Evidence shows Red Rock manipulating online reviews

Red Rock GMC on First Street

Former Red Rock dealership employees have told AnneLandmanBlog that the dealerships coerce both employees and customers to leave positive reviews online, and a customer said the Red Rock dealership she patronized several years ago had paid her a substantial sum to take a bad review of them off her Facebook page.

These manipulations of online reviews were discovered around the same time Red Rock introduced a new “Forever Promise” on their websites, in which the company promises to “earn your trust” and “be transparent.”

A reader supplied AnneLandmanBlog with screenshots of a 2019 Facebook Messenger conversation in which she told another person that Red Rock had paid her $2,500 to remove a Facebook post describing a bad experience with a Red Rock dealership:

Screen-shot of a 2019 Facebook Messenger conversation that reveals Red Rock had paid this person $2,500 to take a negative review off her Facebook page.

The person had bought an extended warranty and GAP insurance from Red Rock during a vehicle purchase in 2019, but when their truck was totaled and they tried to use the GAP insurance, they discovered Red Rock had taken their money for a GAP policy, but never bought them the policy. She could not get anyone at the dealership to respond to them about the problem, so out of frustration she complained about the situation on her Facebook page. That negative post drew a response from Tyson Chambers, General Manager of Red Rock GMC, who then finally paid attention to their problem.

Another former Red Rock employee who had worked in sales told AnneLandmanBlog,

“All those positive reviews are given for gas!”

and,

“They tell you ‘Leave me a good review, then I’ll fill up the tank of your car.'” 

Red Rock employees found to be writing positive reviews of Red Rock:

AnneLandmanBlog also found Red Rock employees have written positive reviews of their employer on Google Reviews in violation of Google policy. Employees stacking their employers’ site with good reviews is a conflict of interest that Google prohibits it since it unfairly biases reviews.

In a comment on this blog, a reader flagged that s/he had noticed several positive reviews had been written by Red Rock employees:

 

A comment by someone who had patronized Red Rock and recognized the names of several employees he’d dealt with who had left positive reviews on review sites

UPDATE 2/7/23: The person who left the comment above has verified having actually seen the comment, clarified the time frame in which the comment was seen, and stated that it has since been removed.

Inexplicably, under many 1-star reviews of Red Rock Hyundai, someone at the dealership consistently responded by writing “Thank you, [customer name], for your 5-star review!”

While we couldn’t find the review this person mentioned, were able to verify that Justin Gedstad was in fact a Red Rock employee who goes by the name of “swoll_viking” on Instagram:

Justin Gedstad, seen here wearing a Red Rock-logo shirt, goes by the name “Swoll_Viking” on Instagram.

 

Red Rock employee Justin Gedstad (“swoll_viking” on Instagram)

 

We found another Red Rock GMC employee who had posted a positive review of his employer:

Jacob Shouse is the floor manager at Red Rock GMC

 

Jacob Shouse, the Floor Manager of Red Rock GMC wrote a positive Google review of Red Rock GMC without revealing that he is an employee. The dealership owner even thanked him for the review, even though Google prohibits employees from reviewing their employer’s business, since it unfairly biases reviews.

 

“Tiff Willis” is another Red Rock employee who left a positive Google Review praising Red Rock GMC’s service department:

Review praising Red Rock GMC left by “Tiff Willis,” an employee of Red Rock GMC. The owner thanked her for the review. Neither of them revealed she was an employee of Red Rock.

Tiffany “Tiff” Willis is a Red Rock GMC finance manager:

“Tiff Willis” is Tiffany Willis, a finance manager at Red Rock GMC. Her review violates Google’s conflict of interest rules prohibiting employees from reviewing their employer’s business.

 

According to former service department employees, an aggressive push to generate good reviews also permeates Red Rock’s service departments. A former Red Rock service department employee who contacted AnneLandmanBlog said:

“We would call customers and give them cheat sheets for perfect scores on surveys.. [W]e would give them free oil changes or free tanks of gas for 1000 scores. We would even fill out the surveys for them. I’d have to stay late when I was at Nissan to call these customers. We would literally harass them.”

Google policy prohibits employees from reviewing their employers since it is a clear conflict of interest.

Businesses can be banned from Google’s services for having their employees stack listings with positive reviews:

Google can ban businesses from using their services for artificially padding reviews because it violates Google’s conflict of interest policy.

Yelp and other review sites have similar conflict policies. If you see a review that violates a site’s policies, the site usually provides a way to flag it so site operators can scrutinize it and remove it.

  7 comments for “Evidence shows Red Rock manipulating online reviews

  1. I actually service my vehicle at Red Rock GMC. They took great care of my Terrain and had it ready by the time I was off to lunch. I have nothing but great things to say about them and left an honest review after the work was completed. We are separate buildings, departments, management and crew. I have my choice of any dealership in town to spend my time and money (yes I am a paying customer just like anyone else) and I choose to service here.

    I’m disappointed to see my image used in this way as I am a person who takes great care to be honest and upstanding to the community we serve. Looking forward to more positive times and talk as we continue to serve our community in any way we can. God bless everyone and I hope the Spring brings peace and joy!

    • Tiffany, you have completely missed the point. It doesn’t matter if you service your vehicle there or not. Posting a review of your employer violates Google Reviews’ conflict of interest policy, which says you can’t post a review of a company that you own or WORK FOR. Yelp, BBB, Cars.com and other sites have similar policies. The reason this is a conflict of interest is because it allows companies to manipulate reviews in their favor, and the bigger the company & the more employees they have do this, the bigger the unfair bias it creates in the reviews for consumers who rely on honest reviews to make decisions. If you really do “take great care to be honest and upstanding to the community,” you would voluntarily remove your review, and so should every employee of Red Rock.

  2. The comment has since been deleted, but it was up on the date I left my negative review of Kia in 2022. Justin was not seen there in November of 2022. That was when I found your page, so that is when I left the comment. I saw him at the dealership before my car had even arrived in 2021 – he was on the lot with a short woman when my family member and I were looking for cars for them.

    • Thank you for clarifying the dates involved in this, Anonymous, and verifying that you actually saw the review and it has since been removed. If Justin posted a written review of his employer at any time, though, it violated Google’s conflict-of-interest policies.

  3. Boy, they just can’t win for losing…at every turn!
    Con artists. And they have been doing it so long that they think it is ok.

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