Dear Driving for Dollars,
I have been shopping for a used car and have been using various car pricing websites to look up whether the prices I’m seeing are fair or not. It seems like every website has a different car price. I work hard for my money and don’t want to get ripped off. How can I be sure I’m paying a fair price for a used car?
— Rhonda

Dear Rhonda,
The discrepancies you see in car prices for the same automobile among pricing sites has to do a bit with their data and a lot about how they process it. Each vehicle-pricing site pulls sales data and then processes it using somewhat different methodologies. The result of this is that you see car prices vary between the sites.

As you do your research, consider the car pricing information you get to be a guideline for what you should pay and do your best to negotiate to the lower end of that guideline. Whether you are buying from a private party or a dealer, print out the full pages of the pricing estimates that you find online and bring them with you as ammunition for your negotiations.

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