TrueCar.com is the online home of TrueCar, an online service who says their goal is to provide consumers with access to price transparency and upfront pricing on new and used automobiles.
How Does It Work?
As most people who have ever purchased a new or used car are aware, there is always the ability to negotiate price of the car you are trying to buy, to at least some degree. Some prices are negotiated by trading in your old car, and some prices are negotiated simply by haggling over the price.
The goal of TrueCar is to help people who are planning on purchasing a new or used car see the prices that people in their local area are paying for that exact same make, model, and year of car, so they can use this information in their price negotiation.
Their website claims that they have created “an intelligent, data-driven online platform” that is powered by proprietary data and analytics – meaning that they are the only platform that has access to these data and analytics – in order to transform the car buying experience for their customers.
If you become a registered user of TrueCar, their website says that you can take this information to one of their registered dealers and present it as a “Guaranteed Savings Certificate” which can be applied to the price of the car you have chosen. The website says that TrueCar and their certificates save the average user $3,279 off the cost of a car.
And though customers may think this seems like a service that would upset car dealerships, TrueCar says this isn’t the case. Their service lets them point informed, committed buyers in the direction of dealerships that they have partnered with, making it a mutually beneficially relationship.
At this time TrueCar does not charge their customers any fees for their service. Instead, they are able to collect fees from the Certified Dealers who are connected with their service, and in some cases they also receive fees from automobile manufacturers and third-party service providers.
Because this company does not charge their customers any fees for their service, they also do not provide a Refund Policy for their customers at this time. They do accept fees from the dealerships they partner with, but these dealerships will need to speak with their account representative in order to have their situation addressed.
Customer Service Contact Info
Customers who would like to contact their Customer Service team with any questions, concerns, or complaints can do so by phone at 888-878-3227, by email at [email protected], or by submitting them directly to their website through their Contact Us link.
The reality of TrueCar appears to be very mixed. Looking for general reviews online actually shows quite a few negative reviews, but customers who take the time to read through them will see that nearly half of these negative reviews are from people who have never actually used TrueCar, but who believe they can explain why it is a scam anyway.
Once these reviews are filtered away, however, there are still a significant number of people who claim to have had poor experiences when trying to use TrueCar information to purchase a new car. Some customers claim that they offered a lower price than TrueCar suggested right at the beginning of the negotiation, meaning that if they would have begun the negotiation with the TrueCar information they actually would have paid more money for their car.
Other customers have said that the information they found on this website was simply wrong or out of date or that the dealerships they were pointed toward actually wouldn’t honor the price discount that TrueCar said they would.
However, there are many other customers who have said that the TrueCar information truly helped them in their negotiation and made a difference to their car buying experience. The bottom line appears to be that since this service is free, customers should treat it as one of many resources they can use to buy their new car; not the only resource.
Competitors and Alternatives?
There are many other websites which try to assist customers with their purchase of used and new cars, including Consumer Reports and Edmunds.com, so customers who are looking for different or additional information to what they find on TrueCar will be able to find other sources.
If you have any experience with this company or their products, please leave your TrueCar reviews below.
134 ‘TrueCar’ Reviews
I got a cool certificate saying I can buy a car for $700 over invoice. Too bad that car doesn't exist. The dealer knows about the TC quote, but there are no cars shipped to them from Lexus without any packages pre-installed. So my price quote is useless. Unless you count the 8 emails from 3 dealers and 3 phone calls for a car that doesn't exist, helpful.
Truecar is a fraud. They were using the WHOLESALE trade value dealers established to exchange inventory between dealerships as a "true sales price." the term fraud my actually be an understatement.
A new tactic to an old game... Bait & Switch! When you receive a “True Car” quote, immediately call that dealerships sales manager directly and request a copy of the window label of the vehicle they quoted on, be sent to you (fax/email) so that YOU can verify the vehicle and equipment are what you are expecting. When YOU are refused such a simple request by the dealerships sales manager… maybe then you’ll understand this nothing more than Bait & Switch.
BTW… if a gas station advertised gas at $1.49 per gallon but doesn’t have any of that particular gas in their tanks, would the Government step in and stop this false advertising? Of course! Yet they allow this type of stupiness.
I do not see how anyone could buy a vehicle not knowing if they are getting a good deal on it. A friend of did just that. He fell for the dealers BS that the value of his spotless F150 with 48K miles would plummet after 50K. He walked out the door with a Silverado at MSRP. OOPS!!! He got hosed, but it was his own fault.
My friend could have at least looked at the ads in the Sunday paper. He could have gone to get quotes from a bunch of dealerships. He could used TrueCar as a resource.
Let's forget about the ads because a dealer would be dumb to advertise their best price. Getting qoutes from multiple dealerships can get you a good deal but it a is time consuming and confrontational approach.
Want to make your next car buying experience fun? Wander aimlessly around the showroom looking at every vehicle on display. Watch the interactation of the sales people and see how long it takes someone to help you. When a person finally approaches you and asks, "How can I help you" Respond, "I would like to buy a car from you today" The sales person just sold a car if the dealership has the car that you want and the price is right (TrueCar other internet sources). Now it is just making the numbers work for both sides. If the numbers don't work, then walk away from the deal.
The bottom line is that you can never be a victim of supposed "high pressure" sales tactics if you educate yourself before starting the negotiation process. AND TrueCar is a factastic place to get that education.
Truecar was great, I got a price for the vehicle I wanted with specific features, printed out the price guarantee sheet brought it to the dealer. The only extra fee I had to pay was the dealer fee. It was easy, and I didn't have to play those sales games and or deal with a rude salesmen. I will be using true car for my next vehicle purchase as well. Thanks
Dealers are dropping truecar like a bad habit. They are tired of paying $300 per car sold thru truecar. Truecar takes the dealers own transaction info and uses against them. Truecar says cars are a commodity? They want to get rid of salesman too.
truecar is a fraud and will soon be a memory.