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Most recently there has been a bold new wave washing over the automotive dealership landscape. Beginning with TrueCar, whose CEO bragged about using data to eliminate dealerships and  lower profits below True Cost. He arrogantly taunted us with claims of "Transparency" which has become the "Buzz Word" of every vendor using our own data to virtually put us out of business, to steal our customers information, and sell it, pass it on to their affiliate companies, and otherwise resell it to third and fourth parties. 

WELL, the revolution is here... and we, the dealers, managers, and industry loyalists are committed to locking down the DATA. Remember, cockroaches run when you shine a light on them. 

We realize that vendors need access to SOME DATA to be able to perform their services BUT, virtually every vendor taking Data from the dealers- Data that ultimately shows up elsewhere being used against us - every vendor is talking far more Data than necessary and making dealers sign agreements that they can resell it, and pass it to affiliates, and that the VENDOR OWNS your customer data. 

So many Dealers have signed contracts that THE VENDOR OWNS YOUR DATA.

THAT IS SO WRONG. By what right does any vendor you are paying have to claim to own your customers? That is total backwards crap and you know it. DEALERS-Your data is your BLUE SKY and you are signing contracts that allow vendors to own your customers and steal your legacy. 

These vendors include, DMS Providers, CRM Companies, Lead Providers, Third Party Aggregators... and others, there are even OEMs (Manufacturers) stealing data from service and sales and even finance information on your customers and redistributing it.

The purpose of this BLOG is THE FIRST SHOT in the Data Reclamation Revolution. 

We intend to educate Dealers as to what vendors are lifting your DATA... what they're doing with Your Data... Who they're selling it to or passing it along to. 

Remember, the dealer is legally and liabilally responsible for the privacy and security of your data, not the vendor that contractually stole it and sold it. 

AND we urge Dealers to responsibly call all of these vendors to task... either rewrite your contract or Cancel Them.

It is the purpose of this BLOG to expose those vendors and publish the offending parts of their agreements here. Remember, the vendor that screams loudest is probably the most guilty. JIM

Views: 1121

Tags: Agreement, DMS, Dealer, Provider, TrueCar, contract


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Comment by James A. Ziegler on February 19, 2012 at 7:06am

I would only hope that consumers and car buyers would read these posts and wake up that TrueCar and companies like TrueCar are collecting and merging huge amounts of DATA about them personally. They are positioning themselves as consumer-friendly, when, in fact they are building files on all of their unsuspecting customers and the customers of the dealers they are extracting out of dealers' computers by force and threat. 


To all of us posting on these blogs... all of your posts have great weight and value. We are grateful you are on the point watching out for the industry BUT, we also must remember, TrueCar and other Data Pirates ( my conceptual perception of these people)   cannot do anything with that data they collect all over the universe without Dealers to do business with...and, from what I am seeing, nobody wants to do business with them.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on February 15, 2012 at 3:19pm

New TrueCar Tactic...

In case you haven't noticed, suddenly Scott Painter is everywhere.... interviews with anyone who will give him a venue. I'm theorizing they've hired a PR Firm to get him media exposure like Cnn, Time Magazine, even Clark Howard was dumb enough to drink the TrueKoolAid, and the NY Times interview. Smiling now because this is exactly what everyone was expecting. These people still don't get it.

The main tactic here is to try to rally the consumers against the dealers. To spread distrust (further distrust) and further blacken dealers image and reputation. This is the TrueFeeling and the TruePhilosophy of Scott Painter and Company. 

In the end however, he's fueling fires and pissing off more dealers that were sitting on the fence.


Consumers need to hear the real message... TrueCar, and others, are insisting that dealers give up consumer identifiable data and information about you. Dealers are NOT rebelling against low prices or negotiating, it's about protecting consumer privacy and consumer identity. Truecar insists on taking customer information and we won't give it to them, no matter how much they swear they're intentions are good. 

Scott Painter is showing severe signs of wear and tear as his dream company is being flushed and he's swimming hard, fighting the swirl.  How many times do investors have to be duped by his dreams and schemes that end up this way? You can thank Steven Dietz and GRP Partners for the current "Cluster" (adjective) What kind of rational investment group would lead investors to follow Painter after his previous track record????  How many companies has Painter flushed and Steven didn't notice and still promoted him? That's how it appears to me anyway. What do you think?

Here are two Pro TrueCar columns in major publications in the past couple of days, both written from an anti-dealer perspective yet without quoting/interviewing dealers, consumers or state regulators AND Scott Painter continues "Bashing Car dealers" in the way he has for fifteen years we've known him, he hasn't changed..  

In the end, and the end is upon them... it won't be us , the dealers and industry people that brings down TrueCar, ity will be Scott painter and Steven Dietz who lead investors over the cliff... AND , USAA... 

USAA you should be ashamed of what you've gotten your customers involved with.


Comment by James A. Ziegler on February 8, 2012 at 10:57am

Comment by James A. Ziegler on February 8, 2012 at 5:54am

Painter still doesn't Get It, does he? The tone of his latest interview, still talking down too us, lecturing about what the consumer wants and he is the salvation and the answer because we're stupid. Admitting he was a bad guy in the past but he's come to repent and be baptized in the love of car people. Do we have a "Trust" issue with him? 

"Look, I realize that some people feel, because of my past at Cars-Direct, that this is an anti-dealer play. It’s not. This is about fundamentally recognizing that the consumer has changed how they shop, and we believe that this is one of the most important tools for dealership profitability and growth in the future."

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 28, 2012 at 2:44pm

Sorry, I have been a little absent from this thread recently. 

This coming week I am speaking at Brian Pasch's DMSC  Boot Camp in Las Vegas and Then, the following week, I am a featured speaker at The NADA Convention.

We have some really great surprises scheduled for the TrueCar Folks at the Convention... Right now, they are flailing about in their death throes and I predict they'll be experiencing a lot more pain after the convention. 

They're bravely trying to act publicly as if TrueCar is viable and alive when everyone can see it's dying.  Painter's been here before and he can feel it coming. I am amazed that anyone would back him on any business project considering his track record. 

The way I see it, the Investment World appears to be backing off of TrueCar because of all the negatives brought to light and the magnification of the company's apparent inane mismanagement.

Speaking of mismanagement, I believe GRP Partners is also looking really-really bad here, at least that's the way I perceive it to be. After all they are the financial backers that raised the money to bring this circus sideshow into the market with TrueCar Management and GRP Partners' Investment Advice resembling the antics of the crazy midgets in "Clown Cars" under the Big Top. 

They (GRP Partners) and particularly TrueCar must be rapidly becoming a ridiculous joke in the financial community... and GRP Partners, a long time respected firm must be getting their fair share of ridicule because of this train wreck, which I am assuming was probably Steven Dietz's brainchild. I am picturing the possibility that he's likely to have been the butt of more than a few jokes around the water coolers in the financial community. Needham LLC must have been an embarrassment to GRP Partners and TrueCar as well. Go to and check it out.

I am just wondering how AMEX and USAA are feeling about being associated with the tarnished reputation TrueCar is bringing to them as well? 

I don't know about GRP Partners command structure, maybe Steve Dietz is the man there BUT I am wondering if the board of directors or the other partners are seeing him as a liability? Just conjecture, mind you, but if it was my company, his position might be standing on a banana peel. When it it was revealed that TrueCar's basic business model violated a number of states' laws, doesn't that smack of total incompetency of all concerned considering it was a $200 Million-dollar crap-shoot? Where was the high-school level due diligence?

It seems to me that if someone in their right mind had millions to invest how could they possibly consider this farce?

How can Scott Painter and Steven Dietz possibility save face considering the continuing series of apparently conspicuous screw-ups they've committed in their business plan reminiscent of a Three Stooges Slapstick comedy. ? Of course I could be totally off track in my thinking here, maybe I'm wrong. I am just thinking out loud about possibilities and possible scenarios. 

Comment by Yago De Artaza Paramo on January 25, 2012 at 9:31am


It is a great service and work that you are doing by bringing TC true face to the light, but access to the DMS is not the problem. The type of access that a venfor has to the DMS is the problem. Most vendors, including me, have access to a report generator which means that we don't have access to anything more than what the dealerships wants us to get. Furthermore, most dealers will only give access to inventory data (which has no much "secretive" value) and of you get customers data (not transactional data) for marketting purposes, they will make you sign a legaly required form stating how this data will be used. 


The reason why many vendors, even after stopping business, still have access to the data is because the data that they get is not that relevant so the dealer doesn't spend the time changing the DMS access. It is as simple as changing the user name or password or deleting the report for that vendor. Most of the time vendors continue pulling the data because they too don't go and delete the accounts in theri system, they leave things "working" just in case they can get the busienss back.


DMS access is not the problem nor there is a conspiracy behind it. DMS access to customer + transactional data + profits is the problem.

Comment by Jason Manning on January 25, 2012 at 9:10am
Unbelievable Jim. Amazing that dealers have let vendors pilfer their data and even paid them to do it. This will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in our industry's history. Leave it up to an intelligent manufacturer like Honda to call B.S. on it first. Some folks just have a good business mind. Others do not. TrueCar and countless other vendors need to be watched under a microscope, forever. Once again, I ask, what is the true value of your data. Safe to say, most Owners, Principles and Manager do not know. At least they could secure it until they figure it out.

For years, we've heard managers spew out NADA statistics on what a customer is worth in a lifetime, to a car dealer. Now we need to figure out the worth of transactional dealer data for a customer's lifetime.
Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 25, 2012 at 8:09am

A Chrysler dealer I do business with recently we had an audit of of DMS... he is a substantial dealer and we found more than 87 different vendors extracting Data from his DMS. Some of these vendors he wasn't even doing business with anymore.  Data Wars are heating up. 

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 22, 2012 at 4:08am

I am speaking today to a group of more than 90 dealers and managers. It is an all day event, I am the only speaker. Last night at dinner, the dealers asked me to have lunch with the dealers only, without the managers present, to discuss TrueCar and Data Pilfering by our vendors. The overwhelming sentiment among these dealers is hostile toward TrueCar, even the few who are using them apparently hate them. Where they get all of these supposed happy dealers is rapidly beginning to look like BullCrap to me. Before I leave here tonight I feel I may have another 15 or 20 dealers ready to cancel and tell their friends to do the same. There is a growing trend as dealers get angry and get rid of these people. I am hearing that even in states they get their model reinstated, nobody (relatively) is going to participate as dealers who do business with them are becoming isolated by other dealers. I am hearing that some dealers won't even do dealer trades with them.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 22, 2012 at 3:47am

A Dealer Friend of Mine sent me this message on Facebook...Jim, I just received 7 invoices from TrueCar for vehicles we did not sell. I was already in the process of cancelling, when they arrive this morning. I'm done with TrueCar in both my stores. Just wanted to get the word out to your followers to double check all invoices from TrueCar.

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