DENVER — Since January, Denver7 has received 30 separate complaints from customers of The Sharpest Rides used car dealership in Englewood, claiming the vehicles purchased from them developed major issues only hours or days after purchase.
Some customers accused the dealership of knowingly selling cars with problems.
‘Never had a car blow up on me’
“It made a loud noise and shut down in the middle of the road,” Jennifer Lechuga said, telling the story of what happened to her daughter behind the wheel of the Hyundai she bought from The Sharpest Rides.
Lechuga bought the car, a Hyundai Veloster, on Aug. 25. Less than a month later, she says the car broke down while her daughter was driving on Quebec Street. Lechuga's mechanic at Hyundai confirmed to Denver7 the engine seized.
“Thank goodness that it happened on a slow, on Quebec and not on a busy highway because my daughter wouldn’t be here,” she said.
She brought her concerns to an employee at The Sharpest Ride, asking for her money back.
“He came to me saying, ‘Well, you did purchase a used car,’” she said. “I said, 'I’ve purchased used cars my whole life and have never had a car blow up on me or experienced anything like this.'”
Problems 24 hours in
Shannon Ross says she experienced problems similar to Jennifer when she purchased a 2006 Volkswagen from The Sharpest Rides.
“It’s been having problems since literally 24 hours since I left their lot,” she said.
Ross says she took the car home on a Friday. On Saturday, the check engine light had come on. She took the car back in to The Sharpest Rides repair shop and got it back.
“Two weeks after that, the check engine light comes back on,” Ross said.
That process happened two more times.
“So, they literally had my car cumulative of five weeks since bought it,” she said. “So, that means I’ve paid a car payment for them to have my car.”
After multiple times taking her VW into their repair shop, with the check engine light on and the key stuck into the ignition, Shannon says she lost faith. She took it to her own mechanic, claiming she paid more than $3,500 on repairs.
“It’s been an awful experience since the beginning,” she said, describing her dealings with The Sharpest Ride.
Three cars in two years
Diangleo Childs says he had two separate Sharpest vehicles break down on him in two years.
“They sold me a total wrecked car — a car that’s no good, period,” he said, describing his purchase of a 2009 Mercedes.
Childs says he bought the car, drove it to his home in Roggen and had it for only a few days before it broke down.
“Rode around basically for about three or four days tops, and the car just went out,” he said.
Childs told Denver7 the motor blew in the Mercedes, just like he claims it did in another vehicle he bought from the same dealer.
“A good two years ago, I bought a Range Rover from them, and that Range Rover did the same exact thing,” he said over Zoom.
That Range Rover was replaced by Sharpest with a new vehicle. The Mercedes was also replaced with a different Sharpest car after Denver7 brought his concerns to the dealership.
Diangelo gave his thoughts on the name of the dealer and the types of cars he thinks they sell.
“You have the sharpest ride. If you’re looking for a statue to put in your front yard, that’s the only sharp way you got about it. You have a nice Mercedes sitting in your lawn, and you can ride by and say ‘That’s my Mercedes Benz. Well, why don’t you drive it? It doesn’t drive,’” he said.
Complaints pile up
The above stories are just three customers of thirty different emails and voicemails into Contact Denver7 since the start of 2021.
Multiple voicemails into the Contact Denver7 voicemail inbox include complaints such as ‘they sold a car to me that has all kinds of problems,’ ‘I purchased a vehicle a month ago and it’s been in the shop for three weeks’ and ‘they refused to fix it.’
That total of thirty complaints in 2021 doesn’t take into account the hundreds of calls and emails Denver7 has received since late 2018. In that same three-year period, Colorado’s Auto Industry Division, the main overseer of used car dealerships, received ten complaints and issued one warning letter to The Sharpest Rides.
Denver7 took the complaints, several of them by name, to the dealership. General Manager Robert Lipp sent an email that read, in part:
“As with all of our sales, we never knowingly sell vehicles with defects. However, we are not perfect. In the used car business, anything unforeseen can happen. That is why we sell all of our cars “as is” and encourage our customers to get the cars checked out by independent experts.”
Shortly after Denver7 contacted The Sharpest Rides regarding several complaints, giving customers names and issues, Diangelo Childs received a new car from the dealership. Another customer that had previously interviewed with Denver7 decided not to participate in this story once the dealership replaced their car.
The Sharpest Rides owner, Kevin Sharp, threatened to sue Denver7 a total of three times.
The general manager’s emails went on to say, in part, the following:
“I have never portrayed The Sharpest Rides as a 'perfect operation.' In the used car business, there is no such thing.
“Based on our volume of sales, compared to occasional problems, I would say we are doing a good job.”
Though the dealership claims that other dealerships have more complaints, according to the state, there is no way to compare dealerships. A spokesperson for the state’s Auto Industry Division said that because of size, inventory and other factors “we wouldn’t comment on where one individual dealership fell compared to others in the state. “
Denver7 repeatedly asked for an on camera interview with dealership owner Kevin Sharp. He answered the most recent request with legal threats.
If you are buying a used car, it is recommended and is your right under state and federal law to get the vehicle looked at by an outside mechanic before purchase. That usually costs less than $200.
Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here.