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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Denver, CO
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Alpine Developments: Buyer Beware
Alpine Developments and Me. I'm sorry its a little long, but this is actually is just a summary. Please read through so you all can understand where I'm coming from and why you need to avoid buying anything from Alpine Developments.
Ok. Some of you know me personally and some of you only know me by my screen name. My name is David Dickson and this is a quick history of me and my historical association with Alpine Developments. I'm writing this summary in the hopes that some of you heed my advice and don't get screwed like I did!
2003. I purchased the very first Beta2 prototype kit from Alpine Developments for my then two month old I4 Tiburon. It took about 3 months to receive my kit which also had a prototype piggyback ECU. The Unichip had not been installed on a Beta2 at this time. I knew what I was getting into and accepted the fact that it was a prototype kit.
2004. I spent a lot of time and money helping Alpine R&D their new Beta2 kit and never was compensated. At first this bothered me then I met John Conchie when they were located in L.A. and was impressed by his knowledge and with what I thought was sincerity. So I didn't bother trying to get any of the many hours of Dyno Time and custom fabrication back.
Fast Forward a year to 2005. John Conchie and I had become friends and he flew me out to help them run their booth at SEMA. This was the first time I started to see some things wrong with the company, but I didn't yet know the extent of their problems. At this time I started doing the website development for them because the previous website was utter crap and had never been update from their days in South Africa. Again I was not compensated at all, but at the time I thought I was helping out a good friend.
2006. John Conchie said he was getting tired of living working in California and I suggested they check out Colorado. Housing and commercial properties are much cheaper here. He said he needed to lower his operating costs to maximize his profits. John decided Colorado was the place he needed to be but said they couldn't afford to move immediately and were trying to get a loan to get the process moving. He convinced me to co-sign on a loan that would help them move them and the business to Colorado. He said I would never have to pay a dime on the loan because business was good. I agreed because it has always been a dream of mine to work/co-own a High Performance Aftermarket company.
Mid-2006 Alpine moves to Colorado. It isn't till Alpine is in Colorado that I discover what a sad state the company is in. There are basically 3 total employees at Alpine. John Conchie, who is the founder/owner, Penny Conchie, John's wife and Secretary, and Richard, the supposed Sales Manager. That's it! On top of that their accounting records are a mess. Orders are coming in but they don't have any components in stock to fill them. Hence why it sometimes takes 3 or more months to ship an order. The money from future orders is used to buy the parts for the current ones. The company was always operating on negative cash flow. A far cry from what John told me.
So I decide to buckle down and do what I can for John and Alpine. I have a full time M-F job, but most days after work I went into to Alpine to do whatever I could to keep the business moving. Again I was not compensated for my time, but I chalked it up to pursuing my dream. After a while things started to get worse and worse. Orders were taking longer and longer to fill as less and less money was available to buy kit components. I later learned the John and Family were using the loan I co-signed on to live with and get by. The loan money was only supposed to be for business expenses and to help pay for the move. Turns out they had no money in California and used up the entire loan in a few months!! I also later found out that I was the primary signer on the loan, not just the co-signer. (I know, I know, I should have really looked closer at the loan application, but again I was told I wouldn't have to pay a dime)
2007. At this point Alpine is again bleeding money and me and my wife have to assume the business loan just so my credit doesn't get totally screwed. In the meantime John Conchie is attempting to make a deal with a business in Arizona called LC Engineering. This is supposed to be a partnership that was supposed to help Alpine get back on its feet. They get LC Engineering to pay for their move and write a check to buy the much needed components to fill the outstanding orders. Alpine moves to Arizona and that turned out to be a big mistake. Things get worse not better and customers start getting kits with missing components and pieces. This is when I start trying to distance myself from Alpine the company. My dream was quickly becoming a nightmare.
Mid 2007. Alpine as a company is in severe trouble and on the verge of going out of business. I have not received any money as repayment for the 82,000 USD loans I signed for Alpine. LC Engineering is now out upwards of 40,000 USD. I completely have separated myself from the company but I still attempt to help people who bought their products where/when I can.
Late 2007. I find out John and Alpine have secretly left the United States and moved back to South Africa. They have left me, LC Engineering and several other companies high and dry. They still owed many California, Colorado, and Arizona companiesí unpaid bills. At this point I not only have distanced myself from the company, but I no longer consider John or his family as friends.
2008. I no longer support Alpine products and do not recommend anyone buying anything from them. They are crooks. Also I will no longer help people who have problems with their products. It is no longer worth my time to help Alpine save whatever they have left of their reputation.
Now I know some of you have had bad experiences with Alpine and might say "I told you so!". But you have to remember I was tricked into what I thought was a genuine friendship. On top of that I was manipulated by my desire to own/operate a performance company. Either way, I've learned my lesson and I will NEVER trust anyone in a business type environment again. Thanks for nothing Alpine!
The moral of my story is save your money and support the honest companies out there. Do not gamble your hard earned cash on a product that you'll either wait months for or might not even get it at all. (Yes I know of instances where customers paid and received absolutely nothing!)
thanks for listening!
Huffin E85 and lovin every minute of it!!
Hit me up on gmail chat
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