By on July 11, 2017

car salesman in car dealership with key, Image: Kzenon/Bigstock

It’s a fairly bizarre story, and although you can read the whole thing at Slate, I’ll give you the rundown right here: TrueCar was the brainchild of a “professional disrupter” who specialized in founding companies that added an unnecessary level of Internet-ness to existing processes — think eToys or Pets.com. TrueCar had a lot of initial success before “going through the Swirl,” which is how TrueCar refers to the near-collapse of its business a few years back. The company’s founder had to ask the board for a raise so he could keep his Aston Martins, which emotionally damaged and triggered him to the point that he had to go to counseling.

I know, right? Just when you think that there’s nobody out there less likeable than a dealership principal, along comes a guy who needs therapy because he got a massive raise. But wait, it gets worse. After therapy, TrueCar’s founder “pivoted” towards helping dealerships make more money, because somehow that would be even more disruptive. The cynic in me thinks this 43-year-old billionaire just finally figured out what most teenagers learn with their first lemonade stand, and what pretty much all automotive journalists learn after their second press trip: if you have a choice between screwing over the people you talk to every day or screwing over some random person off the street, the smart business move is to prefer the interests of the former over the interests of the latter.

To make this as plain as possible: TrueCar is a “consumer service” that helps dealers maintain profit. So, there is absolutely no reason you should ever waste a moment of your time with TrueCar. At least, that’s how I personally saw it prior to last week, when I used TrueCar for the first time. Not that I wanted to use TrueCar, mind you. I just had no choice, because my mom made me use TrueCar.

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