o The Alpha Dawg... GET THIS Yesterday I had a customer call in and ask why when she found a vehicle online on Cars.com and went to the Finance tab and filled out the credit application she was immediately sent an email telling her to please contact the preferred ROADLOANS/Cars.com dealership in her area and proceeded to give her all the contact information for a dealership a few miles away. She then called Roadloans to ask about the mix up and they told her to just go to the preferred dealer anyway and they would be able to help her find a similar car. When she explained to them that she wanted OUR car, she was told that she would need to call and have us sign up with Roadloans in order to purchase the car... So basically if I'm getting this correctly, We are paying thousands of dollars a month to advertise on Cars.com. They have partnered with Roadloans to provide credit approval on Cars.com and Roadloans is then reselling those leads to other dealerships... That's what the dealer tells me... anyone have a similar situation?
The following are a few of the many responses that Jim Ziegler received... This could also be titled "Day 1 Diary of a Public Relations Disaster":
James A. Ziegler Is Cars.com double-crossing dealers through their finance affiliation?
January 31 at 6:36am
James A. Ziegler Okay, I want to hear from all of you on this one.. what is happening here? Time for the entire tribe to check in on this now.
Michael Anthony Brett Trekell Checking on it right now. Call your local cars.com representative. Cars.com is a Gannet company and they have a lot of companies in that group.
Allen Geissler I'm curious ..ill fill out an online app when I get to work.
Robert Stewart I am sure everyone would like to know what really happens. So lets try it out I own a few dealerships in Columbus ohio and my cars are listed with cars.com and we are not signed up with road loans. http://www.stewartautogroup.com/ the first customer with sub prime credit that comes into the dealership we will try it out.
Bob Scheetz I've dealt with this before. Customer on my lot had picked a car and then went online to find a loan. Roadloans approved her and tried to send her to a dealership 20 miles away. They do have a policy of only sending customers to their approved dealers, but if they are re-directing customers from cars.com, then dealers who pay for these leads and advertising are essentially giving up their business to others.
Shane Seys Is it any different than the Credit Bureaus selling leads to dealerships? We pay a fee to pull a bureau then they immediately sell that lead to another dealership. Yet we are required by law to pull that bureau so in turn we have to do business with them.
Robert Stewart This makes me sick! We are the only reason these companies are in business. We stopped all of our ads with car-fax now no one even asks for one we sold over 100 used this month and only one customer asked after you take down all the car-fax advertising around the dealership its done.
James A. Ziegler Wow This is a heated issue... my phones and private messages and emails are going nuts. You guys are really onto this subject.
Gary S. Hart Sounds like a class action lawsuit in the making. Are you also buying leads from Cars.com? Has anyone read the TOA for advertisers? I wonder if they've attempted to cover their tails.
My suggestion, even they you did not ask. Have someone go through the same process on Cars.com and take screen shot. This will prove the theory and can also be used as evidence.
James A. Ziegler Amazing! I know a lot of dealers were pissed off at AutoTrader for various things BUT this is the first time Cars.com has came up on my radar screen. I've been aware of multiple sales of the same leads but this issue today is way over the top. I hope all of you will test it with the same circumstances and get back with me concerning Cars.com paying customers allegedly having leads diverted to Roadloans preferred dealers. This could become a major AlphaDawg Blog like the TrueCar blogs last year. Okay Tribe, get on the case!
David Vatland Cars.com and autotrader all use roadloans. If you are not a roadloans dealer then you cannot process any paperwork the customer has. I just went thru it. We signed up as road loans dealer so leads would not be sent to other dealers.
Megan S Barto Autotrader's credit apps come directly to me - I then log into autotrader's backed using 2 separate passwords & pull the credit apps.
Kevin Mullins I've heard nothing like this before but have a call into my cars rep right now....I am skeptical of the claim because it would be a pretty open and shut law suit for the dealers...in my opinion..
James A. Ziegler I don't know Kevin that's why I am listening and not commenting too much. BUT, I have to tell you I'm hearing some similar stories this morning. That's why I asked the question. The letter at the top is exactly the way it came to me.
Kevin Mullins Thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront....
Kevin Mullins I just went to one of our car on cars.com and clicked on a sponsored link and this is what it took me too...https://www.roadloans.com/apply?p=cars&LoanType=used&campaignname=VDP_Calc&ad=Bad&medium=Sponsor
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James A. Ziegler Okay Kevin, if you went to Roadloans off the link on one of your cars on Cars.com, would Roadloans refer your customer to another dealer to find a similar car? I seem to think they may if you're not signed with them?????
Kevin Mullins I would think so too
James A. Ziegler Okay, we all know what needs to happen next. Start tweeting and blogging to all your car peeps and call somebody too. Direct everyone to this discussion on this page, its public and anyone can post here. Let's blow it up now!
Matthew Heath You're welcome James A. Ziegler. Didn't think it was going to blow up like this. Wow.
James A. Ziegler Everybody hit the "SHARE" button on this thread and put it on your own page.
Roe Roe I have done both Auto Trader and Cars Applications online and with autotrader, I have not recieved any sponsoring dealerships or phone calls from other dealerships HOWEVER with the cars application, it routed me to a dealership 65 miles away and I already recieved a phone call from that dealership itself. I am still awaiting for a response from my rep and his supervisor. next up will be a call to our legal team.
Matthew Heath I've been on the phone with a Cars.com rep this morning. They're are telling me that this rolled out over the summer and was "such a small part" of what they bring to the table that they didn't bother dealers with it. I was also told that for $300 a month I could purchase their secure credit application that would take it's place...
Chris Spensley I have this discussion in different ways with dealers every day- 3rd party leads being sourced through your dealership effort and then resold back to you. This is even worse and a real "hand in the cookie jar" moment!
Robert Stewart I just had a meeting with my staff and they found out this was going on two weeks ago they said a customer of ours was upset about it and complained. Our managers confronted cars.com and they said they are working on fixing the problem. Still not fixed.
James A. Ziegler Thanks, we'll get it fixed quicker I promise you
James A. Ziegler How many of you are getting phone calls and messages from Cars.com about this Facebook discussion????
James A. Ziegler Wonder if I'm still going to be invited to their party at the NADA Convention?
Robert Stewart You sure will get invited but when you arrive you will find out that you have been sent to the dealers united party.
James A. Ziegler Robert what is disconcerting to me is that, from what you told me three posts ago, they are aware of this happening and haven't fixed it... if they actually intend to fix it, or could it possibly be a play to force you to roadloans? I don't know but we're talking about an alleged technology company that can't fix their technology?
Robert Stewart They fixed the problem at one of our two locations. So the location that complained got the problem fixed and the other location the leads still goes to road loans.
James A. Ziegler My phones , emails, tweet messages and Private messages are on overload... this is going viral! Of course Robert, this leads one to ask how many of their customers don't know this is happening to them? (if it is that is) AND the larger question is, what makes us thinks it's accidental if they were able to turn off the complaining dealer? Does this mean they only stop when caught ? I'm asking the questions, I think every dealer should spot check your own Cars.com paid entries to see if you get rerouted by roadloans.
Brian Davis Folks - I'm a good friend of Matthew Heath and his former cars.com rep. I can assure you the social pitchfork riot that some folks are interested in starting will do nothing to help you sell more cars today. Our marketing, partnership, and solutions folks will be happy to address to the world with the reasoning and value behind what is being questioned here in terms of Roadloans and Cars.com. My colleague Alex Vetter might be able to help us get the info moving more quickly.
Thanks for your business and your patience everyone!
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