I Tried Online Car Shopping With TrueCar, Got Same Old Hardball Crap From Dealership

The new site TrueCar is a great concept: you can figure out a price for your car and trade-in online, without any of the frustrating negotiations, or even changing out of your pajamas. Reader Alex used the site to get a price for a new Jeep, and his eight hours of trouble began when he and the dealership valued his trade-in differently.

Bought a 2014 Compass from [a local dealership], and was not overly satisfied by the whole situation. I had a guaranteed price from Truecar.com, and [the dealership] was a “certified” dealer so I decided to visit them.

After looking at the compass I wanted, I handed my salesman the Truecar price sheet, and the KBB trade in evaluation ($4500 for FAIR quality), and asked if we could agree on these prices and call it a day! (This was roughly 10:30am). They wanted to inspect my trade in, and I had no problem with this.

15 minutes later they bring me a Word document with “KBB.com” typed on the top of it, displaying that my vehicle was only worth $1,300. I asked them to show me where on KBB they got this valuation, as I only put fair as the condition, and was honest about the miles. They couldn’t, and I showed them right on my phone the real KBB evaluation.

I told them if they could just match the 4,500, we would have a deal. The big manager said not possible, so I called another local dealer, who said the extra $500 was no problem, and proceeded to leave. The big manager said “hold on, let me get one more person for you” (this was honestly the 5th salesperson I’d been asked to talk to during this one visit).

The guy comes down, shows me the car again, and says the extra $500 is no problem. Great! I’m getting a new Jeep! Awesomeness is imminent! So he brings out the “purchase order” (be careful, they REALLY want you to sign this quickly). I review it, and verify that YES! I’m getting $4,500 for my trade. But then, I notice the price of the jeep went up exactly $500 from the Truecar price!

I felt like they were trying to scam me here. At the end, they fixed it, and I bought the car. But I didn’t feel very good about it.

I left the dealership at 7:20pm, 8 hours after arriving.

My problems:
1. Felt scammed about trade in price, since they showed me a typed up document that just said KBB.com on the top
2. Felt pressured to buy every step of the way, needing to speak to 6 different people throughout the transaction for some reason.
3. Felt cheated when they agreed to my trade in value, but raised the car price.
4. Felt thirsty when I was declined water by a manager during negotiation.
5. Felt tired after being at the dealer for 8 hours

This is exactly the kind of experience that Truecar was supposed to help people avoid. Alex should consider reporting this local dealership to the site. They might participate to get people in the door, but apparently they don’t want to give people the prices from the site. To make up for the extra seven hours or so he wasted, he should have asked for a lower price than the TrueCar printout.