Category: Red Rock dealerships

Confessions of a former Red Rock dealership service department employee

A former employee of Red Rock Hyundai in Grand Junction who quit as an act of conscience last year previously gave an interview in which he told how Red Rock financing and insurance (F&I) employees had been fleecing people and submitting false information to financial institutions on the sales side. The same person also worked in the service department at Red Rock Hyundai, so I contacted him again to talk about how service is billed at these dealerships. The conversation ranged into a discussion of other service practices as well.

The former employee revealed some disturbing practices he’d witnessed in the service department at Red Rock Hyundai. These, combined with what he had seen happening on the sales side weighed heavily on his conscience and led up to his resignation. Some of what he said he had seen included:

  • Techs putting metal shavings into dollops of oil taken from cars, then showing customers the oil with the shavings in it to convince them their cars needed more work, up to and including a new engine.
  • Techs being told to drain the oil out of vehicles that were still under the manufacturer’s warranty, then drive the vehicles around without the oil in them, then bring them back and fill them back up with oil before returning them to the customer. The intent was to burn up the engine so the dealership would be able to put a new engine in under the manufacturer’s warranty, since they make more money when the manufacturer pays for repairs than when customers pay out of pocket for the same job.
  • Red Rock selling their own proprietary Portfolio-brand of extended warranties to customers buying brand new cars with manufacturer’s warranties on them. They did this doubling up of warranties because Red Rock owns the Portfolio extended warranty company, and if anything breaks down on the vehicle while it’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty, the manufacturer will have to pay for the repair, meaning Red Rock gets to pocket the thousands of extra dollars they charge customers for these additional, duplicative extended warranties.
  • The former Red Rock employee urged customers who take their cars for service at Red Rock to check on the prices they will be charged for parts, for example by calling Napa Auto Parts to compare prices, since Red Rock commonly overcharges for parts by a wide margin.

Following is the conversation I had with the former employee, who now works at a different new car dealership in town. His answers are denoted with the symbol ♣. The conversation was lightly edited to help readers who are a little less familiar with this subject matter better understand what was being discussed. I had contacted the employee and he had a short delay before he was able to call me back.


: Hey Anne, long time no talk, sorry about that.

A: Yeah, no problem, thanks for giving me a little time to explain this to me. [How service department billing works.]

: So, the way it works here at G.J. Subaru, or any manufacturer, like Ford, Dodge, Chrysler — all those manufacturers — when your car is brand new and you have your 3-year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty… Say the engine goes bad and it’s covered under warranty…Like all of these manufacturers set up a system [that] says, so, “due to 1,000 technicians doing this job, it takes an average of like 6.6 hours to do this engine,” so all the manufacturers set up their own [system] of what they’ll pay for a warranty repair. So there’s a website — that is the most common thing in automotive, it’s called AllData — in which you can look up labor times. Extended warranties have access to list prices of parts and labor, so I consider them like any other warranty. They’ll pay more than what manufacturer labor is, but you can’t just tell them on an extended warranty, like “Hey, I need 12 hour for this engine.” They can look it up and still see what labor times are suggested for that job. When it gets to customer(s) pay(ing), though, that’s when its tricky, because most people are, unfortunately, just like in the buying process, unaware. So when you bring your car in and drop it off, let’s say at Red Rock Hyundai, you bring in your Elantra and [the clock is] ticking. So they diagnose it. You pay for an hour of diagnosis. I don’t know what the labor rate now is. It was $160/hour when I left [Hyundai]. Then they’ll get an estimate. The Red Rock Auto Group Parts Matrix is ridiculous. They mark things so above cost that if you were to look it up… We had complaints from customers when I worked there all the time. They were like “Oh, I called Hyundai out of Denver and it was like $80 cheaper.” So Red Rock does not get a lot of wholesale business. They don’t have a lot of shops calling for their parts because they mark it up so high, even to local businesses. So a lot of the shops that I called around town — because when I was working there, they wanted me to try to gain that business back — and they were like “No, your markup is ridiculous.” So like [****] is the parts manager at Hyundai, she tells the other parts minions to get this matrix. She sets it up, and so they charge whatever, like if they spent $20 on a part at Napa, they’ll sell it for $120 and make $100.

Red Rock Hyundai, 2162 Highway 6 And 50, between Fruita and Grand Junction

A: Wow, that’s huge.

: Yup, and so…like…so yeah, that’s a big thing, and when it comes to customer pay, too, since the customer is paying out of pocket, if they want to get it fixed, and depending on the issue, they’re going to have to say “yes,” like if they come in and they need a new engine and the technician says “I want 15 hours of labor” and then the service writer quotes it. You know, there’s not a uniformity of how many hours this technician can quote. Two of the exact same cars [can] come in, and two different technicians can quote two different times, so, like the company can make more money off of one technician because he quoted three extra hours, when the other one quoted less, because he knows he can get it done.

A: That seems arbitrary. So it’s based on the technician’s skill and what they think it will take them, depending on their skill level?

: Yes, because obviously when you’re flat rate, they get paid [the] flat rate. So if they quote a job at 13 hours and they get it done in 5, they get paid for all 13 hours. But if they quote a job for 5 and it takes them 13, then they lose 8 hours of pay, if that makes sense.

A. I see, so like [the repair techs are] kind of like in business for themselves that way.

: Yes, exactly. And so, getting paid for diagnosis is always a big thing, and that’s pretty uniform at any shop in town. Depending on the technician, there’s definitely a lot of dishonest mechanics that will add a bunch of hours onto jobs, just, you know, as long as they can get away with it.

A: And diagnosis was charged at a flat rate per hour, like $160, when you left?

: Yup, yup.

A: And this grid system [for labor billing] that came and went after a few years, was in vogue for a while and is not used any more?

: When I was a mechanic at Berthod Motors in Glenwood, we never used it. I’ve heard about that system from older mechanics, who were like my mentors. Like, they talked about grid mechanics for labor rates and stuff like that, but I’ve never seen a shop do that. But I do know that when I took my ex-wife’s Hyundai Sonata in there [to Red Rock Hyundai], the new service manager that actually came from sales, his name was Jeremy, he’s a great guy, he told me that they’re hurting badly. Like this was a couple of months ago, they lost a million dollars. Like they went from selling 150 cars a month down to barely selling 50. I don’t know if it’s better now or not, that was a few months ago. That same month one year prior they sold 190 cars, and they only sold 50 that month at the Hyundai dealership. I don’t know [if that’s the case at] all the other stores], but that store is now hemorrhaging money.

A: I bet the most recent article in the newspaper didn’t help that, either.

: Yeah, of course not. Now that [Red Rock employees] are getting arrested everything is coming to light. ….I know everything is busy and Hyundai’s been trying to get me to go back and I’m like “Yeah, no, I’m not going back there. No thank you, I’ll stay here with Subaru, thank you very much.”

A: How did they contact you?

: They call me. Jeremy is one of my close friends. He’s one of the honest salespeople over there and he’s a good guy, and he didn’t know about the things that were going on…Well, they were hurting for a service manager because they demoted the one, and they moved [him] down to GMC. They hired another guy, [and then] they fired HIM because HE was doing shady stuff, and they got caught. Like, it’s just like your articles say. They don’t fire people for doing the shady stuff, they fire the people for getting caught for doing the shady stuff. And so they fired him, and this was after all the managers left [Red Rock] and went to Grand Valley [Auto]. So now that service manager works at Grand Valley as the service manager. Like, it’s just, I don’t even know, it’s getting bad all over.

A: So they [Red Rock] have not become more honest, they’re just burying the misdeeds?

: I think now that people are getting arrested, I definitely think they’d try to be more honest. Like they stopped doing the markups, because they were lying about markups.

A: Do you think [former state auto industry investigator who was hired by Red Rock as a “compliance officer”] Dale Sundeen is making any difference?

: No. I think that Dale Sundeen was a press stunt. I think they offered him a nice cozy salary, like a six figure-plus salary, to keep him quiet.

A: I think that was probably the intent as well.

: My thought process is, because [Sundeen] was probably tired of hearing about all these [Red Rock] dealerships and having to come down and investigate every one of them, especially at Hyundai. I had seem him like five times in three months for different people. I think that he got tired of it, and took the bribe. I think that Bryan Knight offered him … like the Dahles offered him, a significant salary for a do-nothing job. And he was close to retiring anyway. That’s my honest opinion.

A: So what’s happening over at your dealership (Subaru)? Have you seen an uptick in business because of all this?

M: Oh yeah, oh yeah. We’ve seen a ton of people come in with cars they’ve bought from [Red Rock]. We’ve been helping a lot of people out in the community that have bought lemons from them that we fix. Like, we had a Subaru come in last week that they bought from Red Rock Nissan and they [Red Rock] had put thicker oil in it to mask an engine issue, and we called Subaru and Subaru is paying for 3/4 of the engine, and we’re eating the other 1/4 of it because we know of all the stuff that’s been going on.

A: So [Red Rock Nissan] put in oil that was too thick, and it damaged the engine?

: No, no, they put thicker oil in it because it had engine noise, and when you put thicker oil in it, it quiets down the engine noise.

A: Oh, like a rattle…

: Yeah.

A: And so, it was going to need a new engine anyway, and they just thought they would quiet it down for a while, to like put in a patch and not fix the problem?

: Yes.

A: I see. I actually heard of that from another person who worked in service, her name was *****. Have you heard of her?

The business listing for Red Rock Auto Group with the Colorado Secretary of State shows it is registered as a “foreign corporation,” which means it was formed outside the state for purposes of operating in Colorado. Registered agent is listed as Steven T. Dahle, son of Tim Dahle.

: Yes, I used to work with her, too, yup.

A: [She] told me they did that. She told me a couple came in with a newborn baby, and the service people were told to put thicker oil in [the car the couple wanted to test drive] for the purpose of selling it, for the same reason, to quiet an engine rattle, and she said she was offended by that idea. So they’re still doing that kind of thing, then?

: Oh, well yeah, they’re like… I know Nissan maybe stopped doing it, but they have like a thing of metal shavings that they would put in customers’ oil to make them feel like they were in need of an engine, that they could submit to their extended warranty, so they could make money off it it…

A: Wait a minute, wait a minute…go back. They were intentionally putting metal shavings into oil?

: Like not in the oil, but when they were draining the oil [out] for an oil change, they would take some of [the oil they had taken out] and put metal shavings in there, yeah.

A: Oh, to show it to the customer and say “Look what I found in your oil! Metal shavings! So you’re going to need something else…,” right?

: Right.

A: And then, what do they try to sell [the customers] because of that? Like, a whole engine?

: Yeah, a whole engine, yeah.

A: Seriously?

: Yeah. And they got away with it. They definitely got away with it. And that was part of the reason why I quit, because they wanted me to do, like, they wanted me to do stuff like that, like they wanted me to drain the oil out of cars, and have me drive the cars around so Hyundai of America would pay for it.

A: Like, to burn it up?

: Yeah, to burn it up. And then fill it back up with oil, because, like Hyundais are trash cars. Like every Hyundai in existence has an engine recall on that thing, so, yeah, they would do that so that Hyundai would pay for a new engine, because they make more money on parts from manufacturer-pay than from customer-pay. So it depends. You know, I’m not the warranty administrator, so I don’t know all the information on how they negotiate that, but like, for example, Hyundai, like Subaru, pays more if a transmission goes bad [than if a customer pays out of pocket]. Like the cost of a transmission for you, if you had a Subaru, it would be $6,000. Well, [the] Subaru [Corporation] pays a dealer $8,500 [to repair] that [same] transmission, and I don’t know if it’s just because…again, I’m not the warranty administrator or anything else, so I don’t know how all the negotiation works, or how they do it. But yes, [the dealer] makes more money from the manufacturers paying for the repair than from you, as a cash-paying customer.

A: So they would ruin the engine of a customer’s car that’s still under [the manufacturer’s] warranty, so they could get a repair that will pay them more money?

: Yup.

A: And this was at Nissan?

: No, Hyundai. And they would screw the customer over [by doing this] because we didn’t have a lot of loaner cars, so they would be on their own.

A: Oh, this is so terrible.

: Yeah, like I said, all of the Red Rock dealerships do that stuff. And they definitely promote adding extra labor hours, like you know what I mean, like, they’re all about adding services.

A: Well, thank you for telling me about that. It really just hurts to hear of that kind of stuff is being done to people.

: Yup. Oh yeah. And I could go on and on. I could tell tell you hours of stuff that’s being done to people, and again, that’s why I left. That’s why I didn’t put my two weeks in, that’s why I just up and quit. That’s why I gave my key to Jesse when he was manager and I just said “Look, I can’t do this any more. My conscience is just too good to continue doing this, so you need to find another person.”

A: Was that Jesse Kirstatter?

: Yup. He’s now the GM [General Manager] over at Grand Valley [Auto Sales].

A. Interesting. I had another former employee of Tim Dahle contact me and say he’d like to talk to me. His name is Brad Gillespie. Have you ever heard of him?

: Yeah, I’ve actually met him twice. He probably doesn’t remember me, but yeah, I met him twice. He’s a good dude. And that’s what they do to people there. Like honest people like us, they’re trying to make a good living from writing service, because I mean being a service writer is very profitable, as long as you’re honest with your customers, you know what I mean?

Tim Dahle, owner of Tim Dahle dealerships in Utah, the same corporation that also owns Red Rock dealerships in Grand Junction

A: Yeah.

: And they, like Tim Dahle, with all of their sales practices, their shady practices start at the top and go all the way down to the bottom, sales, service, parts, all of it. Like, please warn people to check their parts pricing and call other dealerships if it seems like you’re getting ripped off, ‘cause they probably are. I know they are, actually.

A: Okay, I see. This seems to be isolated to Tim Dahle and their associated dealerships, I mean the Tim Dahle and Red Rock chains, since they are like sister corporations. It’s almost like they evolved in a different ecosystem than other dealerships.

: I’ve met a couple of the Dahles once, I think. And I have learned, it’s like that typical saying, “Once you make money, you figure out how to keep making money, and you’ll do whatever you can to make money.” I think that’s why they started Portfolio. Because they literally, when they do Portfolio claims, they’re not losing any money. It’s not money laundering, because you’re still getting a service, but it’s almost like money laundering because they sell all these Portfolio contracts and they pay out very little, so they get to keep the money not used on these contracts, and so then whatever they sell …so yes… they’re making money at the back end of the dealership because they still get their money from the parts and service sold. So it’s like a big circle of money moving around, so essentially they’re not losing money because they make money off the [extended warranty] contracts and finance, they’re making money [when] they sell those longer [extended warranty] contracts on cars, like Hyundais come with a ten year, 100,000 mile warranty on the power train, so then they’ll sell you a Portfolio 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain [warranty]. They did that to me and my ex-wife. And so I’m still fighting them over that…

A: So these two warrantees [the manufacturer’s warranty and the Portfolio Extended Warrantees], they run concurrently?

: Yup. And yeah, that’s how it works. So like, for example Hyundais have the longest warranty, so instead of 3 years and 36,000 miles, they have 5 years and 60,000 miles. So they day you buy the car, the [Portfolio extended warranty they sell you] probably takes about 2 weeks to show up in Portfolio’s system, and the [two warranties] run concurrently. So [if a repair is needed], Portfolio will tell you “No, we’re not going to pay for that because it should be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty,” so then [Red Rock] gets out of paying for stuff. So then when the [manufacturer’s] warranty is up, that $5,000 or whatever that they charged [the customer] for their extended warranty, they’ve lost none of that money because the manufacturer ate all the cost of the repairs. So then Red Rock has

Local TV ad by Red Rock Auto

profited from all of that $5,000. That was all profit.

A: And so they try to sell these Portfolio warranties on all of the lower-mileage used cars, too, right?

: Yup, yup.

A: And if it’s a higher mileage car, they’ll sell [the customer] one of the other [brands of] extended warranties, like Endurance?

: Yes, they’ll sell Endurance or [another one] at an extremely extravagant rate, and they’ll sell very limited coverage. So they’ll sell you Portfolio coverage that only covers power train and so, they’re banking on, you know, if it has 50,000 miles on it, they’re banking on that in 7 years or 90,000 miles that the engine doesn’t blow up or the tranny doesn’t blow up, so like, it’s all calculated risk.

A: So there was another guy [I talked to] who worked in Finance & Insurance [at Red Rock] who was selling other brands of warranties that he thought were better, and he said [the platform manager] Brantley Reade threatened him with his job for that. He said Brantley told him something like, “Do you know why we sell Portfolio warranties?” and the guy says back “Because we are a reinsurer of them?” And Brantley says, “It’s not just that. It’s because that’s where we make all the money to keep the lights on and buy all these new dealerships, that’s where we make all our money.”

: Well yes, exactly. Like I said, if they sell a Portfolio warranty, the Dahle’s are not losing money in any aspect, because even if for example, if you break down like, 50 miles from your purchasing dealership, it’s in the contract that you HAVE to go to your purchasing dealership if you break down within 50 miles. Like I said, the Dahles have been in this industry for so long that they know what they’re doing. I think the whole finance thing — I don’t know if the Dahles are necessarily involved in telling, or training their finance [employees] to screw people over. I’ve never met them on that personal of a level. But I definitely know that general managers, and all of these general managers from Utah and everything else, like, they definitely have a certain style of living, and they will do whatever it takes to get that style of living. Because like, when I read your article about Tiffany [Miller, the former Red Rock Finance Manager who was arrested in August for forgery, criminal impersonation and Identity theft], like Tiffany was one of the worst finance managers. Like she did so much illegal stuff it was ridiculous. Like, all of these finance managers that have been leaving the company, like I said, I hope they go after Tony [Calvillo], because they made Tony… like I guess they told Tony to do stuff, but at the same time, like Tony actively made that decision, like to have Kaete [forge a signature] for a $10,000 [extended] warranty on [Jesus Acevedo’s] truck, like, they’re actively making that decision. Because the Dahles strangle…like again, I was never a finance person, but, like the finance people were struggling to make money. The Dahles definitely run their dealerships in a way that is not conducive to their finance people making a lot of money. They should be making just as much or more than the salespeople, essentially, but they don’t.

A: I hear in Houston the commissions are like twice what Red Rock pays.

: Oh, oh, oh yeah, even like here at Subaru even our salespeople, there’s a guy, his name is *****, he’s the top salesman here, and he made $400,000/year, like he’s averaged about $400,000/year selling cars here. The finance guy, like I think he told me he made like $230,000, and all of our stuff is honest. We sell Subaru extended warranties, like Gold Plans and whatever else, that will cover other vehicles. Like, we’re selling legitimately good stuff here.

A: Wow, that is a lot of money.

: Yes, yes, and there’s a lot of opportunity. Like we used to be independently owned, but Sonic Automotive bought us out, but even working for a corporation, like this corporation has so much integrity, like they already have cameras in financial managers’ offices, you know what I mean? And you have to go through a whole four week program to become and [finance and insurance] officer for one of their dealerships. Like they do so much.

A: Sounds like they’re pretty professional and by the book.

: Yes, and it’s been nice to work for that, instead of for Red Rock.

Second Red Rock Auto financial manager charged with crimes against customers

Daily Sentinel headline, August 29

A second former Red Rock GMC financial manager has been charged with forgery, criminal impersonation and identity theft within the last month after posing as a customer on a phone call to the Canvas Credit Union to try to expedite a customer’s vehicle loan.

Matthew Morris acted as an accomplice to Tiffany Miller, the first Red Rock GMC financial manager charged with the same crimes in early August. Both Morris and Miller were fired from Red Rock, but in her arrest affidavit Miller pointed to Red Rock management as pressuring her to commit the crimes. In the same affidavit (pdf), Morris said that Red Rock GMC Sales Manager Tyson Chambers and General Manager Caleb Stillman both knew he and Miller were making the fake calls to

Tyson Chambers, General Manager of Red Rock GMC

the lender and that they “and essentially encouraged the behavior.” Morris added that “he was terminated [from his job] not for making the call, but for being caught.”

Red Rock promotes its reviews on TV, but wait…

Screen shot of a Red Rock TV ad

The Red Rock Auto Group, which owns five dealerships in Grand Junction, has been advertising heavily on local news with ads that tout what they say are their many positive reviews.

We’ve already seen evidence, however, that indicates  Red Rock manipulates online reviews by coercing its employees to write positive reviews (a violation Google policy) and by purchasing good reviews from customers by offering them perks like free gas and oil changes in exchange for positive online reviews.

But we shouldn’t forget the slew of gritty and honest negative reviews that show the real difficulty Red Rock has caused so many customers, and the responses or lack thereof to such reviews from “the owner.”

Not a Red Rock dealership in sight in the Daily Sentinel’s “Best of the West” 2023 contest results

The Daily Sentinel published the results of their annual “Best in the West” contest in today’s newspaper, and in a good sign for town, there wasn’t a Red Rock dealership is sight for the best of anything having to do with vehicles, showing local people are learning about or have personally experienced, the hazards of doing business at these dealerships.

What we learned from former Red Rock GMC financial manager Tiffany Miller’s arrest affidavit

Mug shot of Tiffany Momilani Miller, a former Red Rock GMC financial manager who was arrested earlier this month on charges of forgery, criminal impersonation and identity theft. (Photo: Daily Sentinel/GJPD)

Former Red Rock GMC financial manager Tiffany M. Miller was arrested earlier this month and charged with forgery, identity theft and criminal impersonation.

AnneLandmanBlog obtained a copy of the full August 2 arrest affidavit (pdf) for Miller.

The biggest takeaways from it are summarized below:

  • A couple was trying to buy a vehicle from Red Rock GMC at 741 N. First Street, and applied for a loan through the dealership. After they left with the vehicle, two Red Rock financial managers, Tiffany Miller and Matthew Morris, phoned the customers’ lender and posed as the couple, in a claimed effort “to verify the information on the auto [credit] application,” and “expedite the loan process.”
  • In addition to posing as the customers, Miller falsified information on the customers’ credit application, including who the primary driver of the vehicle would be, and the length of time the couple had lived at their residence, and she falsely stated the car had extra accessories it didn’t actually have, including running boards, rear bucket seats, a rear entertainment system and blind spot monitors. The customers told GJPD investigators the car they were purchasing had none of these features. These items would have increased the value of the vehicle to the lender. (Note: This is a practice that, according to a former Red Rock finance employee is called “Power Booking,” that is aimed at increasing the value of the car to the lender to get the customer a bigger loan.)
  • The Grand Junction Police Department (GJPD) first sent the case to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division (AID), the enforcement agency for dealerships. Months later, the AID sent it back to the GJPD because “the allegations are for felony criminal activity.”
  • Red Rock GMC General Manager Tyson Chambers said Red Rock GMC got “locked out” of Canvas Credit Union via their online lending platform, Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL), because of the “victim complaint and the potential forgery on the loan application.”

    Tyson Chambers, General Manager of Red Rock GMC, who, according to Miller’s arrest affidavit, pressured Red Rock Human Resources Manager Amy Felix to lie on a form about why Tiffany Miller had left Red Rock. Felix told a police investigator Tyson had ordered her to lie on the form because he “didn’t want to ruin [Tiffany Miller’s] life.”

  • Tyson Chambers fired both Tiffany Miller and Matthew Morris, the two GMC financial managers who posed as customers on the phone call to the lender. Morris later told the GJPD criminal investigator that he was told that making calls posing as customers was “just part of the business and everyone knows they do it, to include the banks.”

A former Red Rock sales & finance employee tells how employees are treated, and how it affects customers

We’ve already seen that Red Rock auto dealerships in Grand Junction have drawn more than 15 times the complaints to the Auto Industry Division of other new car dealerships in town over the last two years, and that they used illicit sales tactics that sent many hard-working customers into desperate downward financial spirals. The Better Business Bureau slapped red alerts on several Red Rock dealerships due to “a pattern of complaints” about their contracts, service departments, and customer service.

By comparison, non-Red Rock new car dealerships in G.J., like Western Slope Auto, Bozarth Chevrolet, Grand Junction Subaru & Volkswagen, and Grand Junction Chrysler Jeep Dodge logged no customer complaints within the same time frame. This begs the question of why is there such a big difference between how Red Rock has operated, and how these other dealerships operate?

Red Rock dealership customers still finding surprise additional charges and claimed forgeries on their documents

Think Trouble: Red Rock’s proprietary USB key-style thumb drive that they use to hand people their documents

Since Red Rock dealerships’ shady sales tactics were first exposed in this blog, people have been digging out documents from their vehicle purchases at Red Rock, examining them and continuing to discover expensive extras added to their contracts that they didn’t know about and signatures on them that people say are not theirs.

One of these people is Natasha Bury-Wilder, a hard-working single mother of three employed in home care, who says she got taken twice by Red Rock Nissan and ended up in a deep financial hole as a result.

Harry Faulkner’s Red Rock nightmare

Red Rock Hyundai, 2162 Highway 6 And 50, between Fruita and Grand Junction

UPDATE, Monday, August 7: Red Rock Hyundai fixed the cracked windshield and Harry finally took possession of his 2023 Kona, but it had a dent in the fender that occurred either when they were fixing the windshield or applying the clear bra/window tint. Harry also discovered today that there is an urgent recall on his vehicle over a faulty oil pump that can cause fires. Owners of 2023 Konas are being advised to park their vehicles away from structures due to the fire hazard. The NHTSA says there is currently no repair available for the faulty part. 

UPDATE: June 24, 2023 – Harry left the new, red Kona in the care of the dealership so they could have a clear bra and window tint added to it, and Harry reported on June 24, 2023 that Red Rock Hyundai had called him to tell him there was a crack in the windshield of his new car that they believe is a manufacturer defect. The car is currently awaiting a new windshield.

At age 53, Harry Faulkner of Rifle thought he was finally doing well enough financially that he could afford a brand new car, the first one in his life. So in October, 2021, he went to Red Rock Hyundai in Grand Junction and proudly bought a brand new 2022 Hyundai Venue.

That began an extended nightmare that took a year and eight months to resolve.

His story would have been comical in a Keystone Cops kind of way, if it hadn’t been so stressful, expensive and frustrating for Harry.

Vehicle Buyers Beware: Many former Red Rock employees have moved over to Grand Valley Auto, and are plying their trade there

AnneLandmanBlog has received credible information that a large number of former Red Rock employees have moved over to Grand Valley Auto, where they are continuing to use the same tricks they learned at Red Rock.

Evidence indicates Red Rock dealerships bribed customers for positive manufacturer surveys

We’ve already seen the evidence showing Red Rock dealerships worked to slant reviews in their favor on public-facing consumer review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp. A different facet of this deceptive behavior is how the dealerships treat vehicle manufacturers’ customer satisfaction surveys.

Members of the public use Google, Yelp,, DealerRater and other review sites to help them decide who to patronize, so stacking reviews on these sites misleads the public. But auto manufacturers have their own proprietary, internal customer satisfaction surveys that they use to determine how well or poorly customers are being treated at their dealerships, and where their dealerships need improvement.

Vehicle makers expect honest responses to these surveys so they can improve their customers’ experiences, so submitting falsified answers to the car companies’ customer satisfaction surveys defrauds the vehicle manufacturers.

Two former Red Rock employees report that “bribing” and “harassing” customers to leave positive manufacturer surveys was routine at these dealerships while they worked there.

One former Red Rock service employee wrote in a text,

Red Rock gets over 15x the complaints of other major G.J. auto dealers, but only slaps on the wrist by the state Auto Industry Division

An open records request to the Colorado Department of Revenue Auto Industry Division (AID) seeking all complaints submitted about the major Grand Junction auto dealerships over the last two years showed no complaints were submitted against Western Slope Auto, which sells Ford, Lincoln & Toyota, no complaints were submitted against Ed Bozarth Chevrolet & Buick, no complaints were submitted against Grand Junction Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, and no complaints were submitted against Jim Fuoco Motors or Fuoco Honda in 2021, before it was sold to Red Rock Auto Group in April of 2022, but within the last two years at least 15 complaints were submitted about Red Rock Auto Group’s stores. There were at least two more complaints beyond the 15 documented ones the Auto Industry Division sent that were submitted against Red Rock, but one of them was still undergoing investigation and they could not release information on it, and the other was dismissed after the complainant chose not to pursue it further. Another complaint against Red Rock was submitted to the Colorado State Attorney General, who is investigating it. This makes a total of 18 known complaints lodged against Red Rock Auto Group stores in Grand Junction in the last 2 years.

Better Business Bureau puts red alert notice on Red Rock dealerships

These days, if you visit the Better Business Bureau web pages for Red Rock Hyundai, Nissan and Kia, you’ll see a red warning at the top of the page like this:

BBB has “conducted a file review and found that this company has a pattern of complaints alleging contract issues and customer service issues. Specifically, consumers have alleged contract issues with requests to remove items from their contract. Issues with receiving inconsistent information for vehicle repairs. And receiving delayed responses for assistance and complaints.”

First hint of accountability for Red Rock

A copy of a letter sent to Red Rock Nissan by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division. This copy of the letter came to Michelle Mondragon, whom Red Rock Nissan initially charged over $15k above the price they advertised for her truck. The Mondragons filed a complaint with the Auto Industry Division against Red Rock last October. The letter warns Red Rock that their dealer’s license could be in jeopardy.

Michelle Mondragon, whose hair-raising story about buying a vehicle from Red Rock Nissan last year was featured in this blog November 1, 2022, received the above letter from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division last week indicating they have finally taken some action against the dealership, albeit a very weak action.

The letter warns Red Rock they “may have” violated several laws and regulations in the Mondragons’ case regarding deceptive advertising and sales of vehicles, and says “No action will be taken against your dealer’s license at this time. However, any further violations may be referred to the Motor Vehicle Dealer board,” and “your dealer’s license may be subject to disciplinary action that could include fines, suspension or revocation of your license. It is imperative that you take measures to correct the matters within your organization.”

This is likely just the beginning.

The Mondragons submitted their complaint against Red Rock last October. Since then, many more Red Rock customers have submitted complaints about how Red Rock defrauded them.

If you review paperwork from your deal at Red Rock and find irregularities like forged signatures, charges for items you never agreed to like extended warranties, special coatings or detail packages, or if you check with your lender and find Red Rock lied to them about your gross income, monthly rent or mortgage payment or the features of the vehicle you were buying, file a complaint with the Auto Industry Division at this link.  Be prepared to upload images of your paperwork to substantiate what you found that was fraudulent.



Criminal investigator who was investigating Red Rock quits & goes to work for Red Rock

Dale Sundeen (Photo: Auto News)

Dale Sundeen, the Colorado Department of Revenue Auto Industry Division’s criminal investigator who was investigating Grand Junction’s Red Rock dealerships, quit his job with the state and went to work for Red Rock Auto Group as their “Corporate Director of Compliance.”

Second criminal investigator brought in to help with Red Rock investigations

AID Investigator John Bulman (Photo: Golden Police Dept)

The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division (AID) has assigned a second criminal investigator to help the with the Red Rock dealership cases.

The first investigator looking into Red Rock is Dale Sundeen, who’s been with the Colorado Department of Revenue since 2008 and has been the agency’s western slope investigator for over ten years.

The additional investigator is John Bulman, who joined the Auto Industry Division in 2022 (pdf) after working for the Golden Police Department, where he was awarded Golden Police Officer of the Year in 2020.