TrueCar

TrueCar

 4.0/5 (159 ratings)
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About TrueCar

TrueCar offers fair price reports for vehicles in your area and partners with dealerships to provide pricing without any negotiation. After receiving a TrueCar price report, simply take it to participating dealerships to lock in the price. This quote does not include taxes and can only be used at participating dealerships, but the service is completely free.

Overall Satisfaction Rating

  • 5 stars
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  • 1 stars

Pros

  • No haggling
  • Free service
  • Straightforward pricing
  • TrueCar app available

Cons

  • Works only with partner dealerships
  • Not always the lowest price

Bottom Line

TrueCar partners with dealerships to offer specialized price reports to car buyers. The prices aren’t always the cheapest, but it's great for those who want a haggle-free experience.

Top TrueCar Reviews

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified

Found TrueCar to be the most helpful. After checking availabilities on cars, dealers emailed with a quick response and some followed up with a phone call. This was great for my ti...

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified

I used several search engines to find a car, but TrueCar was by far the best. It has great sort features and the best prices. I was able to find the exact vehicle at a below marke...

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What is TrueCar?

TrueCar is an online car buying site for new and used cars. TrueCar partners with dealerships across the country to offer predetermined prices that are meant to be lower than what you would traditionally find at a physical car dealership.

How does TrueCar work?

TrueCar works by offering customers the “true” value of a vehicle — in other words, the TrueCar pricing breakdown includes the MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price), savings offered by the dealer, the destination fee and the regional advertising fee. The TrueCar price is what others were offered, not necessarily what others paid, for the same vehicle.

TrueCar charges dealerships when a customer buys a vehicle through its website, so there’s no fee to use the service. The process is nearly identical to buying a car in traditional circumstances; TrueCar even leases vehicles, and it offers both new and used cars.

TrueCar pricing

TrueCar doesn’t charge any fees to use the website, and the TrueCar price report includes the destination fee and the regional advertising fee. The estimate will not include any accessories installed by the dealer, taxes, titles, licensing fees, documentation fees, state fees or dealer-locate fees.

TrueCar prices its vehicles by aggregating data to calculate a fair cost. It gathers data from car dealerships, car loans, dealer’s marketing materials, registration information and insurance data to determine a good price based on what others have paid for similar vehicles.

Does TrueCar really work?

Yes and no. To receive a price certificate, you have to submit specific information to the TrueCar website. The price certificate you receive will lock in a fixed cost at participating TrueCar-certified dealerships.

However, you should be aware that price isn’t necessarily the best deal — it’s usually just the MSRP with additional rebates included that apply to any buyer off the street.

And remember: You might receive more emails and phone calls than you want as a result. If you feel the price presented to you by TrueCar is fair, then there’s no real risk involved, and it does take haggling out of the buying process.

TrueCar FAQ

Does TrueCar ship cars?
TrueCar is able to ship some cars. Customers who want their vehicle delivered should look for the “Buy From Home” badge while shopping.
How does TrueCar make money?
TrueCar charges each participating dealer a fee for every car sold through TrueCar; this is the primary way it makes money. It also makes some money through ads, data and consulting.
Do dealers have to honor TrueCar’s prices?
TrueCar certified dealers must honor the price report. However, there’s no guarantee the vehicle advertised on the website will be on the lot when the customer arrives.
What is a TrueCar certified dealer?
Certified dealers connect with customers by posting their vehicles on the TrueCar website. TrueCar searches include TrueCar certified local dealers as well as online-only dealerships.
Does TrueCar work for used cars?
Yes, users may shop both new and used cars on the website. There are over 870,000 pre-owned vehicles listed on TrueCar.
How does TrueCar get its data?
TrueCar works with data aggregators in the automotive industry. It also collects data from dealers’ marketing materials, loan information, vehicle registration and insurance information.

Is TrueCar legit?

Yes, TrueCar is a legitimate company that works with certified dealerships to provide haggle-free pricing. It provides pricing for used and new vehicles in your area, though it cannot guarantee that the vehicle will still be available when you arrive at the dealership. It requires all certified dealerships to honor its price quotes, though these quotes do not include taxes.

TrueCar is an excellent option for those who want to avoid haggling, though keep in mind that you still might not be getting the lowest possible price.

TrueCar Reviews

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How do I know I can trust these reviews about TrueCar?
  • 4,189,804 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
  • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
  • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
  • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 16, 2022

On Tuesday 11/22/22, I met with a sales associate at Shottenkirk Hyundai Granbury to test drive a 2020 Telluride EX in hopes of buying this vehicle I saw on TrueCar. The experience went just fine and I put $3500 down to hold the vehicle. Erin reviewed the Carfax report for this vehicle with me verbally and conveyed to me that the vehicle came from an owner in Arkansas. The next day I confirmed my financing with Navy Federal Credit union and went to pickup the checking funds for the vehicle. The rep proceeded to send me email with the Carfax attached. Once I reviewed this report, I could see that the vehicle was owned and driven in one of the Canadian providences for more than a year and the vehicle resided in Arkansas for less than 3 months.

I got onto Kia's website to check for any recalls using the VIN number and the response kept coming back with error message 'invalid VIN'. I then called the Kia nationwide customer service number in California and gave them the VIN number from the Carfax report. They relayed to me that because the vehicle was on the road in Canada for more than a year, no US dealership would honor the manufacturer warranty. This would be a deal killer for me since the confidence to purchase the vehicle is based on the vehicle having 33k miles which would likely give me over a year to drive the Telluride knowing that any major issues discovered would be covered by Kia nationwide. More research online identifies these type of vehicles that have been put on the road initially in another country as grey market vehicles! Buyer beware.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 15, 2022

Saves a lot of time spent in negotiation hassles. Also provides the inventory available within your neighborhood. No unnecessary trips just to know that the car is unavailable. It was really useful in deciding on the car. I bought my car and the dealership honored Truecar's price. Saved around 6-7 hours of negotiations.

3 people found this review helpful

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 29, 2022

    This is useless. I've received 3 certificates and deals and no dealers honor their pricing. Need to rename this FalseCar. They just rope you in and then aggravate the crap out of you. Is there a way to have a nice buying experience? Haven't seen it yet.

    16 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 5 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 6, 2022

    It was very easy to sell my car. I just went to their website, entered my license plate, and *boom* I got a cash offer. I told them I have a higher offer from another dealer, and they quickly matched the offer. On the day of, selling the car was very quick, too. He did a quick car inspection, went to the bank with me to deposit the check, then we were done! Very fast and simple process. Liked it.

    Be the first one to find this review helpful
    Rated with 4 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Aug. 20, 2022

    When I would like to keep my search local, 10 or 75 miles, instead it shows vehicles from other states as If I requested National search. Why would vehicles from other states come up, I don’t want to travel nor pay for delivery.

    6 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: April 7, 2022

    I was just checking car prices for 5 minutes, the next thing I know I’m getting texts and calls from pushy dealers - which is exactly what I was trying to avoid by going online. Won’t ever visit that website again.

    37 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 2 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: April 6, 2022

    With the hopeful understanding that the service that TrueCar is providing is the ability to obtain a "haggle-free" price that provides adequate profit to the car company while providing transparency to the buyer on what costs are appropriate, the price provided was minimal and did not provide any benefit. The absence of additional costs such as estimates of taxes, document fees, etc provided the benefit to the seller and not the buyer. There was no positive value to the buyer with this service.

    35 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: March 30, 2022

    Sorry to say that it started to be a possible good experience, however, the experience turn sour. Sour in that where there was a car with price noticed as available, there was no car available. Plus, contacted by dealers who did not have what I requested from distances that were impractical to travel to in purchasing a car. Of course, they did not have the car to begin with. That is my experience! I will try this ever again!

    33 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 3 stars
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Feb. 19, 2022

    I used TrueCar to find and buy a new car. TrueCar pointed me to Community Kia showing me a good price and stating that they could do all the paperwork online and deliver the car to my place, so I would not have to go to the dealer. When I contacted the dealer, the first thing I asked the salesperson was if they could really do everything online and deliver the car to my home. Jose, the salesperson, said that they could do it easily, sending a messenger with all the necessary documents I had to sign and later delivering the car. Jose asked me for a copy of my documents and ran my credit. After everything cleared out, he came back with a different price from what I had from TrueCar. I sent him the email I got from TrueCar with the offer and he took it to Terry, the sales manager, who said they would not honor the price.

    I called TrueCar and they advised me to talk to Gil, who was the internet manager, responsible for entering the prices in TrueCar. I called Gil and he called Terry. Gil called me back saying that they would honor the price. It was sad that TrueCar left it up to the client to do the heavy lift and call the dealership to fight. I would prefer to have TrueCar calling them rather than leaving this up to the client. Anyway, I called Jose and told him to move on with the process. After a day without hearing from Jose, I called him and he said all the paperwork was with the Financial Manager.

    Later that day I received a call from Jose saying that Terry, the sales manager, wanted to talk to me. Terry said they would not deliver the car to my house as promised by Jose because they were short on staff.

    He also said they would not hold the car for me and that I should call before going to the dealer because, by the time I get there, the car might have been already sold.

    I called again TrueCar and asked why they had Community Kia listed as a dealer who would process the paperwork and deliver the car to the client if they were not honoring that. TrueCar escalated the issue and this time they contacted Community Kia. Community Kia informed them that they were short in personnel and would not deliver cars on the weekend. Also, they would not hold cars for clients. They mentioned to TrueCar that they would deliver only after the weekend, but again, they would not hold the car for me.

    I am not sure what TrueCar is going to do from here. I advised them to remove Community Kia from the HomeDelivery program of put on the proper disclaimers. I would like to know upfront if the HomeDelivery program a dealer is offering is subject to having people available to deliver the car or if they work only certain days of the week, or any other condition that would prevent me to close the deal. Anyway, Community Kia came up with twists and turns in what was supposed to be a straightforward process. They got all my documents, ran my credit, and for what? Just to say I had to go there. They did not send me anything online and have not even confirmed the price in writing. To be honest, I am afraid to drive there just to find out the car was already sold, or to have them trying to pull another stunt.

    For now, I lost confidence in TrueCar. I don't want to start another purchasing process with them again just to find out the dealership will try to change the price on me or that they cannot deliver the car as announced on TrueCar. In the end, I have located another dealer in Texas, who was more than willing to work with me online and deliver the car. I end up not using TrueCar and everything is working well.

    54 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 19, 2022

    I was looking at some of these cars and pulled up CarFax on some and found that they have false odometer readings. When you see low mileage and 2 or 3 owners it is a good sign that they have been rolled back. Be careful.

    39 people found this review helpful
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    TrueCar Company Information

    Company Name:
    TrueCar
    Website:
    www.truecar.com