Kia Doesn't Care About You

The Letter 

Jan 2008 -- Kia finally contacted us. We're doing better now. See what happened.

Dec 2007 -- We've decided to publish this letter after much aggravation and little response from Kia regarding problems with our 2006 Kia Sedona minivan, and poor dealer experience.

Since sending this letter to Kia representatives in August 2007, we have been back to the dealer several times for issues like a loose driver's seat and poor door seals which result in constant squeaking. 

No one has ever apologized for our numerous service visits to the dealer  (nor does anyone seem to realize we are there so frequently). 

The one reply we did receive was in response to an email I sent to Kia via support, with this letter attached. In effect, the response was "Next time you have to go to the dealer, contact us first." Needless to say, we were very unsatisfied.

It is not an option right now to replace our van with another car. Also, we like having a minivan, and the Sedona, despite its constant upkeep at the dealer, is useful for our growing family. 

We know the Sedona has its share of positive reviews -- we bought the car based on positive reviews by family members -- but wanted to have our voice heard, even if Kia refuses to listen.

Sincerely, Kathy and Matt



This page is just one of many ways I came up with to get Kia's attention. I think social media can hurt a brand, and I've decided to take some steps to see if this is true


The following is a letter sent to Kia representatives detailing our customer experience. Had we known then what we know now, we would have chosen a used Honda Odyssey.


August 30, 2007

To whom it may concern:

I’d like to share my experience with Kia.

My husband and I decided to purchase a minivan just before our second child was born (February 2007). After much research and test driving, we decided on a Kia Sedona for these reasons:

1)     Affordability (we were able to buy a new 2006 Sedona for the same price as a used 2006 Kia, or a used Honda Odyssey)

2)     100,000 mile warranty (we figured that with a tighter budget with two children, it would be advantageous to have this warranty)

3)     We liked the way the Sedona drove, how spacious it was, and its modern features (the used Odyssey had a good reputation, but was very ordinary-feeling)


However, our problems with the Kia experience happened almost immediately.



The day we purchased the Kia started well. We felt like we got a fair price, and the salesperson was very friendly and fun to talk to. The negotiating process was fine, although I was not allowed to speak with the finance person directly when I had a question about the purchase agreement. Eventually, a manager was able to explain clearly (in a manner the sales person and the finance person could not) why we were being charged a certain fee.

One other thing that bothered me about the sales process was the prominent display of the satisfaction evaluation form on the salesman’s desk. It stated, in highlighted text, that if the salesman did not get 100 percent on the evaluation form from us, that they would be dinged in commission. 

I found this highly offensive. I really liked the salesman, but I thought giving a 100 percent did not leave room to offer any constructive feedback, and I felt pressured to give a 100 percent just because I liked him. But was the whole process worth 100 percent? No. When the person called a week later to talk about this evaluation, I believe I gave a 100 percent, but I let them know I did not like the way their satisfaction survey worked.

After 2.5 hours of test driving and negotiating, we were ready to sign the paperwork. But it took 3 hours to finally meet with the person in charge of the paperwork! He was new, he was the only one working that day in that department, and there were two people ahead of us. 

Our salesperson stayed with us the entire time, got us drinks, and chatted, but at 8 months pregnant it was a long ordeal. Finally, after roughly 6 hours at Hatfield Kia and a certificate for 2 free oil changes for our wait, we drove away happily in our new van.


It took about a week to sort out the financial aspect of the purchase (getting the check from our bank sent to Kia). Then Kia told us that they would send the title to us so we could get the license plates. However, after waiting 2 weeks, with only one week left until the temporary plates expired, we still did not have the title. 

To compound the problem, it turned out that the reason the title hadn’t been sent was because the finance person had a typo on the original paperwork and asked us to come back and resign everything. We did so, with our 18 month old in tow, me now 8.5 months pregnant, and in freezing cold winter weather.

When the title still hadn’t been sent to us, we were asked to come in and pick it up at the dealership (please note Hatfield Kia is at least 25 minutes from our home). When my husband arrived, he found out that Kia had us confused with a person with a similar name (Katherine Willet or something like that), and they didn’t have our title after all. 

We were issued another temporary plate with a one week extension. I had to call NUMEROUS people to get this situation clarified (including a neighboring dealer, not Kia, but owned by the same company). 

Finally, the title was express delivered to our home 2 days before the temporary plate expired. Now, I had to get new plates for the van immediately, and had to bring my son with me to the BMV and wait in line, now 9 months pregnant, in the freezing cold winter weather.

We truly hoped that was the end to our Kia problems. But it wasn’t.



Four months later the back passenger door handle stopped working, and the lumbar support in the driver’s side seat was broken. We made an appointment to bring it in and drop it off. 

This is difficult because both my husband and I have to go together, with both children, before or after his work (which is always during rush hour), in order to have a car to drive back. 

That day (a Monday) Kia let us know they did not have the door or lumbar part available and had to order it. We decided to leave the car at the dealership because we hoped the part would come in that week, the car could then be fixed, and we could pick it up on Friday. I drove my husband to and from work that week.

But by Friday the part still had not arrived, so we picked the car up that day. We did not bring it back for 2 weeks because we went on vacation. But imagine our annoyance when we returned from vacation and still had not been notified that the part had come in! We had to call ourselves. 

Once again, we brought the car in to be fixed, which happened quickly, and we picked up the car (again). A couple days later, we got a letter from Kia – a copy of a copy form letter, no less – that let us know the part had arrived. For the problem we had just been in to have fixed. I threw it out in disgust.

Then, within a week, the inside door handle of the same door broke. I brought it in again. I took my two children into the waiting room and tried to distract them until the handle was fixed. The woman at the service desk was very nice. 

However, I was extremely annoyed when she came in and told me that the problem was the child safety lock, which I was positive I had checked. When I brought my children back out to the car and strapped them in, I retried the door and IT STILL DIDN’T WORK! It was not the safety lock that was the problem. She has written the wrong thing down on the paperwork, but it was the INSIDE handle not the OUTSIDE handle that didn’t work. 

So I took both children out of the car (again), brought them into the waiting room (again), and waited (again). When the door was fixed (“a cable came loose,” she said) I left for home. No apology for the endless visits, just a smile.

Oddly enough, the next day I had a call on my answering machine from Kia that said our part was in and to call to make an appointment. I had no idea what this was in reference to. At this point, I thought Hatfield Kia was incredibly unorganized and unprofessional.

It is now 2 weeks later, and guess what? The same inside door handle doesn’t work. Again! I just called to schedule an appointment to bring it in. Again! With two children in tow. Again! I would have thought that the service person could have brought up our past service history over the phone, would have recognized that we’ve been in countless times this summer. Maybe offered an apology. But, no. Obviously, I am beyond ticked off. I don’t want to talk to another Kia service person again. It is too aggravating.

This is not the first time we have bought a new car. However, our experience has been very different. When people ask me about the Kia, I explain to them that Kia needs a 100,000 mile warranty to get any business. And, that if I had to do it over, we’d have bought a used Odyssey.

Purchased a Kia Sedona from Hatfield Kia, Columbus, OH, in February 2007

Hatfield Kia

1455 Automall Drive

Columbus, OH 43228

Steve Welch, Service Manager

Tim Moore, Sales Manager


Kia Motors Corporation

111 Peters Canyon Rd.
Irvine, CA 92606

BongGou Lee, President

Len Hunt, EVP, COO

Phil Kelley, VP Sales

Don Pearce, VP Customer Service

Ian Bevis, VP Marketing

Greg Silvestri, Director of Regional Operations