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TOTW: Is Fair Price really fair?

TOTW Better Way 400

What’s in a name? In the case of “Fair Price,” not so much!

The term Fair Price has been co-opted by online car-buying services like TrueCar (also powers AAA, Consumer Reports, and USAA), Edmunds, and Costco. A more fitting term would be OK Price, but that doesn’t have nearly the same marketing appeal. Imagine the commercial–“get less hassle and an OK price!”

Why only OK?

Buying services depend on dealer participation. Services often have measures in place to eliminate supposedly low-ball quotes. Dealers revolt when services share too much information with consumers–the best transaction prices, for example. TrueCar almost went bankrupt in 2012 before they learned.  So the dealer profits, the website profits, and you pay more.

What’s fair about that?

Photo: Bigstockphoto,Orla