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Dear Autobytel, Dealix, Edmunds and KBB,


I would like some answers from you on a serious matter.  Please continue reading...


Saturday I was experimenting with TrueCar to check out pricing on vehicles in Rochester, NY market.  I used my real name, I used an e-mail address that I typically direct junk mail to and I used a phone number that was one digit different than my own.  I was also using a computer with an IP address that would reflect my previous shopping habits. 


I received TrueCar pricing information from dealers on the e-mail address I used to submit the leads, but noticed there were no Rochester dealers using TrueCar.  The closest dealers using TrueCar were in Syracuse and surrounding communities.


Early Monday morning I start receiving e-mails from third party lead providers thanking me for submitting my information.  The e-mails were on the same vehicles I shopped on TrueCar.  Coincidence, I think not!  Now here is where it gets interesting, my data had been corrected to reflect my current e-mail, and my current phone number.  I also started receiving phone calls from dealers.  I am guessing my information could have been taken was from the DMS of the dealership where I last purchased my Infiniti.


My questions to you, where did my lead originate from and how did you get my information? 


I have been communicating with KBB and they are telling me that a lead was filled out on their site.  I know that is not possible since I was not on their site.


I plan to get to the bottom of this even if it requires me to spend thousands in attorney fees.   I would prefer one of you come clean and provide me with the answers.


If I was a betting man, I would bet that TrueCar sold my information to a company that in turn sold it to you.  Could there reasoning for doing this be due to the lack of the Rochester, NY dealers using TrueCar?  What is the going price for selling lead information these days?


Below are images of the e-mails I received from your companies.  I look forward to hearing from all of you regarding this matter.  If you need more information, please reach out to me.


Thank you,


Jerry Thibeau
Phone Ninjas

Tags: TrueCar, autobytel, dealix, edmunds, kbb

Views: 5547

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Oh and notice how all the e-mails came to me within 10 minutes of each other.  They all got the data from the same place.  They were obviously sold this information.

No doubt!  Thanks for sharing your shop with everyone Jerry...seems as though the Dealer body in this country needs to take a serious stand against the TrueCar tyranny that is spreading without check.  Our dealer Group has been using Zag/TrueCar for quite some time now, but we are now certainly taking a REAL hard look at whether the TrueCar business model fits in with our own, as I know many others are now doing as well.

From what I've seen, the TrueCar sites default to a lead generation process IF an approved dealer that's in-network is not available within a given zip code. Has anyone gone through the TrueCar steps, found a dealer that's in network, chosen only one dealer, and only received one message from that dealer? Or have they done this and still gotten spammed?

First thing I noticed was the times and how close together they were it is obvious that this data is being sent out to a number of third parties through one feed!!!

I did this same thing about three weeks ago and had the same results in the Cleveland, OH market. They are nothing but greedy pigs.

Even GM 3rd party leads are a joke. We pay a ton of money for 3rd party leads for each of our four dealerships. On many occasions we receive the same lead across all for locations. I am actively trying to get the group to agree to drop the 3rd party lead program and invest in something with better ROI.

Just like the dealix, autobytel, and kbb leads etc... response time does not matter at this point because the consumer, who was looking for specific information, would have been inundated with responses and have been desensitized to the process... maybe even angered. It kind of goes against every principal of Automotive Internet Professionals.

On a side note: With GM having leads on a 24/7 response clock (the only MFR to do this) we are graded on the response times of 3rd party leads (even though we pay extra for them) there is absolutely no reason for them to dump 3rd party leads into our queue during off hours (9:00pm to 8:00am). 

Finally, How is it possible that Toyota has the "Best resale value for the 2012 models" moniker? I saw this in a commercial for their 33rd annual Toyotathon. Have their customers traded in enough of them already that they can actually have been rated this? Seems like some money has changed hands at KBB somewhere to get a statement like this into their commercials.

Well, that's my stream of consciousness for this morning. 

Have an awesome day!


Jim, I couldn't agree more with you after being with Nissan the past few years and now returning to GM I must say that the GM 3rd party leads are a joke. I have not got a single one, to come in and the 2 I did get in contact with weren't even close 2 being in the market. The 24 hr clock is a bit silly too, thanks for your insight on this topic I know we are direct competitors Good Luck today and Happy Selling
-Matt I agree with you 100% on the GM lead program.

You should take that money invested in third party leads and invest in organic traffic like google, social media, blogs, video search, etc...

Money better spent.

I shopped for a new Honda Crosstour in Southern Massachusetts where there were 3 TrueCar Honda dealers listed... 10 days after I put my request in via TrueCar I started receiving emails from third party lead providers.  It seems that if TrueCar does not get paid on the sale from TrueCar dealers, they then monetize the customer TrueCar inquiry by wholesaling the lead through third party lead aggregators.  I am starting to believe that Scott Painter's TrueCar enterprise is a recycled version of his previous attempt to put car dealers out of business with CarsDirect.

Very interesting observation Ralph

Looks like someone isn't just double-dipping (going after dealers for payment of lead, AND reselling the leads to third parties), but they are quadruple-dipping.

I would not be surprised if Third Party providers were double dipping.


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