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Why MSRP and Invoice Prices Can Sometimes be Wrong

As you shop around and compare car prices online, you may notice that MSRP and Invoice prices found on various web sites don't always match your local dealer's prices.

This doesn't necessarily mean the dealers are lying. It's actually quite common to find prices that don't match up exactly. This can be a bit frustrating at times, but there's several reasons why this occurs.

First of all, car price information is distributed via 3rd party data providers. Sometimes they make mistakes and the prices you see on Edmunds.com may be a little different than what you find on Yahoo Autos.

Some manufacturers or distributors charge dealers a fee to cover advertising expenses, which they add to the Invoice price. These may not show up in the pricing data. There can also be port and prep fees if the vehicle is imported, and sometimes these fees are not included in the online prices.

A final reason why MSRP and Invoice prices may differ among various sources is because some manufacturers raise vehicle prices throughout the year. Depending on how long the car has been sitting on the lots, the price you see on the window sticker may be out-dated.

These price discrepancies are usually minimal and rarely exceed a few hundred dollars. To get the true price of any vehicle, you will need to see the actual MSRP window sticker and make sure you get a copy of the dealer's invoice.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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