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
Before you even enter the dealership (or start emailing the Web sales teams) you have to fully educate yourself about the car you want. This is where TrueCar and Edmunds really help!
The great thing about the TC website is the ability to add in exactly the options you want and then get about the lowest price the dealership will accept. When I went to the dealership, I never showed the salesman my TC certificates, just told him that I had them...figured I'd let him tell me what price he wanted for the car and maybe he'll shoot lower then TC. He didn't, but as we haggled I ended up with a really good deal!
Yes, you will get calls and emails from the three dealerships once you click to print your TC certificates...but I expected that and I wouldn't say it's anything out of the ordinary
All in all Lady Rea's take is probably accurate...new cars are not the real profit centers for dealerships...used cars and service are where they make their $$$
So, I saw the commercial and I decided to check it out. I have a 2011 Jeep Sahara, and I wanted to purchase a new 2014 Jeep Rubicon. I knew that my email and phone were going to get rocked (no surprise there), but I am disappointed. My target price was $36k according to TrueCar (pretty awesome price in my opinion), only 1 dealership quoted me a price for a vehicle they had in stock and it was a Sahara for $36k, not a Rubicon. The other dealerships have my Rubicon in stock but want me to come down, talk to them and check out their inventory (wow, I just got bait and switched all from my computer). TrueCar was supposed to cut out the hassle, but its all the same game so don't be surprised.
I am still in contact with the first dealership, they agreed to email me a quote on a Rubicon. I am hopeful, but TrueCar, I'm sorry you did not cut out any hassle and you did not help me get a new car at a great price. In my opinion, TrueCar makes money off of selling your info to the dealerships, that is all.
the price posted are more then what dealer are selling the cars for. This site helps only the dealers
I used TrueCar.com when purchasing a new 2014 Dodge Journey, printed out the certificate and took it to the dealer. The dealer honored the TrueCar price plus gave me another $2,000 off in incentives. Love TrueCar! Definitely using it for my purchases in the future.
To everyone on here complaining about pricing:
I work for a car dealership. I see everything that goes on when it comes to the sale of a new car. Let me tell you something interesting: dealers don't need to honor any pricing that this company tells you. They aren't in any legal contract to do so. They get you in the door and then give you the normal price everyone else gets. Here's another interesting detail: car dealerships don't make money on new cars! The average profit on a brand new Acura is around $200. If you want to haggle with someone you need to be looking at used vehicles. Even then, don't go and ask for some crazy amount of money of like $3000. It's not going to happen. Everyone price shops these days. If you sit down and look for a vehicle in your area, you will have the best price within 5 minutes. Just email and ask. If you are looking for a pre-owned vehicle there is usually more wiggle room in pricing, but depending on the vehicle, it may have been traded in for $14000 and then priced at $16000 before going through the shop. All of a sudden shop charges add an additional $3400 and the dealership is selling at a loss. This isn't 1976 when dealerships could just mark up vehicles by $6000 and get away with it. It's hard to make money in this business, so quit blamming the car dealers because you are looking at vehicles you can't afford. I love when people come into an ACURA store looking for KIA pricing and then get on these complaint sites talking about how unreasonable the dealership was to get to your payment. We are a business and we have to make money and believe it or not we aren't out to get you. We make almost nothing on new cars so suck it up and pay or get a used vehicle.
I used TrueCar for the same reason everyone else does, I wanted to save a little money on a car. I wish I had never used it. They gave me a choice of 3 "certified" dealers, two of which didn't honor the TrueCar price like they are supposed to, the third was 20+ miles away and not accessible without a car, which I didn't have, and so it wasn't an option. Since my inquiry through TrueCar I have been getting 4+ emails, and 2+ calls a day from dealers. They won't leave me alone. Completely ridiculous and useless, and more annoying and frustrating then helpful. I wish I had never used it.
I haven't yet bought a car using truecar, but I have experimented with the certificates and dealers. I've seen the bait and switch, the manager's that don't accept the certificate, you name it. That's not Truecar's fault, some dealers are using the site for shady business; the only thing truecar is doing is giving you a quote for the vehicle you want. It's the dealer's job to obide by those rules.
They are both a scam. The dealerships tell you its only a virtual vehicle, so they don't have it in stock, but will do a bait and switch and truecar.com rep tells you that they get their information from the dealership. I am more inclined to believe truecar.com The dealerships use the service as bait to bring in the customer. The word "guaranteed savings" means absolutely nothing to either the dealership (scammers) or truecar.com. They should take the word "true" out of their name. As for the dealerships, well, they have all earned their "car salesman" saying for a reason. Unless you are buying from Mercedes Benz, BMW or another high end breed of car dealership, they will treat you like dirt and throw you to the curb. Do yourself a favor and go to the car auctions if you plan on paying less than 30K for a car. SO your homework and know what cars hold their value, what their mechanical history and integrity is and get your loan from your bank not the dealership with the percentage rate markup.