TrueCar Sales Pitch

The following is taken directly from the TrueCar.com website:

Car buying that shows you what others paid, so you never overpay.

Upfront pricing info. Guaranteed savings.* No negotiation.

* Guaranteed Savings currently not available in all states. In these instances, a "Target Price" is presented, which is not an advertised price, but an example of what you can reasonably expect to pay for a vehicle with your preferred options. Guaranteed Savings represents the amount that a TrueCar Certified Dealer selected by you guarantees that you will save off the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price ("MSRP") on any in-stock vehicle that is the same make, model, and trim as your Ideal Vehicle. The Guaranteed Savings is based on a vehicle without factory or dealer installed options and includes generally available manufacturer incentives.

This is in small print and listed way down at the bottom of the web page.

Initially I had to read the small print several times to figure out what exactly what they were talking about. My first question is the following:

What amount does the guaranteed dealer promise to save you of the MSRP and why isn’t this on the TrueCar web site. This would be full disclosure and upfront pricing and transparency, no? Should TrueCar already have this information from the network dealers? No negotiation? Why does more than one network dealer get the lead as alleged in the lawsuit? Aren’t all network dealers offering the same reduced price implied? If this is true (and proved as alleged) doesn’t it demonstrate that there is negotiation contrary to representations?

LEGAL THEORIES

The dealers (plaintiffs) have made three claims against TrueCar all of which ring similar and are specifically plead as follows:

  • FALSE ADVERTISING UNDER THE LANHAM ACT (15 U.S.C. § 1125(A)(1)(13))
  • UNFAIR COMPETITION UNDER NEW YORK COMMON LAW AND OTHER COMPARABLE STATE COMMON LAWS
  • DECEPTIVE ACTS AND PRACTICES UNDER NEW YORK GENERAL BUSINESS LAW 349-350 AND OTHER COMPARABLE STATE LAWS

This sounds scary, yes? Well, if you look at the complaint it reads simple and the following is a summary and my interpretation only. (Cover my A&& again) If you would like to come to the meeting and disagree with me feel free but you need to know the handshake to even get in and, well, good luck.

(Interpretation, OPINION).

TrueCar is lying to the public about the services they provide (alleged). Not just regular old lying, like little white lies, BUT really BIG important lies. These lies are so BIG and misleading that they cause consumer to use TrueCar, rather than us (dealers) and we are losing money. WHAAAAT? They are not competing fairly. WHAAAAAT?

224. These violations have injured and will continue to injure plaintiffs and the public, causing deception, confusion, and damage in an amount that cannot presently be ascertained. (Right out of the lawsuit. I am not making it up as I go along)

Wow. Really? The dealers (party plaintiffs ONLY) are all concerned with the public being taken advantage of and deceived. They must be really concerned citizens. Maybe they will donate money to National Association of Consumer Advocates or provide funding to Legal Services. That would help if consumers were deceived and damaged and needed to hire a lawyer. Let’s not educate the consumers or help them. Let’s not compete with TrueCar, lets sue. They are not playing fair, because we know the dealer like to play fair. So what we really have are the dealers, party plaintiffs, stating the consumers-public- are being deceived and damaged. Please pay for damages you have caused.

How do the plaintiffs intend to address the following poll that was completed by Gallup in 2012?

opinion table 1

In case you were curious:

table 2

So you have dealers with a bad perception by the public, suing TrueCar for misleading the public to help other dealers (network 9,000 strong) sell cars. That’s a tough sell! To make it worse for the dealers, if you ask most lawyers about lawsuits, they would rather have a likeable plaintiff, with weak facts, than a dislikeable plaintiff with strong facts.

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