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Pricehub: Used cars & price transparency

Publishing & Media

Of all the markets that could benefit from increased price transparency, the one for used cars surely ranks near the very top. Pricing sites have emerged in one area after another—including Zillow for home buyers—but now used-car buyers finally have one of their very own with the launch last fall of PriceHub. San Francisco-based PriceHub was created by two car enthusiasts who have collectively bought, owned and sold more than 30 (mostly used) cars over the last decade. They observed that while car buyers can refer to published invoice prices, MSRP prices, book values, trade-in values and other estimates of valuation, there was no source of real, actual car transaction prices. PriceHub, now in beta, is dedicated to providing that price transparency as well as a community for people to share and discuss prices. Users of the site can search for a car’s make and model, and PriceHub will furnish a chart listing transactions made, including model year, mileage, condition, location, transaction date and actual sale price. People who have just bought a used car can submit the price they paid, thereby adding more data to the list, and PriceHub gathers sale prices from various auctions, agencies and dealers as well. Used-car sellers, meanwhile, can get a better indication of how much they can reasonably charge given their car’s make, year, options and mileage. Sellers on Craigslist have even been spotted using PriceHub to justify their asking price, according to the company blog. Exposing pricing information for all to see is an example of what our sister site would call transparency tyranny—a phenomenon that’s informing buyers and leaving sellers with no place to hide. The lesson for companies: Offer real value, or pay the (figurative) price yourself! Spotted by: Bill McMahon



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