Author Archives: Ralph Paglia

Phil Penton Accepts Position At SureCritic

SureCritic Taps Phil Penton to Lead Brand Development and Strategic Alliances

Online automotive, social media, and reputation management expert excels at accelerating growth for fast-paced technology companies

Seattle, WA – SureCritic, creators of the industry’s first SocialCSI® Customer Experience Management (CEM) platform that combines the best features of reputation management with the best features of CSI, is pleased to announce the addition of Reputation Management expert Phil Penton. Penton brings over a decade of experience in automotive, reputation management, and social media solutions in well-known companies, including SOCIALDEALER, Xcite Advertising, and CDMdata.

In his new role, Penton will drive business development and strategic relationships with automotive brands to further the aggressive growth of SureCritic’s expanding platform, which includes the industry’s first SocialCSI solution, and an enterprise-level survey platform capable of handling the most complex branch logic survey requirements.

Penton has a proven track record of accelerating growth for fast-paced technology companies. Currently he serves as partner and strategist for Xcite Advertising and CDMdata, where he oversees digital advertising strategies and strategic alliances. Previously he served as partner and president at SOCIADEALER, where he helped to drive tremendous growth for its managed reputation and managed social media customers. Prior to that, he co-founded Social Integration, an end-to-end platform for managing reputation and social media marketing. He has also served as vice president of business development for HomeNet Automotive.

“I ‘m most impressed with SureCritic’s technology platform and the new features and functionality we’ll be bringing to market over the next twelve months for manufacturers, dealerships, and independent repair shops,” said Penton. “SureCritic is advancing Customer Experience Management from a technology and implementation perspective, which is unlike anything else I’ve seen out there. They are literally on a mission to dramatically change how businesses and vendors interact with customers. From what I’ve seen behind the scenes, it’s revolutionary and I’m excited to be a part of it!”

“Phil is at the forefront of reputation management and social media solutions and his expertise and relationships within the automotive industry will be invaluable as we grow our relationships and brand presence,” said David Brondstetter, CEO of SureCritic. “He’s a wonderful asset to our team and we look forward to continued strong growth with him on board.”

Link: http://www.surecritic.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have personally worked with Phil Penton on several projects while he served two previous companies. Phil is a consummate professional with outstanding integrity and a deep knowledge of how social media and reputation management resources can be leveraged by car dealers and automotive enterprises to drive marketing communication objectives. There is no doubt in my mind that Phil Penton will serve SureCritic well and ensure they become a significant part of the automotive marketing landscape.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia’s iPhone]

Ralph Paglia | President
ADM Advertising & Consulting, LLC

W http://AutomotiveSocial.com

http://RalphPaglia.com

http://LinkedIn.com/in/RPaglia

http://Facebook.com/RPaglia

GoogleFirstGen.png

Twitter and Instagram: @RalphPaglia
http://YouTube.com/RalphPaglia

http://Slideshare.net/RalphPaglia

Chrysler Dealer Ad Program Flaws Revealed

FCA Digital Advertising Program

The FCA Digital Advertising program impacts the business operations of Chrysler dealers in the United States. The structure of the program, which is the focus of our research, must be changed to deliver on the promises made to franchise dealers to support their needs and desire to be successful with online marketing.

We acknowledge the good intentions of Chrysler to get their entire franchise network engaged in digital advertising, especially since some dealers are not engaged online at all. However, the execution on how to attract, fund, and manage “digitally resistant” dealers is the focus of our research.

Download the research report below to understand why we have come to these conclusions about the FCA Digital Advertising program:

  • The program falsely claims that dealers in the program are paying less than market rates for management fees; some dealers are paying over 300% of market rates.
  • The program denies Chrysler dealers knowledge of their AdWords management fees, which is a long standing right that dealers have enjoyed under Google’s client/agency partner agreement.
  • The structure of the program forces agencies to charge some dealers higher than market rates for management fees to subsidize Chrysler dealers who are low spenders
  • Chrysler dealers fail to see much value of the middle management role, currently handled by Shift Digital.
  • Chrysler dealers are given monthly advertising reports that make it impossible to calculate their Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Chrysler dealers have barriers in place that makes it difficult for them to inspect the quality of traffic generated by their FCA Digital Advertising investment.
  • The program puts Chrysler at a competitive disadvantage against other OEMs and could hinder Chrysler’s market share growth.

Research-Report2-Mockup

Download FCA Digital Advertising Program Research Report

[Sent from Ralph Paglia’s iPhone]

Ralph Paglia | President
ADM Advertising & Consulting, LLC
2701 N. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 2202

Las Vegas, NV 89108

C 505-301-6369 (Caller ID Required)

F 801-340-8918

E RPaglia

W http://AutomotiveSocial.com

http://RalphPaglia.com

http://LinkedIn.com/in/RPaglia

http://Facebook.com/RPaglia

GoogleFirstGen.png

Twitter and Instagram: @RalphPaglia
http://YouTube.com/RalphPaglia

http://Slideshare.net/RalphPaglia

America’s Most Hated Car Brands

Most Disliked Car Brands of North America

According to a survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, buyers of both foreign and domestic cars aren’t overly happy with their purchases. In fact, customer satisfaction in the auto industry is at a five-year low.

The decline is widespread, with 80 percent of car brands experiencing drops in customer satisfaction.

Forrest Morgeson, ACSI’s director of research, told MarketWatch that the decline is likely due to a lack of incentives — meaning people are paying more for cars than they did a few years ago — and a wealth of recalls across the industry.

A few brands performed worse than others in the study, and we’ve compiled those in this gallery right here. Head on through to see the brands that car buyers are liking the least.

Cadillac

Cadillac

Score (Out of 100): 80

Cadillac, which is the luxury arm of General Motors, has struggled with customer satisfaction, taking seventh place on the list with a score of 80 out of 100. The brand has launched a number of new vehicles over the past few years that have been met with enthusiasm from critics and decent sales numbers, but it still has a ways ago before it is competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to the study.

Notable cars from Cadillac include the Escalade (pictured here), CTS and ATS.

Click here to research Cadillac vehicles

BMW

BMW

Score (Out of 100): 80

Though BMW is one of those brands that youngsters dream of one day owning, it has still struggled with customer satisfaction as of late. It’s not entirely clear why the German automaker is so disliked at the moment, but the brand has a reputation for requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, likely causing its buyers a good deal of grief.

In addition to sporty sedans like the 3 Series and 5 Series (pictured here), BMW has begun offering green cars like the i3 and i8.

Click here to research BMW vehicles

Mazda

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars’ sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100.

Mazda’s current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles

Acura

Acura

Score (Out of 100): 77

It’s surprising to see Acura on this at all, let alone having the lowest customer satisfaction overall. Its parent company, Honda, is among the highest for customer satisfaction, the brand has a sterling reputation for reliability and last year it was in the middle of the pack in this study. Acura certainly hasn’t been wowing anyone with its products, and perhaps its buyers aren’t impressed with how they compare to its competition.

Acura vehicles include the RLX (pictured here), ILX sedan and MDX SUV.

Click here to research Acura vehicles

Cadillac

Cadillac

Score (Out of 100): 80

Cadillac, which is the luxury arm of General Motors, has struggled with customer satisfaction, taking seventh place on the list with a score of 80 out of 100. The brand has launched a number of new vehicles over the past few years that have been met with enthusiasm from critics and decent sales numbers, but it still has a ways ago before it is competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to the study.

Notable cars from Cadillac include the Escalade (pictured here), CTS and ATS.

Click here to research Cadillac vehicles

BMW

BMW

Score (Out of 100): 80

Though BMW is one of those brands that youngsters dream of one day owning, it has still struggled with customer satisfaction as of late. It’s not entirely clear why the German automaker is so disliked at the moment, but the brand has a reputation for requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, likely causing its buyers a good deal of grief.

In addition to sporty sedans like the 3 Series and 5 Series (pictured here), BMW has begun offering green cars like the i3 and i8.

Click here to research BMW vehicles

Mazda

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars’ sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100.

Mazda’s current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles

Acura

Acura

Score (Out of 100): 77

It’s surprising to see Acura on this at all, let alone having the lowest customer satisfaction overall. Its parent company, Honda, is among the highest for customer satisfaction, the brand has a sterling reputation for reliability and last year it was in the middle of the pack in this study. Acura certainly hasn’t been wowing anyone with its products, and perhaps its buyers aren’t impressed with how they compare to its competition.

Acura vehicles include the RLX (pictured here), ILX sedan and MDX SUV.

Click here to research Acura vehicles

Cadillac

Cadillac

Score (Out of 100): 80

Cadillac, which is the luxury arm of General Motors, has struggled with customer satisfaction, taking seventh place on the list with a score of 80 out of 100. The brand has launched a number of new vehicles over the past few years that have been met with enthusiasm from critics and decent sales numbers, but it still has a ways ago before it is competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to the study.

Notable cars from Cadillac include the Escalade (pictured here), CTS and ATS.

Click here to research Cadillac vehicles

BMW

Score (Out of 100): 80

Though BMW is one of those brands that youngsters dream of one day owning, it has still struggled with customer satisfaction as of late. It’s not entirely clear why the German automaker is so disliked at the moment, but the brand has a reputation for requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, likely causing its buyers a good deal of grief.

In addition to sporty sedans like the 3 Series and 5 Series (pictured here), BMW has begun offering green cars like the i3 and i8.

Click here to research BMW vehicles

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars’ sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100.

Mazda’s current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars’ sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100.

Mazda’s current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles

Audi

Score (Out of 100): 79

Audi has seen sales skyrocket in recent years with its large fleet of sporty and sexy luxury vehicles. Still, customers aren’t satisfied with it. Audi scored a 79 out of 100 points to put it near the bottom of all automotive brands. Interestingly, Volkswagen, which is Audi’s parent company, found itself on the list of brands customers are most satisfied with.

Audi vehicles include the S4 (pictured) sedan, Q5 SUV and R8 supercar.

Click here to research Audi vehicles

Jeep

Score (Out of 100): 79

Jeep has been a legendary automotive brand since it made its first appearance during WWII, but it has been suffering as of late. Lackluster offerings with poor reliability have caused the brand to sour with consumers. The good news is that under new ownership Jeep seems to be on its way back up with a growing fleet of solid vehicles.

Jeep SUVs include the Cherokee (pictured), Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Click here to research Jeep vehicles

Dodge

Score (Out of 100): 78

Dodge, which is a brand under Fiat-Chrysler, was the second-worst rated brand for customer satisfaction in the study. This isn’t too terribly surprising. Almost all of its offerings are far from being class-leading, and reliability has been a problem. However, Dodge, like Jeep, is under new ownership and seems to be headed back in the right direction with encouraging new products and concepts.

Vehicles in the Dodge stable include the Dart (pictured), Charger and Challenger.

Click here to research Dodge vehicles

Acura

Score (Out of 100): 77

It’s surprising to see Acura on this at all, let alone having the lowest customer satisfaction overall. Its parent company, Honda, is among the highest for customer satisfaction, the brand has a sterling reputation for reliability and last year it was in the middle of the pack in this study. Acura certainly hasn’t been wowing anyone with its products, and perhaps its buyers aren’t impressed with how they compare to its competition.

Acura vehicles include the RLX (pictured here), ILX sedan and MDX SUV.

Click here to research Acura vehicles

Source: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/most-disliked-car-brands/

Reposted by:

Ralph Paglia | President

ADM Advertising & Consulting, LLC

http://AutomotiveSocial.com

http://RalphPaglia.com

http://LinkedIn.com/in/RPaglia

http://Facebook.com/RPaglia

GoogleFirstGen.png

Twitter and Instagram: @RalphPaglia
http://YouTube.com/RalphPaglia

http://Slideshare.net/RalphPaglia

I am and always will be the optimist… Ralph Paglia

Facebook Advertising Interview of Ralph Paglia by Dennis Yu

Facebook Advertising for Car Dealers?
Check out this video interview of Ralph Paglia by Dennis Yu:

#TravelLikeRalph when you #StepIntoTheTwilightZone

Can Big Data Drive Intelligent Lead Routing?

Big Data… Big Promises… Is It Real?

Big Data... Big Promises... Is It Real?

I am hopeful that the time will soon come when as an industry we will embrace Intelligent Lead Routing powered by the same data aggregation (Big Data) algorithms used in a much less efficient manner today by lead scoring systems.

ILR combined with lead nurturing has the proven potential to drive long term customer retention, while enhancing the ROI from new business acquisition strategies and campaigns.

Imagine that, a system that using intensive training and coaching to show sales pros how to leverage customer communication activities in a manner that recognizes and leverages their own individual strengths to ensure maximum results from each day’s efforts. This has always been a people business, and when we optimize process and match the right customer with the right message at the right time and pair that customer with the right sales resource…. We all win.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia’s iPhone]

Ralph Paglia | President
ADM Advertising & Consulting, LLC

Las Vegas, NV 89108

http://AutomotiveSocial.com

http://RalphPaglia.com

http://LinkedIn.com/in/RPaglia

http://Facebook.com/RPaglia

GoogleFirstGen.png

Twitter and Instagram: @RalphPaglia
http://YouTube.com/RalphPaglia

http://Slideshare.net/RalphPaglia

Secret FTC Investigation of Car Dealers Rejecting Truecar Revealed by Ralph Paglia

page1image5760

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Petitioner,

v.

RALPH PAGLIA, Respondent.

JONATHAN E. NUECHTERLEIN General Counsel

LESLIE RICE MELMAN
Assistant General Counsel for Litigation

IMAD D. ABYAD Attorney

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20580 Telephone: (202) 326-2375 Facsimile: (202) 326-2477 Email: iabyad

Attorneys for Petitioner Federal Trade Commission

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEVADA

Case No. Case 2:14-cv-01480-GMN-CWH

PETITION OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR AN ORDER ENFORCING CIVIL INVESTIGATIVE DEMANDS

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission), pursuant to Section 20 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1, respectfully petitions this Court for an order requiring Respondent, Ralph Paglia, to comply with two civil investigative demands (CIDs) issued in an FTC investigation. The CIDs seek documentary materials, responses to interrogatories, and oral testimony relevant to an ongoing investigation into whether certain participants in the retail automotive industry, including dealers and consultants, may have engaged in “unfair methods of competition” in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, by means of their participation in a concerted refusal to deal (a group boycott).

The Commission submits herewith the Declaration of Melissa Westman-Cherry, designated as Petitioner’s Exhibit (Pet. Exh.) 1, to verify the allegations herein, and alleges as follows:

Jurisdiction and Venue

This Court has jurisdiction to enforce the Commission’s duly issued CIDs under Sections 20(e) and (h) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 57b-1(e), (h). This Court also has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1337(a), and 1345.

2. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to Section 20(e) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(e), because Respondent, Ralph Paglia, is found, resides, or transacts business in this District. Venue is also proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

The Parties

3. Petitioner, the Federal Trade Commission, is an administrative agency of the United States, organized and existing pursuant to the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 41 et seq. Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, prohibits “unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce,” and authorizes and directs the Commission to prevent such conduct. Sections 3 and 6(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 43 & 46(a), authorize the Commission to “prosecute any inquiry necessary to its duties in any part of the United States,” and to “gather and compile information concerning, and to investigate from time to time the organization, business, conduct, practices and management of, any person, partnership, or corporation” subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction. Section 20(c) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(c), authorizes the Commission to issue CIDs that require the recipients to produce documents, prepare answers to interrogatories, or provide oral testimony under oath, relating to the subject of any Commission investigation.

4. Respondent Ralph Paglia resides or is found in this District, and transacts business in this District and throughout the United States. He is President of Automotive Media Partners LLC, which has its principal place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.), ¶5.

The Commission’s Investigation and Civil Investigative Demands

5. On January 17, 2014, the Commission issued a Resolution Authorizing Use of Compulsory Process in Non-Public Investigation, File No. 131-0206 (Pet. Exh. 2). The Compulsory Process Resolution sets forth the nature and scope of the investigation as [t]o determine whether firms in the retail automobile industry, including automobile dealers and industry consultants, may be engaging in, or may have engaged in, conduct violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. §45, as amended, by agreeing to restrain competition, including by agreeing to refuse to deal with TrueCar, Inc.

Pet. Exh. 2, at 1.
6. TrueCar, Inc. is in the business of helping auto dealers market their cars by operating websites that provide extensive information about specific vehicles to prospective car buyers, and that seek to match buyers and sellers. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶2. As part of the investigation, FTC staff is examining whether certain persons or businesses may have organized or participated in a group boycott of, or a concerted refusal to deal with, TrueCar, thereby unlawfully restraining competition. See Pet. Exh. 2 (Compulsory Process Resolution), at 1; Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶2-4. Mr. Paglia provides auto dealers with consulting services, information, and training relating to online marketing. Id. ¶¶5-6. Information related to the subject of the investigation has appeared on websites and web logs (blogs) that Mr. Paglia operates or administers. Id.

7. On May 2, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued a CID (Pet. Exh. 3), requiring Mr. Paglia to produce specified documents and to respond to written questions, no later than May 21, 2014. See Pet. Exh. 3, at 1. To date, Mr. Paglia has not produced any documents or information in response to the May 2 CID. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶8-10.

8. On June 18, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued another CID (Pet. Exh. 4), requiring Mr. Paglia to appear and provide oral testimony under oath at an investigational hearing, which was set for July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. See Pet. Exh. 4, at 1. Mr. Paglia failed to appear at the investigational hearing at the specified time and place. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman- Cherry Decl.) ¶¶11-13.

9. Mr. Paglia’s failures to comply with the May 2 CID and June 18 CID have impeded the Commission’s ongoing investigation. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶14.

Prayer For Relief

WHEREFORE, the Commission invokes the aid of this Court and prays for:

  1. Immediate issuance of an order, substantially in the form attached,

    directing Mr. Paglia to show cause why he should not comply in full with the Commission’s CIDs, and setting forth a briefing schedule pursuant to LR 16.1(c)(4); and

  2. A prompt determination of this matter and entry of an order:
    1. (i) Compelling Mr. Paglia to produce the documents and information specified in the May 2 CID within ten (10) days of such order; and
    2. (ii) Compelling Mr. Paglia to appear and testify under oath, as directed by the June 18 CID, ten (10) days from the date of issuance of such order, or at such later date as the FTC may establish; and

      (iii) Granting such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

Secret FTC Investigation of Car Dealers Rejecting Truecar Revealed by Ralph Paglia

page1image5760

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Petitioner,

v.

RALPH PAGLIA, Respondent.

JONATHAN E. NUECHTERLEIN General Counsel

LESLIE RICE MELMAN
Assistant General Counsel for Litigation

IMAD D. ABYAD Attorney

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20580 Telephone: (202) 326-2375 Facsimile: (202) 326-2477 Email: iabyad

Attorneys for Petitioner Federal Trade Commission

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEVADA

Case No. Case 2:14-cv-01480-GMN-CWH

PETITION OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR AN ORDER ENFORCING CIVIL INVESTIGATIVE DEMANDS

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission), pursuant to Section 20 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1, respectfully petitions this Court for an order requiring Respondent, Ralph Paglia, to comply with two civil investigative demands (CIDs) issued in an FTC investigation. The CIDs seek documentary materials, responses to interrogatories, and oral testimony relevant to an ongoing investigation into whether certain participants in the retail automotive industry, including dealers and consultants, may have engaged in “unfair methods of competition” in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, by means of their participation in a concerted refusal to deal (a group boycott).

The Commission submits herewith the Declaration of Melissa Westman-Cherry, designated as Petitioner’s Exhibit (Pet. Exh.) 1, to verify the allegations herein, and alleges as follows:

Jurisdiction and Venue

This Court has jurisdiction to enforce the Commission’s duly issued CIDs under Sections 20(e) and (h) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 57b-1(e), (h). This Court also has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1337(a), and 1345.

2. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to Section 20(e) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(e), because Respondent, Ralph Paglia, is found, resides, or transacts business in this District. Venue is also proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

The Parties

3. Petitioner, the Federal Trade Commission, is an administrative agency of the United States, organized and existing pursuant to the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 41 et seq. Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, prohibits “unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce,” and authorizes and directs the Commission to prevent such conduct. Sections 3 and 6(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 43 & 46(a), authorize the Commission to “prosecute any inquiry necessary to its duties in any part of the United States,” and to “gather and compile information concerning, and to investigate from time to time the organization, business, conduct, practices and management of, any person, partnership, or corporation” subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction. Section 20(c) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(c), authorizes the Commission to issue CIDs that require the recipients to produce documents, prepare answers to interrogatories, or provide oral testimony under oath, relating to the subject of any Commission investigation.

4. Respondent Ralph Paglia resides or is found in this District, and transacts business in this District and throughout the United States. He is President of Automotive Media Partners LLC, which has its principal place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.), ¶5.

The Commission’s Investigation and Civil Investigative Demands

5. On January 17, 2014, the Commission issued a Resolution Authorizing Use of Compulsory Process in Non-Public Investigation, File No. 131-0206 (Pet. Exh. 2). The Compulsory Process Resolution sets forth the nature and scope of the investigation as [t]o determine whether firms in the retail automobile industry, including automobile dealers and industry consultants, may be engaging in, or may have engaged in, conduct violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. §45, as amended, by agreeing to restrain competition, including by agreeing to refuse to deal with TrueCar, Inc.

Pet. Exh. 2, at 1.
6. TrueCar, Inc. is in the business of helping auto dealers market their cars by operating websites that provide extensive information about specific vehicles to prospective car buyers, and that seek to match buyers and sellers. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶2. As part of the investigation, FTC staff is examining whether certain persons or businesses may have organized or participated in a group boycott of, or a concerted refusal to deal with, TrueCar, thereby unlawfully restraining competition. See Pet. Exh. 2 (Compulsory Process Resolution), at 1; Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶2-4. Mr. Paglia provides auto dealers with consulting services, information, and training relating to online marketing. Id. ¶¶5-6. Information related to the subject of the investigation has appeared on websites and web logs (blogs) that Mr. Paglia operates or administers. Id.

7. On May 2, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued a CID (Pet. Exh. 3), requiring Mr. Paglia to produce specified documents and to respond to written questions, no later than May 21, 2014. See Pet. Exh. 3, at 1. To date, Mr. Paglia has not produced any documents or information in response to the May 2 CID. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶8-10.

8. On June 18, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued another CID (Pet. Exh. 4), requiring Mr. Paglia to appear and provide oral testimony under oath at an investigational hearing, which was set for July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. See Pet. Exh. 4, at 1. Mr. Paglia failed to appear at the investigational hearing at the specified time and place. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman- Cherry Decl.) ¶¶11-13.

9. Mr. Paglia’s failures to comply with the May 2 CID and June 18 CID have impeded the Commission’s ongoing investigation. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶14.

Prayer For Relief

WHEREFORE, the Commission invokes the aid of this Court and prays for:

  1. Immediate issuance of an order, substantially in the form attached,

    directing Mr. Paglia to show cause why he should not comply in full with the Commission’s CIDs, and setting forth a briefing schedule pursuant to LR 16.1(c)(4); and

  2. A prompt determination of this matter and entry of an order:
    1. (i) Compelling Mr. Paglia to produce the documents and information specified in the May 2 CID within ten (10) days of such order; and
    2. (ii) Compelling Mr. Paglia to appear and testify under oath, as directed by the June 18 CID, ten (10) days from the date of issuance of such order, or at such later date as the FTC may establish; and

      (iii) Granting such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

Secret FTC Investigation of Car Dealers Rejecting Truecar Revealed by Ralph Paglia

page1image5760

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Petitioner,

v.

RALPH PAGLIA, Respondent.

JONATHAN E. NUECHTERLEIN General Counsel

LESLIE RICE MELMAN
Assistant General Counsel for Litigation

IMAD D. ABYAD Attorney

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20580 Telephone: (202) 326-2375 Facsimile: (202) 326-2477 Email: iabyad

Attorneys for Petitioner Federal Trade Commission

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEVADA

Case No. Case 2:14-cv-01480-GMN-CWH

PETITION OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR AN ORDER ENFORCING CIVIL INVESTIGATIVE DEMANDS

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission), pursuant to Section 20 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1, respectfully petitions this Court for an order requiring Respondent, Ralph Paglia, to comply with two civil investigative demands (CIDs) issued in an FTC investigation. The CIDs seek documentary materials, responses to interrogatories, and oral testimony relevant to an ongoing investigation into whether certain participants in the retail automotive industry, including dealers and consultants, may have engaged in “unfair methods of competition” in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, by means of their participation in a concerted refusal to deal (a group boycott).

The Commission submits herewith the Declaration of Melissa Westman-Cherry, designated as Petitioner’s Exhibit (Pet. Exh.) 1, to verify the allegations herein, and alleges as follows:

Jurisdiction and Venue

This Court has jurisdiction to enforce the Commission’s duly issued CIDs under Sections 20(e) and (h) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 57b-1(e), (h). This Court also has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1337(a), and 1345.

2. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to Section 20(e) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(e), because Respondent, Ralph Paglia, is found, resides, or transacts business in this District. Venue is also proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

The Parties

3. Petitioner, the Federal Trade Commission, is an administrative agency of the United States, organized and existing pursuant to the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 41 et seq. Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, prohibits “unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce,” and authorizes and directs the Commission to prevent such conduct. Sections 3 and 6(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 43 & 46(a), authorize the Commission to “prosecute any inquiry necessary to its duties in any part of the United States,” and to “gather and compile information concerning, and to investigate from time to time the organization, business, conduct, practices and management of, any person, partnership, or corporation” subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction. Section 20(c) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(c), authorizes the Commission to issue CIDs that require the recipients to produce documents, prepare answers to interrogatories, or provide oral testimony under oath, relating to the subject of any Commission investigation.

4. Respondent Ralph Paglia resides or is found in this District, and transacts business in this District and throughout the United States. He is President of Automotive Media Partners LLC, which has its principal place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.), ¶5.

The Commission’s Investigation and Civil Investigative Demands

5. On January 17, 2014, the Commission issued a Resolution Authorizing Use of Compulsory Process in Non-Public Investigation, File No. 131-0206 (Pet. Exh. 2). The Compulsory Process Resolution sets forth the nature and scope of the investigation as [t]o determine whether firms in the retail automobile industry, including automobile dealers and industry consultants, may be engaging in, or may have engaged in, conduct violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. §45, as amended, by agreeing to restrain competition, including by agreeing to refuse to deal with TrueCar, Inc.

Pet. Exh. 2, at 1.
6. TrueCar, Inc. is in the business of helping auto dealers market their cars by operating websites that provide extensive information about specific vehicles to prospective car buyers, and that seek to match buyers and sellers. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶2. As part of the investigation, FTC staff is examining whether certain persons or businesses may have organized or participated in a group boycott of, or a concerted refusal to deal with, TrueCar, thereby unlawfully restraining competition. See Pet. Exh. 2 (Compulsory Process Resolution), at 1; Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶2-4. Mr. Paglia provides auto dealers with consulting services, information, and training relating to online marketing. Id. ¶¶5-6. Information related to the subject of the investigation has appeared on websites and web logs (blogs) that Mr. Paglia operates or administers. Id.

7. On May 2, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued a CID (Pet. Exh. 3), requiring Mr. Paglia to produce specified documents and to respond to written questions, no later than May 21, 2014. See Pet. Exh. 3, at 1. To date, Mr. Paglia has not produced any documents or information in response to the May 2 CID. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶8-10.

8. On June 18, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued another CID (Pet. Exh. 4), requiring Mr. Paglia to appear and provide oral testimony under oath at an investigational hearing, which was set for July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. See Pet. Exh. 4, at 1. Mr. Paglia failed to appear at the investigational hearing at the specified time and place. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman- Cherry Decl.) ¶¶11-13.

9. Mr. Paglia’s failures to comply with the May 2 CID and June 18 CID have impeded the Commission’s ongoing investigation. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶14.

Prayer For Relief

WHEREFORE, the Commission invokes the aid of this Court and prays for:

  1. Immediate issuance of an order, substantially in the form attached,

    directing Mr. Paglia to show cause why he should not comply in full with the Commission’s CIDs, and setting forth a briefing schedule pursuant to LR 16.1(c)(4); and

  2. A prompt determination of this matter and entry of an order:
    1. (i) Compelling Mr. Paglia to produce the documents and information specified in the May 2 CID within ten (10) days of such order; and
    2. (ii) Compelling Mr. Paglia to appear and testify under oath, as directed by the June 18 CID, ten (10) days from the date of issuance of such order, or at such later date as the FTC may establish; and

      (iii) Granting such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

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