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My 15 years of Automotive Internet Sales experience as well as being a charter member of the Association of Automotive Internet Sales Professionals (AAISP), as well as being a Speaker of numerous Digital Dealer Conventions gives me full credibility for this statement. Jim Ziegler's Internet Battle plan is BETTER than the Digital Dealer Convention. It is not event close...

I think at one time Digital Dealer was relevant, just as MySpace was relevant. But that time is over. The Automotive Internet Sales, Business Development, Digital marketing... "Digital Dealer" will be better served at the Internet Battle Plan.

*** I want to make this crystal clear. I am NOT a partner of Jim Ziegler's Internet Battle Plan. I do NOT make ANY money from Internet Battle Plan. I don't even get paid to speak at the Internet Battle Plan. I have been asked by numerous Dealer Principals and GMs about my thoughts of sending their employees, managers and sales consultants to the Digital Dealer Conference. So I decided to shoot this quick video. I DO NOT think Digital Dealer has any relevance anymore. I think it was relevant back in the day but Dealers need to evolve and find education and information that is relevant today. The quality of the Speakers and the instructional design is superior at the Internet Battle Plan. PERIOD

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Confessions Of An Employee - " Takes Dealers' Money & Then Slams Them Behind Their Back"

As a former employee, here are three of the Santa Monica sites (not sure if they have more now). NOTE: The Santa Monica sites used to power the NewLeadsPlus pay-per-lead program but I'm not sure if they feed the numbers into the numbers now when they report leads or VDPs. I was told by a employee at one point, that they included the numbers from these sites in their new car lead reporting numbers which brings me to the point I have always said:

Advertisers who say "we aren't about leads" are being condescending to Dealers. EVERY AD is designed for one thing if I am giving you money: To give me more customers to speak to so I can try to sell them. Whether you call those customers "customers" or "opportunities", at the end of the day these are leads. Advertisers stopped focusing on leads and started focusing on VDPs when their lead volumes went in the toilet.

Here are excerpts from the 3 Santa Monica Sites so that Dealers can see for themselves how they are portrayed to the consumer...a.k.a. the potential lead. (Wonder why consumers think ill of Dealers in spite of all the hard work Dealers have done to improve their reputations? Maybe it's because the people you are paying encourage that thought process so that the consumer will trust them before trusting you!) Don't believe it? Read on.


Excerpts from the landing page:

The old fashioned way (basically, this is their representation of the Dealer experience)

1. You can't leave. You're pressured to buy the car today, without the chance to comparison shop.

2. Endless negotiation. You're stuck for hours going head-to-head with a salesman.

3. You're overwhelmed by numbers. APRs, fees, payment schedules—you have to sign right away and there's no time to think.

Your inventory is powering this site from the place that supposedly treats you as important. Really? How can anyone do this in good conscience!

Site excerpts

1. "Did you know every New Car has a secret price?"

2. "It's the price you'll never see published in the paper."

3. "Discover the dealer's secret price."

It get's better in the description area when you scroll down:

"Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase."

"Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership. How can you maximize your value?"

They start with many sentences that sound dealer friendly and then WHACH...they remind the customer that even though many dealers are nice, they could get screwed over by some so better just submit a lead because you can't really know which dealers are trustworthy. Read it yourself gang, don't just take my word for it.

Does that sound like the type of actions taken by a site advocating or even supporting dealers? NO - and your inventory is used to power this site too!

This is the only site that actually bears the branding and doesn't appear to have anti-dealer language. Interesting that they only put their branding on the site that doesn't make the dealer look like a crook. I wonder why?

The real question is how many of these non-dealer friendly sites are they powering with YOUR INVENTORY? And of their 'partners' like, how many partners does Autotegrity share your inventory with...and how many do their partners share with...etc?


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Enough is Enough!

Haven't you had it with all of these Data Pirates using our own customer information to defame us, lower our profits, alienate our customers... while at the same time they charge us through the nose to do us harm? 


Among the worst of them in my opinion is CarFax. They even believe they have the right to price our cars and trades.... too low of course.While at the same time CarFax exploits negative stereotypes that we are crooks in every commercial the Little Car Fox Rats out the dishonest bumbling and inept idiot car sales person. They charge us to defame us. 

Please read this article we just published in Wards Auto Magazine 

"My latest article is out and it's hot.  

Here are more than 250 Consumer Complaints and reviews about CarFax... look... 

We have manufacturers supporting these people and requiring we do business with them. Let's get mobilized and scream at our factory representatives, reprint this article for your dealers, do press releases, and generally alert your State Dealer Associations and 20-groups. 

CarFax Gets Its Facts Wrong

If a consumer asks for the CarFax, tell them it's $39.00. Whoever told you it was free was lying.

Dealers tell me horror stories about CarFax experiences with customers. Those range from missing information to erroneous information.

I have a problem with data pirates who use dealer information against us, damage our reputation and cause consumer distrust.


To me, CarFax is high on that list. Let’s look at what this vehicle-history firm does.


It tells consumers its reports are free but charges dealers for them. So, if a dealer asks customers to pay for the report, they look at you like a criminal.


CarFax runs TV ads featuring deceitful car salesmen hiding the truth until the little Car Fox character shows up and sets the customer straight. This sets up CarFax as the Consumer Protector battling the Evil Car People.


The company uses dealer data to tell customers what to demand for their trade-in, based on what CarFax says is the value.


So, here we have another vendor setting prices and limiting dealer profits and charging dealers while it rummages through their customer information. We give them data and pay them to take it from us.


But beyond all that, CarFax is creating huge liability risks to both dealers and the auto makers.


“CarFax, lawsuit, settlement.” Enter those words in a Google search to see how many lawsuits have been filed against CarFax, from class actions to individual filings.


I Googled a number of other vendors using the same search words and couldn’t find anywhere near as many lawsuits and complaints. In one case, a court rejected a $500,000 award because the plaintiff attorneys said it was too low. 


Most of the allegations center on inaccuracy of information. I can attest to that. A relative bought a car two years ago, and the dealer showed us the CarFax showing a clean history. Then, recently when he tried to trade it in, another dealer said CarFax indicated the airbags had been deployed in an accident before he purchased the car.


Yes, CarFax does have some sort of disclaimer somewhere on its form saying it’s sort of possible its information might be wrong.


Does that give it a license to insinuate that consumers should rely on its information when buying? Do some consumers then believe a dealer altered the CarFax report and falsified information if it turns out to be wrong? Now we have more animosity.


Dealers tell me horror stories about CarFax experiences with customers. Those range from missing information to erroneous information saying a car had a problem (thus devaluing it) when it didn’t have a problem at all.


I am amazed some auto makers and even some dealer associations have jumped into bed with this firm, either endorsing it or requiring dealers to offer CarFax history reports to consumers.


The first time a consumer sues your dealership over anything involving CarFax, point to the auto maker that required the vehicle history. That auto company  should be a co-defendant.


CarFax has reached out to me several times asking me to meet with them. They know I talk about them in speeches and blogs. I recently had a trusted third party ask me to meet with CarFax.


I told that person there’s no reason for me to meet with these people. I think they are disreputable and they deliberately cause consumers to distrust dealers.


I do not believe their information is complete nor do I believe it’s fully accurate. They indirectly set unrealistic sales prices and interfere with the sales process. There’s little chance they could say anything to change my mind. And I’m not for sale.


If I were you, I would certainly examine my affiliation with CarFax. Then I would make doubly sure the company was not accessing my dealership management system to get information.


Then, I would tell consumers when they asked for the CarFax report that I don’t use it because the results can be erratic and unreliable. If the consumers insist, charge them for the report. It sure isn’t free.


Keep those calls and emails coming.


Jim Ziegler, president of Ziegler Supersystems, is a trainer, commentator and public speaker on dealership issues. He can be reached at




Comment by  James A. Ziegler 17 hours ago

A dealer just communicated this to me...

Had a customer with a 2006 truck to trade this weekend. He bought it new and only used it to tow his boat. The truck has 11870 Miles on it. He serviced the vehicle once a year at the selling dealer. In two seperate service trips 3 years apart the dealer recorded the millage wrong once reporting 29k on the truck and then 48k. The customer went back to the dealer to have the problem fixed and they say its out if their hands. Carfax reports major mileage issues and this greatly effects the ACV of the trade. Carfax causes more problems for consumers than it protects them from. Seeing more and more of it.

Comment by  Yago De Artaza Paramo on Wednesday


You got to call this deaer and tell them to stop promoting the CarFox



Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:48pm

Just the executives , not all of the employees.

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:40pm

You know, it's really funny. Last week Carfax announced to their employees that this Blog and this Movement was Dead. Little did they know we were only resting til the holidays and the election were over.  Last year the TrueCar Blogs started on November 28th. 

Fasten your chinstraps Carfax, the roller coaster is about to leave the station. 

Comment by  Adam Thrasher on November 20, 2012 at 6:39pm
Jim, maybe you should change you nickname to Robin Hood! :)
Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:37pm

Wow what a great idea. Tell you what Adam, I have at least four experts in my band of Merry Men and Women here on the Carfax situation room who are experts on Google and video. What an excellent idea. You are a genius. Did anyone ever tell you that? We'll put up a dozen Videos, some featuring me with that and other similar search terms. Thanks.

Comment by  Adam Thrasher on November 20, 2012 at 6:33pm
Jim, you need to film a video and post it on YouTube. Title it Carfax Reports for Hurricane Sandy. I guarantee people are searching that phrase and your video will be on page one of google in a matter of minutes.
Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:27pm

These comments are already starting to hit Google and Consumers are reading them. 

Comment by  JEREMY ALICANDRI on November 20, 2012 at 6:26pm

A Nice Black Friday Surprise from Jim Ziegler! :-)

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:23pm

Ha ha ... I have posted three things on their Facebook Fan Page and they've taken them down immediately. They are sitting there watching the page 24/7 ... and they are watching everything we write here too. BUT , they are not in the message boards we're on. AND I am going to drop 135,000 targeted emails later this week. Watch what happens next. Remember everyone keep it civil and nothing but the truth. 

Comment by  JEREMY ALICANDRI on November 20, 2012 at 6:17pm


It looks like they aren't showing it. :-( However, it's interesting to see that they posted a copy of their "revised" Hurricane Sandy disclaimer on their Facebook page.

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:10pm

I just put this logo up on that page too. 

Comment by  JEREMY ALICANDRI on November 20, 2012 at 6:02pm

LOL Jim. I'm not sure what I like better. Your graphic, or the "CARFAX for Dealers" Facebook page:

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 5:36pm

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 1:52pm

You're right Jason Manning. The trick is to educate the public just how bad CarFax is for consumers to trust them. How many reports have we heard about consumers getting burned because they trusted the CarFax? The say "Show me the CarFax." with the idea you can get instant vehicle history reports on used cars for sale and avoid costly hidden problems. Don't get stuck with a lemon, they say. When in fact CarFax has been the reason many people bought lemons that CarFax did not have the information until months later... too late and the consumer then finds out they lose thousands because they trusted the flawed CarFax reports - again. Vehicle History Report on used cars with supposedly accurate vehicle information coming from CarFax. AND it's NOT Free they charge dealers heavily without our permission to tell someone it's free.

Comment by  Jason Manning on November 20, 2012 at 1:31pm
Just wondered when it became legal to conduct blanket advertising in an industry and commit a businesses funds/profits for advertising of your own product(s) as if you have blanket permission from the whole industry. If this is legal, please let me know. I will start my own empire today.
Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 12:55pm

Jason, I am not part of it but there are things in motion Carfax is going to have to deal with soon. 

Comment by  Jason Manning on November 20, 2012 at 12:51pm

If Carfax is advertising Free Reports at any dealer, shouldn't those receiving dealers be recipients of a full refund from Carfax, of the report cost? If they don't provide that refund, isn't there an opening for a class action?
Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 8:50am

Edwin, please call around and get your friends in Jersey Car Business to comment on this Blog please.

Comment by  Edwin Sanchez on November 20, 2012 at 8:02am

Jim, I am out here in South Jersey bad enough we have to deal with the aftermath of Sandy but get ready for the Carfax mess that will make it even harder for dealers and consumers.

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:57am

Welcome aboard Edwin Sanchez. That is one of the five reasons so many of us despise CarFax. They arrogantly assume they have the right to set our prices based on their allegedly frequently flawed reports. They sell their reports by promoting continuing negative stereotypes that we are crooks and liars. It is their marketing plan to cause consumers to further distrust car dealers. They cast a blemish on every car sold in states that were affected by the storm last month. Their reports often have major problems that show up late long after the consumer has bought the car with a "Clean History report" so, in effect they cost people substantial money because they relied on CarFax Reports in those cases. They hold dealers to contracts with narrow windows of escaping them. or, so I am told :) . That is why we've written this blog to educate dealers, manufacturers and car people that CarFax is pure evil, or at least that's my opinion of them. There's a lot of people commenting, and, so far, only one has had anything positive to say about CarFax... and we all know his hidden agenda. 

We all have opinions and personal feelings and perceptions about CarFax... this blog is all about that dialogue. 

Comment by  Edwin Sanchez on November 20, 2012 at 6:42am

Sorry I'm late to the party.  Carfax Price Calculator - like the industry needs another consumer pricing tool to confuse the matter more.

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 20, 2012 at 6:41am

Dealers are telling me that CarFax vehemently holds you to their contract and will not let them out. On top of that there is only a short window of time where you are eligible to cancel before it automatically renews. This is what I am being told. Is that accurate? 

One dealer that wants to cancel is saying they intend to pursue the cancellation because the contract was signed by an employee who was not an officer of the company with no corporate resolution. It was evidently signed by a sales manager. Stay tuned on this one... if the dealer prevails, I have reason to believe a lot of other deals will pull the plug on the Fox.

By the way, somebody answer me this. If you have a contract with CarFax does it obligate you to give them DMS access and access to service and body shop records??  In other words can somebody with a contract with CarFax reports turn off their access to your computers? Does anyone have that answer?

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 19, 2012 at 8:13am

ARE YOU A CHILD MOLESTER?    LOOK at What He Says About CarFax   He says Carfax has branded  dealers as "Child Molesters". That might by an analogy I'm sure. Click this Blog and read It. Are You a Child Molester?

Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 19, 2012 at 7:56am

Okay Jeremy, that's a little softer. Maybe they are listening a little. 

Comment by  JEREMY ALICANDRI on November 18, 2012 at 1:39pm
FYI, on Friday, CARFAX updated the hurricane statement:
Public Service Announcement:
Hurricane Sandy may not have damaged this vehicle, but it was registered or located in a
county declared a major disaster area by FEMA a href="">>;. As a reminder, please get this vehicle inspected prior to purchase.
Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 16, 2012 at 3:48pm

I believe the fact that Carfax hurts consumers and dealers alike is deliberate. In my own mind, I believe CarFax will stoop to the lowest level to get another $39.95 from consumers or dealers, no matter who their tactics hurt. I don't like these people. Of course it's all my opinion based on common human decency and the fact I was raised by parents with values... I might be wrong. What do you think?

Comment by  JEREMY ALICANDRI on November 16, 2012 at 3:11pm


Thanks for sharing these flood reports. I have no clue what to make of it. What do you think my shoppers are thinking? Grrr.......


Comment by  James A. Ziegler on November 16, 2012 at 2:44pm

You're right Keith, Foxes need to be careful when they mess with Dawgs


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