Dealerships' Latest Online Car Shopping Tactic Puts 'Call for Price' to Shame

Online car shopping should not be difficult, but some dealerships continue to sabotage the process. One of the more frustrating phrases is when a dealer puts “call for price” on their ads, but I found a new one that is even worse: “call for mileage.”

I discovered this phenomenon when the Jalopnik team was working on our weekly What Car Should You Buy column, when Jalopnik Big Cheese, Patrick George, spotted a sweet BMW Z8 for our reader who was looking for an “exotic” for under $130,000. That car was what I consider suspiciously cheap, given the market for Z8s.

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And then I spotted it, the explanation for the low price.

“Call for mileage.”

Just like the call-for-price tactic, the subtext here is that dealer knows that whatever this number is, it is likely not going to be acceptable for most buyers. Of course, this particular ad is pretty silly because you don’t need to call. You just need to scroll a few pictures in to see the odometer that reads a healthy 156,163 on this BMW Z8.

On the call-for-price move, I can understand what the dealer is trying to do, which is convince the buyer to come in and haggle in person. Of course, this would put the negotiation advantage in the dealer’s corner. But I just can’t fathom what the play is on getting folks to call for mileage. Does the dealer honestly expect someone to call about a $125,000 Z8, tell them that the car has over 150,000 miles and then say “Well, it is in really good condition” to score a sale?

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About the author

Tom McParland

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)