NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

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NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by gtd98765 »

Interesting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/busi ... IifQ%3D%3D
The consumer group found that the TrueCar guaranteed price averaged $1,550 more than what consumers paid when dealers had to bid for their business. The lawsuit, which was brought by 162 car dealers and is still working its way through the court, asserts that TrueCar’s “no haggle” promise is false advertising, and that the “factory invoice pricing” falsely implies savings that TrueCar does not deliver.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by alfaspider »

Truecar started out pretty consumer friendly, as they provided data that was otherwise only in the hands of the dealer. Eventually (and probably as part of their business plan), they were captured by the dealerships and became nothing but a lead referral service.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by CULater »

We are surprised? Please note the multitude of car-buying programs, perhaps the one your employer offers, all piggyback on TrueCar (read the fine print). PT Barnum would be proud...
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Plenty of stories right her on BH about us getting far better deals than what Tru Car said we could get. On a $28k final price vehicle, Tru Car told me my best price was $29,600.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by vitaflo »

Most dealerships around me are no-haggle anyway. Margins are so thin on cars these days that negotiating a price isn't the same as it used to be. Dealerships get paid on volume now, not on markup.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by Helo80 »

I think when TrueCar first arrived on the market, it was legit, pro-consumer and pitted dealers against dealers in a deathmatch. In some markets, dealers were losing money on sales. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung the other way, and now, I think that TrueCar is simply another referral service that are a dime a dozen.

As with any car purchase, it varies very much by make, model, trim and market. I have seen TrueCar provide both good and bad data for my local market.

Note: TrueCar and USAA's car buying service are effectively the same. I forget the exact turn of events, but USAA is a major financial backer of TrueCar and the CEO is a former, long-time USAA employee. IDK if TrueCar was a special project within USAA that did well and then was spun-off into an independent company, but all that does not really matter.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by NMBob »

The idea that a car dealership will just give you a pretty nice price on a car is laughable. Of course there are volume bonuses...anything to make sure buyers can't know what the total dealer cost of a car , offset by later volume rebates, actually is at the end.

Just the last of why everyone should hate buying cars experience, tried to buy a used car just under two years ago. I had some data, stuck to my price. I didn't buy it. Within 5 weeks they had it internet listed for 3K less than what they were offering it to me. The salesman had told me he was only making $100 lol.

Oh, and one time decades ago also walked out of dealership to see they were selling me a car for $500 more than it was advertised in that days paper lol.

When i bought my current car, going in on an internet referral where the price was listed, the first offer on the car they made in the building to me was $2k more than the internet listing I came in on lol.

The margin typically is not so thin that it didn't take all day for my friend to negotiate a buy price with a guy he knows well, pushing the price point off the cost data his brother provided as the brother owns many dealerships but miles and miles away.

yea, trust those people not to fleece you lol.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by rh00p »

Watch the full vid to see why TruCar, JD Power, et al are all BS.

https://youtu.be/yUwx3TEJuAs
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by Helo80 »

NMBob wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:32 pm Just the last of why everyone should hate buying cars experience, tried to buy a used car just under two years ago. I had some data, stuck to my price. I didn't buy it. Within 5 weeks they had it internet listed for 3K less than what they were offering it to me. The salesman had told me he was only making $100 lol.
It's important to know your price point and be comfortable with walking away. Though, used car prices are especially fickle as you have no idea what the dealer paid, nor (generally speaking) what the current auction price is for comps. KBB, NADA, and all the used car estimators are complete junk. Dealers subscribe to reports on what is being sold at for what in auction.

Also BHs, realize that when you trade in your car with 150k+ miles, even if it runs great, 99 times out of 100, the branded dealers are immediately moving that vehicle to wholesale. None of them want to touch a car with that high of mileage for liability reasons. (mainly, yes, used buyers sign disclosures and agreements that they're buying "used" and "as-is", they still do not read or understand what they're putting their signature on. There is NO cool-down period or "buy-back" or warranty with a used vehicle... yet, people make up legal agreements and understandings all the time).

Your local dealer may have been telling a fib... he may have lost money on the vehicle, too...

I chatted with an enthusiast at a car forum once that traded in his low mileage (8,000 miles) SUV to get a better trim. I know exactly what he was offered for the vehicle in case I wanted to go buy the vehicle for what would be a "fair" profit for the dealer..... I watched the price initially start like $6,000 over... and drop to $500 under the price the dealership gave him on the trade... Granted, I think the price started off way too high as it was effectively MSRP for that trim new with 0 miles (though certified and carried an extra warranty).
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I am thankful I only have to shop for a vehicle one time at the most every 10+ years. Hopefully my next time will be my last time.

One benefit of keeping vehicles for longer time is not having to get into a wrestling match with the dealerships as frequently.

My last vehicle purchase was made online, I'm definitely going to do the same for any subsequent purchases. I didn't see the vehicle until it was delivered to me. Worked out very well.

I'm willing to do the research to know going in what I want to buy, and I also don't make my vehicle purchase one that is rushed. I don't get every possible mile out of my vehicles, but I also don't experience having to replace a vehicle under duress. Sometimes squeezing the last mile out of a vehicle negates your ability to purchase a replacement at your leisure, being able to make a decision that isn't rushed because you MUST get a vehicle because your current one is toast. That is important now as our household is down to one vehicle.

I'm sure I haven't gotten the absolute best deal in past purchases, despite my best efforts. Today information is much more available than in the past, but, even with more info available today, a consumer isn't privy to all the dealers pricing.

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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by NMBob »

Helo80 wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:01 pm
NMBob wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:32 pm Just the last of why everyone should hate buying cars experience, tried to buy a used car just under two years ago. I had some data, stuck to my price. I didn't buy it. Within 5 weeks they had it internet listed for 3K less than what they were offering it to me. The salesman had told me he was only making $100 lol.
It's important to know your price point and be comfortable with walking away. Though, used car prices are especially fickle as you have no idea what the dealer paid, nor (generally speaking) what the current auction price is for comps. KBB, NADA, and all the used car estimators are complete junk. Dealers subscribe to reports on what is being sold at for what in auction.

Also BHs, realize that when you trade in your car with 150k+ miles, even if it runs great, 99 times out of 100, the branded dealers are immediately moving that vehicle to wholesale. None of them want to touch a car with that high of mileage for liability reasons. (mainly, yes, used buyers sign disclosures and agreements that they're buying "used" and "as-is", they still do not read or understand what they're putting their signature on. There is NO cool-down period or "buy-back" or warranty with a used vehicle... yet, people make up legal agreements and understandings all the time).

Your local dealer may have been telling a fib... he may have lost money on the vehicle, too...

I chatted with an enthusiast at a car forum once that traded in his low mileage (8,000 miles) SUV to get a better trim. I know exactly what he was offered for the vehicle in case I wanted to go buy the vehicle for what would be a "fair" profit for the dealer..... I watched the price initially start like $6,000 over... and drop to $500 under the price the dealership gave him on the trade... Granted, I think the price started off way too high as it was effectively MSRP for that trim new with 0 miles (though certified and carried an extra warranty).
I had a really really really really really good idea what they paid for it at an auction......wink. Won't go into that. And then offered more than what recommendation kind of found its way with that.

Let me make it worse.....And oh, these car guys,...they were my somewhat friends lol.... After I walked away, another non car friend pointed out that my two buddies were willing to sell me the car at the same price a complete stranger would get it...and also have me pay a max price of $300 for a second key to replace the second one that was missing.... Thankfully a neighbor had warned me that semi buddy, salesman x had a reputation for not making good deals ...so I was not fully surprised at the way things went. I know pretty well the director of sales, who had just arrived when I was leaving and said he would review the deal .....never did, I never bring the incident up with him. I just kind of decided snakes will be snakes.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by grabiner »

I used TrueCar for my purchase two years ago, and saw it as a referral service, not a buying service. I got substantially different offers from three dealers, but had subsequent negotiations with two of them. (One dealer began additional negotiations immediately; the sales rep sent me a quote but didn't make it clear which vehicle it was on, and when I asked for a clarification, she said that they could throw in another $500 discount if I came in that day. I declined because I was still waiting on other dealers.)

Meanwhile, I had an actual no-haggle option, there is a CarMax four miles from my home. While they didn't have the best dollar deal ($500 more than I wound up paying at a TrueCar dealer), they actually had the practically best deal given the value of my time (negotations, and driving to a dealer thirty miles away) and a $180 difference in the trade-in. The dealer I bought from offered to match the CarMax trade-in before tax, so that I couldn't get any more by selling to CarMax.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by Davinci »

TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles
I never understood how you would pay less with TrueCar since they are a business and they need to make money therefore,\ that has to be added on top of the best price?

How much money are dealers paying to get TrueCar customers in the door?

Better to have several dealerships bid and compete for your business, I found those with the highest volume can give the best price.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by sambb »

its nice to have enough reserves, so 1000 on a car + or minus, is irrelevant to me, but my time and service is valuable to me
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by KyleAAA »

Truecar has never promised the best price but I think it's telling that it's a dealership group and not a consumer group suing them.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by denovo »

KyleAAA wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:23 pm Truecar has never promised the best price but I think it's telling that it's a dealership group and not a consumer group suing them.
Did you read the article?
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by William4u »

My last car was a Toyota. I did competitive email bidding among 12 dealerships. It took about a week. The starting bids were around $27k OTD, but by the end it was less than $23k. Some would no go below $25k.

No haggle isn't true of toyota dealers. They get all sorts of "secret" incentives that vary from month to month and dealer to dealer. Sometimes they are willing to sell a car at a low price to make a quick sale to get their numbers up.

The worst way to buy a car, IMHO, is to walk into the dealership and buy a car. They are good at what they do, and their job it to make you feel like you got a deal by giving a deal in one of tree areas: financing, the car price, or the trade in price. Generally, they will feel you out and see which one matters the most to you, and then make up for the deal with the other two. So I knew a guy who got a "great" trade in deal, but paid more in the price of the car and financing. But he was so happy about the trade in price he got that he did not notice he got played by the dealer.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by alfaspider »

William4u wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:16 pm

The worst way to buy a car, IMHO, is to walk into the dealership and buy a car. They are good at what they do, and their job it to make you feel like you got a deal by giving a deal in one of tree areas: financing, the car price, or the trade in price. Generally, they will feel you out and see which one matters the most to you, and then make up for the deal with the other two. So I knew a guy who got a "great" trade in deal, but paid more in the price of the car and financing. But he was so happy about the trade in price he got that he did not notice he got played by the dealer.
The way to avoid this is to take the 3 card Monty off the table. Don't buy a new car until your old car is cheap enough to be a Craigslist special (no trade-in). Pay cash or get your own financing before you shop. Then, the only variable is the price (although they still might try to play games with nonsense fees and accessories).
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by KyleAAA »

denovo wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:08 am
KyleAAA wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:23 pm Truecar has never promised the best price but I think it's telling that it's a dealership group and not a consumer group suing them.
Did you read the article?
Yes. What in the article disputes that it was a dealership group that sued them? Or that Truecar has never promised the best price? Their price is useful as a middle-to-upper bound for what you should pay, depending on the market.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by criticalmass »

KyleAAA wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:25 pm
denovo wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:08 am
KyleAAA wrote: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:23 pm Truecar has never promised the best price but I think it's telling that it's a dealership group and not a consumer group suing them.
Did you read the article?
Yes. What in the article disputes that it was a dealership group that sued them? Or that Truecar has never promised the best price? Their price is useful as a middle-to-upper bound for what you should pay, depending on the market.
A few things about Truecar, formerly Zag:
  • Truecar powers USAA, Amex, and other car buying services.
  • In 2011, Truecar/Zag was very useful. Certainly not the way to get the very best price if you are great at negotiating, although you could get close if you had a good participating dealer within reach. It showed the best price per state, per country etc. You could get up to 3 dealers' prices per inquiry on a specific model with specific options.
  • In 2011, the prices were actually real too, inclusive of all fees. Of course, you had to stand your ground and point that out at many dealers, who still attempted to charge additional "documentation" or other nonsense fees.
  • By signing up with Truecar, Dealers gave Truecar access to their sales data.
  • Truecar made money with a ~$300 charge to the dealers after each sale to a customer who was a Truecar lead.
  • Truecar enforced that money by using the access to the dealer sales data.
  • If you went into the dealer with a Truecar referral and purchased a vehicle under the same name, the dealer knew they had to pay Truecar the ~$300 fee, so you lost a bit of potential pricing versus negotiating. If you bought under a different name, then you could theoretically get even a lower price.
  • Many dealers signed up, because they were afraid of missing out. They weren't exactly happy customers though because they saw Truecar was eroding on profits.
  • By 2012, dealers were banding together and going to state regulators to attack Truecar. The accusation was that Truecar was providing actual pricing info to customers, and they had no right to do this since they were not licensed dealers. [1] [2]
  • After this strategy was effective in several states, Truecar changed their national business model.
  • The next model was to provide referrals and list fuzzy prices, but never specify a bottom line price as before.
  • Navy Federal CU and Costco both use a separate company, Affinity Auto Group.
[1] https://www.fi-magazine.com/352799/true ... cing-curve
[2] http://fortune.com/2012/01/18/truecar-i ... oadblocks/
Last edited by criticalmass on Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by Helo80 »

criticalmass wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:51 pm A few things about Truecar, formerly Zag:


Excellent post. A lot of that stuff I suspected had happened as when TrueCar first entered the market, it was legit pro-consumer and aiding people in getting the best possible price with minimal negotiation.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by NMBob »

i went and looked at a car that is in high demand after getting an offer by the exact vin by a dealer through Truecar last night. At the dealership today they ignored the truecar offer and tried to tack on about 3.5 k more on price and unneeded dealer things. I left after their second new offer. However, despite the comments above about they can just have dealer tack ons, like the $300 dollars for dealer locking wheel nuts i saw on the dealer added on sticker today, (fyi they are $50 for the oem ones) . i noticed tonight the following in my truecar forwarded dealership offer in email. It reads to me, where they total up the offer in the email offer, that those add ons have to be on the offers dealer fees and accessories line on the offer sent through trurecar.

"Total Dealer Fees & Accessories
Dealer Fees & Accessories are unique to each dealership and can include, but are not limited to: advertising fees, administrative fees, documentation fees, fuel charges, accessories, warranties, and other installed options. Participating dealers are required to list all of their applicable required fees and vehicle accessories. This total does not include government mandated fees such as tax, title, and license, which are beyond the dealer’s control."

I guess i will email that to them tomorrow.

edit: and now i see near the end of it:

"Your offer is exclusive to you. It includes the vehicle’s MSRP minus incentives and dealer discounts. It excludes dealer fees and accessories, applicable tax, title, licensing, other state and governmental charges and/or fees, and is subject to change based on incentives eligibility."
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by iamlucky13 »

NMBob wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:03 pm i went and looked at a car that is in high demand after getting an offer by the exact vin by a dealer through Truecar last night. At the dealership today they ignored the truecar offer and tried to tack on about 3.5 k more on price and unneeded dealer things. I left after their second new offer. However, despite the comments above about they can just have dealer tack ons, like the $300 dollars for dealer locking wheel nuts i saw on the dealer added on sticker today, (fyi they are $50 for the oem ones).
The $50 accessory price might not have included install. Some accessories really do have really high install prices which should be shown in an online vehicle configuration tool, but might not be shown if viewing the parts department listing.

However, locking lug nuts should not be expensive to install, and if they really want to make the sale, they can restore them to standard nuts in a few minutes. Personally, I'm skeptical they're actually on the vehicle yet - sounds like they're playing games with Truecar prices as a bait and switch advertising tactic. They probably can get away with the accessory add-ons, but if part of the at $3,500 is for features already listed in the Truecar offer, then I don't see a way they could refuse to honor at least that part legally.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by NMBob »

iamlucky13 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 1:26 am
NMBob wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:03 pm i went and looked at a car that is in high demand after getting an offer by the exact vin by a dealer through Truecar last night. At the dealership today they ignored the truecar offer and tried to tack on about 3.5 k more on price and unneeded dealer things. I left after their second new offer. However, despite the comments above about they can just have dealer tack ons, like the $300 dollars for dealer locking wheel nuts i saw on the dealer added on sticker today, (fyi they are $50 for the oem ones).
The $50 accessory price might not have included install. Some accessories really do have really high install prices which should be shown in an online vehicle configuration tool, but might not be shown if viewing the parts department listing.

However, locking lug nuts should not be expensive to install, and if they really want to make the sale, they can restore them to standard nuts in a few minutes. Personally, I'm skeptical they're actually on the vehicle yet - sounds like they're playing games with Truecar prices as a bait and switch advertising tactic. They probably can get away with the accessory add-ons, but if part of the at $3,500 is for features already listed in the Truecar offer, then I don't see a way they could refuse to honor at least that part legally.
thanks for the response. I looked at one tire and there was no locking lug nut on it. The car had just come to the dealership within the previous 24-48 hours likely. Nothing had been done to prep the car. even for showing or test drive. It was still basically just as it came off the shipping truck. It still had protection tape and sticky paper all over the outside, plastic wrap still all over the seats etc.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by denovo »

NMBob wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:03 pm i went and looked at a car that is in high demand after getting an offer by the exact vin by a dealer through Truecar last night. At the dealership today they ignored the truecar offer and tried to tack on about 3.5 k more on price and unneeded dealer things. I left after their second new offer. However, despite the comments above about they can just have dealer tack ons, like the $300 dollars for dealer locking wheel nuts i saw on the dealer added on sticker today, (fyi they are $50 for the oem ones) . i noticed tonight the following in my truecar forwarded dealership offer in email. It reads to me, where they total up the offer in the email offer, that those add ons have to be on the offers dealer fees and accessories line on the offer sent through trurecar.

"Total Dealer Fees & Accessories
Dealer Fees & Accessories are unique to each dealership and can include, but are not limited to: advertising fees, administrative fees, documentation fees, fuel charges, accessories, warranties, and other installed options. Participating dealers are required to list all of their applicable required fees and vehicle accessories. This total does not include government mandated fees such as tax, title, and license, which are beyond the dealer’s control."

I guess i will email that to them tomorrow.

edit: and now i see near the end of it:

"Your offer is exclusive to you. It includes the vehicle’s MSRP minus incentives and dealer discounts. It excludes dealer fees and accessories, applicable tax, title, licensing, other state and governmental charges and/or fees, and is subject to change based on incentives eligibility."
You should not use TrueCar. TrueCar is designed to benefit the dealer and not you, please read this thread on the right way to buy cars.

viewtopic.php?t=124638
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by iamlucky13 »

denovo wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 12:58 pm
NMBob wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:03 pm i went and looked at a car that is in high demand after getting an offer by the exact vin by a dealer through Truecar last night. At the dealership today they ignored the truecar offer and tried to tack on about 3.5 k more on price and unneeded dealer things. I left after their second new offer. However, despite the comments above about they can just have dealer tack ons, like the $300 dollars for dealer locking wheel nuts i saw on the dealer added on sticker today, (fyi they are $50 for the oem ones) . i noticed tonight the following in my truecar forwarded dealership offer in email. It reads to me, where they total up the offer in the email offer, that those add ons have to be on the offers dealer fees and accessories line on the offer sent through trurecar.

"Total Dealer Fees & Accessories
Dealer Fees & Accessories are unique to each dealership and can include, but are not limited to: advertising fees, administrative fees, documentation fees, fuel charges, accessories, warranties, and other installed options. Participating dealers are required to list all of their applicable required fees and vehicle accessories. This total does not include government mandated fees such as tax, title, and license, which are beyond the dealer’s control."

I guess i will email that to them tomorrow.

edit: and now i see near the end of it:

"Your offer is exclusive to you. It includes the vehicle’s MSRP minus incentives and dealer discounts. It excludes dealer fees and accessories, applicable tax, title, licensing, other state and governmental charges and/or fees, and is subject to change based on incentives eligibility."
You should not use TrueCar. TrueCar is designed to benefit the dealer and not you, please read this thread on the right way to buy cars.

viewtopic.php?t=124638
Regardless of the experience you have shared about success negotiating prices, it sounds like the dealer is refusing to honor the price they advertised. That's a more frustrating situation in my mind than merely having a less than optimal negotiating strategy.
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by four7s »

Buying a car is something we seldom due while the dealership does it all day everyday. Be resolved that it’s tough to beat a man at his own game and just pay what you think is fair and reasonable and that you can afford. And know that you still overpaid. :oops:
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Re: NYT: TrueCar’s No-Haggle Promise Meets a Chorus of Grumbles

Post by TexasPE »

alfaspider wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:08 pm Pay cash or get your own financing before you shop. Then, the only variable is the price (although they still might try to play games with nonsense fees and accessories).
To minimize this, I insist on an 'out the door' price that includes T&L and all fees.
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