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
True Car is joke ! It's primary focus is to act as a lead aggregator for car dealerships. The consumer will go to the TC website, provide their contact information, then choose their desired car. After selecting the trim, color and accessories, the consumer is shown "certificates" that outline offers from local dealerships. The certificates are NOT worth the pixels on your computer screen. Within 24 hrs of the inquiry the consumer is then blasted; phone calls, emails, and telemarketers from dealers that are just giddy to start negotiating. Worse yet, each dealer will have a reason for NOT honoring the certificate, and furthermore, no where on the certificate, or within the TC site, it is clearly disclosed that the certificates DO NOT pertain to vehicle leasing. All certificate offers are ONLY VALID for vehicle purchasing, which I am certain defeats the entire purpose for many consumers such as myself. Lastly, the TC customer service is just as irksome. In this sketch, the consumer will speak to an entry level Millennial that has just enough time to look away from their smart phone. When faced with tough questions the Millennial will resort to their TC handbook and robotically recite pre scripted rebuttals as provided by the TC writing staff. Once the rebuttals are exhausted the Millennial will gladly apologize on behalf of TC and then resume their social media obligations. Please, don't make the same mistake and save yourself the time and hassle. TC is a business venture with bad management, and lousy ownership !
Nothing but a lead generator for dealers. Don't waste your time.
This site does nothing more than provide sales leads for subscribing dealers. They don't provide prices for add on equipment that you require. They simply provide an avenue for crooked car dealers to do what they do best.
I purchased a new Xterra from a dealer and the invoice said it was a 2015 model. The vin indicated that it was a 2013, but it had certain requirements, for me, such as factory installed towing package, Bluetooth, over the roof lights etc. These were hard to find but I wanted to see what sort of discount I should have been given for non current year after being lied to.
Truecar only contacted a subscribing dealership which would only provide prices based off 2015 MSRP. They would not provide any technical data or otherwise regarding towing capacity (it did have a rating) or cost of add ons.
It's a sham. I've owned a Acura TL, Mercedes C300, Lexus GS350 and currently Siena SE. I was always able to get a price 10% under invoice price. According to true car these kind of deals don't exist.
They'll have you believe 5% off MSRP is a great deal. 5% off MSRP is a ripoff. I wouldn't be surprised if true car was secretly own and operated by some coalition of auto dealerships to fool the general public into accepting a new guideline of pricing. I absolutely do not trust their opinion of what a great deal is. I'm not even sure I trust what they list as invoice price. I'm digressing here but folks do the foot work. Be nasty with the sales people because they are out to screw you blind. Either way you put it, buying a car is one of the worst investments a person can make. make sure you're getting the best deal by at least visiting 3 dealerships. don't be passive with sales people. also check with brokers too, some of them offer you only what a fleet managers best friend gets. Bottom line. Don't trust true car.
I WORK for a car dealership and have had several customers show me their "truecar" printouts. When this happens, I go straight to the invoice of the vehicle and show it to them as well as provide any rebates they are eligible for. They are usually about $3,000 UNDER what we can actually sell the vehicles for!!! This is turn pisses customers off and when they go to the next dealership and get the same thing, they will either come back to me and purchase or they are so sick of the pricing game they purchase from the dealer they are at. I HATE TRUECAR!!!! I've been selling for a long time and would LOVE to have one of these Truecar idiots come to my dealership!!! I hope more people realize that Truecar DOESN'T SELL CARS!!!
Service gave me the best price within 100 miles. Dealer honored my certificate exactly as advertised. Amazing service!!!
Just bought a new Honda. The dealer honored my True Car certificate. I added a few options but the base price was just as promised. Guess it depends on the dealer.
TrueCar is simply a lead generator for the auto dealerships. Nothing more. It will probably stay that way if the now chastened CEO hopes to keep a company in business. The Toyota dealer I visited last Saturday was a participating dealer. They simply ignored the TrueCar quote. "I'm not sure where they get their numbers from, but it's not something we see as very accurate." They indicated the TrueCar quote I received was below their price for the car; a statement I still doubt.
As for KBB trade in, I was offered 25% of what KBB said my car was worth on trade. The justification was the local market price.
Overall, no improvement in the car buying process. At the end of the day, you cut the best deal you can and you still walk away feeling as if you've been taken advantage of. Glad I don't buy many cars.