The Four Words That Will Always Turn Me off from Buying a Car

I am planning to replace my beloved Prius this summer. She’s been a great car, but with over 160,000 miles on her, it’s time to move on. I’ve been combing certified pre-owned sites, but Kia just knocked themselves out of the running with four words: “Call dealer for price“.

Here’s what annoys me so much about this — it requires me to do a great deal of legwork to even determine if this is a car worth pursuing. There’s no way a dealership is going to answer the phone, tell me the price, and hang up with everyone happy. This is a ruse to get me to call the dealership, plain and simple. It’s not super uncommon, and I have gotten very used to seeing 3 or 4 of these types of listings on other car manufacturer’s sites. Honestly, I mostly use it as a barometer for dealerships I won’t be calling.


But Kia takes this to an art form. The first 21 listings for certified pre-owned Kias are all “Call dealer for price”. Worst of all, Kia lists these first if you sort from cheapest to most expensive. I’ve capped my search at $20,000, and I have no idea where some of these fall in that budget. There’s a Kia Soul + listed with 15,500 miles and one owner — is that $15,000? $18,000? I have no idea, and it’s not special enough for me to be subjected to an onslaught of dealer calls to find out.

Meanwhile, I can head over to Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota, and get actual prices on CPO vehicles. I get that dealerships play price games, especially with in-demand new cars and with non-certified used cars. But if it’s part of a CPO program, the pricing shouldn’t be this opaque. Car buying can be a frustrating and stressful process, especially if you’re doing your own legwork and not going through Truecar or Costco. Certified pre-owned vehicles aren’t hard to find, and in the sub-$20,000 range, there’s a ton of competition. Kia just shot themselves in the foot, because I won’t bother with them as my search moves forwards. There are too many car companies and sites that are more than willing to clarify costs — obfuscating them makes Kia seemed old-fashioned and slimy.

What’s your take on used car listings? Does “call dealer for price” bug you too?

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About the Author

Carly Z
Carly has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to her first PDA (a Palm M100). She quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. She loves writing about ebooks because they combine her two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?