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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: 5556

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Guess who's been looking at my LinkedIn profile the last few days and today?  Seems everybody BUT Scott Painter, whom I attempted to email via LinkedIn.  What, did they forget to call me, too?  :)  Guess I didn't make the cut.  Maybe it was that technology and data background, even if it's ten years old?  Anyway, here's the access by TrueCar:

I would have to say I'm disappointed in the direction they are taking Zag/USAA as well.  I used to be able to depend on these leads as my, if you will "cream of the crop" leads.  I received a survey in October rating their services.....and good marks were given for the most part. Lack of communication from my vendor seemed to be the biggest issue, but then November hits and TrueCar release in my market..... very disappointed to say the least....I have found that they are double dipping in my market as well.  I am receiving more and more duplicate leads from Autousa, Dealix, TrueCar and Autobytel.  I went from 20-25 quality leads with about a 45% close ratio to over 70 leads, with less than a 5% close ratio. 


What I have found is that the customers are having the same, felt inclined to drop me the F-bomb as I was the 10th guy to call him in under 15 minutes trying to "earn his business."  He told me he was "just looking, and promptly hung up.....several others actually took the time and explained how many, even non branded dealerships...........even local buy here pay here's were contacting them....REALLY?


So far this month, same story.  I am strongly considering dropping all 3rd party providers at this point as I am noticing that quality of leads vs the number of leads they can sell me, and everyone else is simply ridiculous at this point....My ISM are also complaining as to the same issues with their customer bases.....


I seen a ton of get rich quick schemes in my time and this simply seems like a way to take advantage of the dealers.....and consumers!  NOT A FAN AT ALL....  


This is a freaking nightmare and we are all going to find out how dirty the sandbox is we have to play in.

This will get worse as we dig into what seems to be an attempt to throw a blanket over the automotive sales profession and smother it.

I am getting close to a rant but I promised I would not. Think aboout all that has transpired, major moves in our industry over the last 24 months. Kind of weird huh?

Jerry, Truecar's privacy policy states "The information we receive about you or from you may be used or shared by us with our corporate affiliates, dealers, agents, vendors, and other third parties including in connection with your use of the Service"  so they come right out and tell you that they are selling your data

You on target and 100% correct Jerry!

Every 3rd party site is sharing and reselling leads and customer information.

The OEMs are on the program too and know this. They give out the inventory feeds to them.

What amazes me is that you guys actually seem surprised!

Maryann Keller and some others have done the math on this.  The number of paid leads generated so far outstrips the population of the country, let along actual auto buyers, it is obvious what is taking place.  They are churning leads and dealers are paying for them over and over again.  How else can they achieve the appearance of growth?  How many more leads can there be than 16 million new vehicles and 45 million preowned vehicles per year.  Anyone know the total number of "leads" sold each year?   


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