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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
President
Phone Ninjas

Tags: TrueCar, autobytel, dealix, edmunds, kbb

Views: 4947

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

See I would not be surprised if DTX was involved.  I always found that company to be shady.

My apologies to the four vendors mentioned in this thread if it's TrueCar evil tactics at play.  I will get to the bottom of this.

Looking for damage control or plot an another way to scam dealers and the public.

This only gets more interesting by the minute.  See this from Tom White on DR:

I am sleep deprived right now and having a hard time grasping what the heck TrueCar is doing with these leads.  Anyone got any good thoughts?

Yep.  The lead goes into TrueCar.  It's matched with sales data gleaned from several sources (dealer's DMS?  Likely) and scrubbed.  TrueCar issues Zag leads to dealers and uses an automated system to co-op other lead providers into "herding" you towards Zag dealers.  Another scenario is that these leads are automatically generated at the lead sites and the lead providers end up paying Zag when the sales data shows a sale from a lead submitted. Another scenario is that this is not about leads or getting paid, it's about driving you to dealers where TrueCar KNOWS it has a link to the DMS to know what you paid.  Data collection is improved by herding you towards sales spots they can monitor with "other transactional sources" than a Zag/DMS access agreement.  And so on. 

Essentially, first two are about some $, and the third is about improving their data set for pricing on TrueCar.

I am speaking to a customer right now that entered in a car request at USAA (which as I understand is run by Truecar). He immediately got email replies from Three dealerships all using different services. Luckily, none of them picked up the phone, so he inquired at our site.

This is going to be a big, big deal Jerry.  

Nothing like a hot shower to get the thinking cap going.  So here is my theory or should we say conspiracy theory.

TrueCar is high and mighty on their program, not to mention arrogant and deceitful.   Here is what’s happening:  The lead arrives to TrueCar, they quickly submit the information to their clients who start marketing to the customers.   Then a day or two later, TrueCar has an automated program that populates other 3rd party lead sites directly.  TrueCar only submits the to these sites when they know they have no dealers on their program in that particular zip code.  Why do this you ask?   That’s the question I’ve been pondering for days now.  It took me a while, but here it is.  The AutobyTel, Dealex, Edmunds & KBB dealers arrive to the party a day or two late.  The TrueCar dealers have made contact and are on their way to a sale.  The other third party dealers start making the calls and they get the following from the customer, “sorry we’re all set, we’re going with ABC motors and we have a TrueCar price.”  Not to mention customers get frustrated by all the e-mail and phone activity making TruCar look like the knight in shining armor.  Internet managers start complaining that they are losing sales to other dealers and TrueCar.  They convince the boss that they too need to be on TrueCar and TrueCar has added another customer to its ranks.  Not to mention they drive the value of other lead providers down since dealers are paying for junk leads that have already been worked by TrueCar dealers.

Brilliant marketing plan on the part of TrueCar if this in fact true.  My guess it’s True after what I have seen. 

AutobyTel, Dealex, Edmunds & KBB, my apologies to all four of you.  It appears we are all part of a scam organized by TrueCar.  You all need to examine your leads and see if you can determine a pattern of origination.

I applaud Sean for digging into this issues!!!!

I think what is remarkable is that with all of your collective/alleged "clout," none of you can pick up the phone and call the top guys at Autobytel, KBB, Edmunds, and TrueCar to find out what's going on here.  Instead, you'd rather blog about it with pure speculation (and the ensuing publicity) BEFORE you dig up facts from the sources.  Since this thread popped up, the four of us (Autobytel, KBB, Edmunds, and TrueCar) have been analyzing the allegation, and so far we unanimously agree that what is being alleged here is not possible from anything the four of us are doing or not doing.  So please keep speculating while the four of us keep checking and get to the bottom of what is REALLY happening here...

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