “It is absolutely not a pattern. We pride ourselves on making sure that we have top-notch customer service.”
Instead, they claim Landman’s investigations are retaliation, because her stepson, who dealt in used trucks, couldn’t compete against Red Rock and went out of business. Landman’s stepson told KREX, it was the pandemic and a supply chain shortage of auto parts that shuttered his and some other local auto businesses. He claims Red Rock’s aggressive buying of local inventory was not a factor. Red Rock claims complaints brought to their attention are resolved including termination of employees if needed. And it should be noted Red Rock resolved the customer cases mentioned in this story. Slade told us, “We’re not interested in doing anything illegal. We’re not interested in trying to pull wool over any customer’s eyes. Our business model is about repeat business. It’s about referral business. And these shady practices are not acceptable and they don’t fit what we’re trying to do long-term, short-term, or any term
The Colorado Department of Revenue with assistance from the Grand Junction Police is now officially investigating Red Rock Auto Group. As for Jesús Acevedo, he has this advice, “If you go, just be careful and read everything you sign, you know, make sure.”
A second “Red Rock” customer sent KREX documents also alleging that their signature was forged. “Red Rock” tells KREX they are cooperating fully with the state’s investigation. They asked us to give the numbers of the two brand managers people can call about issues. So if you’ve had issues call:
For Red Rock GMC, Hyundai, or Honda: Bryan Knight — (801)-792-3711 – firstname.lastname@example.org
For Red Rock Nissan or Kia: Brantley – (801)-915-3711 – email@example.com