Unfortunately, car buying experiences are not always pleasant. Many times, consumers are fooled into buying a car that is not as reliable as it seems. When this happens, citizens have the option of moving forward legally to receive compensation and/or a refund for their troubles.
Does Wisconsin Have a Lemon Law?
Because of how frequently situations like this occur, most states have a Lemon Law set up to help people receive a fair outcome after an unfortunate experience. To learn more about the details of Wisconsin’s Lemon Law, do some research online.
What is Lemon Law in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin Lemon Law
Wisconsin Statutes Annotated, 218.0171
218.0171 Repair, replacement and refund under new motor vehicle warranties.
(1) In this section:
(a) “Collateral costs” means expenses incurred by a consumer in connection with the repair of a nonconformity, including the costs of obtaining alternative transportation.
(b) “Consumer” means any of the following:
- The purchaser of a new motor vehicle, if the motor vehicle was purchased from a motor vehicle dealer for purposes other than resale.
- A person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred for purposes other than resale, if the transfer occurs before the expiration of an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle.
- A person who may enforce the warranty.
- A person who leases a motor vehicle from a motor vehicle lessor under a written lease.
(bd) “Demonstrator” means used primarily for the purpose of demonstration to the public.
(bg) “Early termination cost” means any expense or obligation a motor vehicle lessor incurs as a result of both the termination of a written lease before the termination date set forth in that lease and the return of a motor vehicle to a manufacturer under sub. (2) (b) 3. “Early termination cost” includes a penalty for prepayment under a finance arrangement.
(bj) “Early termination savings” means any expense or obligation a motor vehicle lessor avoids as a result of both the termination of a written lease before the termination date set forth in that lease and the return of a motor vehicle to a manufacturer under sub. (2) (b) 3. “Early termination savings” includes an interest charge the motor vehicle lessor would have paid to finance the motor vehicle or, if the motor vehicle lessor does not finance the motor vehicle, the difference between the total amount for which the lease obligates the consumer during the period of the lease term remaining after the early termination and the present value of that amount at the date of the early termination.
(bp) “Executive” means used primarily by an executive of a licensed manufacturer, distributor or dealer, and not used for demonstration to the public.
(c) “Manufacturer” means a manufacturer as defined in s. 218.0101 (20) and agents of the manufacturer, including an importer, a distributor, factory branch, distributor branch and any warrantors of the manufacturer’s motor vehicles, but not including a motor vehicle dealer.
(d) “Motor vehicle” means any motor driven vehicle required to be registered under ch. 341 or exempt from registration unders. 341.05 (2), including a demonstrator or executive vehicle not titled or titled by a manufacturer or a motor vehicle dealer, which a consumer purchases or accepts transfer of in this state. “Motor vehicle” does not mean a moped, semitrailer or trailer designed for use in combination with a truck or truck tractor.
(e) “Motor vehicle dealer” has the meaning given under s. 218.0101 (23) (a).
(em) “Motor vehicle lessor” means a person who holds title to a motor vehicle leased to a lessee, or who holds the lessor’s rights, under a written lease.
(f) “Nonconformity” means a condition or defect which substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle, and is covered by an express warranty applicable to the motor vehicle or to a component of the motor vehicle, but does not include a condition or defect which is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle by a consumer.
(h) “Reasonable attempt to repair” means any of the following occurring within the term of an express warranty applicable to a new motor vehicle or within one year after first delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is sooner:
- The same nonconformity with the warranty is subject to repair by the manufacturer, motor vehicle lessor or any of the manufacturer’s authorized motor vehicle dealers at least 4 times and the nonconformity continues.
- The motor vehicle is out of service for an aggregate of at least 30 days because of warranty nonconformities. Time during which repair services are not available to the consumer because of flood or other natural disaster, war, invasion, fire, or strike may not be included in the 30-day time period under this subdivision.
(a) If a new motor vehicle does not conform to an applicable express warranty and the consumer reports the nonconformity to the manufacturer, the motor vehicle lessor or any of the manufacturer’s authorized motor vehicle dealers and makes the motor vehicle available for repair before the expiration of the warranty or one year after first delivery of the motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is sooner, the nonconformity shall be repaired.
- If after a reasonable attempt to repair the nonconformity is not repaired, the manufacturer shall carry out the requirement under subd. 2.or 3., whichever is appropriate.
- At the direction of a consumer described under sub. (1) (b) 1., 2.or 3., do one of the following:
- Accept return of the motor vehicle and replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle and refund any collateral costs.
- Accept return of the motor vehicle and refund to the consumer and to any holder of a perfected security interest in the consumer’s motor vehicle, as their interest may appear, the full purchase price plus any sales tax, finance charge, amount paid by the consumer at the point of sale and collateral costs, less a reasonable allowance for use. Under this subdivision, a reasonable allowance for use may not exceed the amount obtained by multiplying the full purchase price of the motor vehicle by a fraction, the denominator of which is 100,000 or, for a motorcycle, 20,000, and the numerator of which is the number of miles the motor vehicle was driven before the consumer first reported the nonconformity to the motor vehicle dealer.
- a.With respect to a consumer described in sub. (1) (b) 4., accept return of the motor vehicle, refund to the motor vehicle lessor and to any holder of a perfected security interest in the motor vehicle, as their interest may appear, the current value of the written lease and refund to the consumer the amount the consumer paid under the written lease plus any sales tax and collateral costs, less a reasonable allowance for use.
- Under this subdivision, the current value of the written lease equals the total amount for which that lease obligates the consumer during the period of the lease remaining after its early termination, plus the motor vehicle dealer’s early termination costs and the value of the motor vehicle at the lease expiration date if the lease sets forth that value, less the motor vehicle lessor’s early termination savings.
- Under this subdivision, a reasonable allowance for use may not exceed the amount obtained by multiplying the total amount for which the written lease obligates the consumer by a fraction, the denominator of which is 100,000 and the numerator of which is the number of miles the consumer drove the motor vehicle before first reporting the nonconformity to the manufacturer, motor vehicle lessor or motor vehicle dealer.
(c) To receive a comparable new motor vehicle or a refund due under par. (b) 1. or 2., a consumer described under sub. (1) (b) 1., 2. or 3. shall offer to the manufacturer of the motor vehicle having the nonconformity to transfer title of that motor vehicle to that manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the consumer with the comparable new motor vehicle or refund. When the manufacturer provides the new motor vehicle or refund, the consumer shall return the motor vehicle having the nonconformity to the manufacturer and provide the manufacturer with the certificate of title and all endorsements necessary to transfer title to the manufacturer. If another person is in possession of the certificate of title, as shown by the records of the department of transportation, that person shall, upon request of the consumer, provide the certificate to the manufacturer or to the consumer.
- To receive a refund due under par. (b) 3., a consumer described under sub. (1) (b) 4.shall offer to the manufacturer of the motor vehicle having the nonconformity to return that motor vehicle to that manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the refund to the consumer. When the manufacturer provides the refund, the consumer shall return the motor vehicle having the nonconformity to the manufacturer.
- To receive a refund due under par. (b) 3., a motor vehicle lessor shall offer to the manufacturer of the motor vehicle having the nonconformity to transfer title of that motor vehicle to that manufacturer. No later than 30 days after that offer, the manufacturer shall provide the refund to the motor vehicle lessor. When the manufacturer provides the refund, the motor vehicle lessor shall provide to the manufacturer the certificate of title and all endorsements necessary to transfer title to the manufacturer. If another person is in possession of the certificate of title, as shown by the records of the department of transportation, that person shall, upon request of the motor vehicle lessor, provide the certificate to the manufacturer or to the motor vehicle lessor.
- No person may enforce the lease against the consumer after the consumer receives a refund due under par. (b) 3.
(cq) Upon payment of a refund to a consumer under par. (b) 2. b., the manufacturer shall provide to the consumer a written statement that specifies the trade-in amount previously applied under s. 77.51 (12m) (b) 5. or 6. or (15b) (b) 5. or 6.toward the sales price of the motor vehicle having the nonconformity and the date on which the manufacturer provided the refund.
(d) No motor vehicle returned by a consumer or motor vehicle lessor in this state under par. (b), or by a consumer or motor vehicle lessor in another state under a similar law of that state, may be sold or leased again in this state unless full disclosure of the reasons for return is made to any prospective buyer or lessee.
(e) The department of revenue shall refund to the manufacturer any sales tax which the manufacturer refunded to the consumer under par. (b) if the manufacturer provides to the department of revenue a written request for a refund along with evidence that the sales tax was paid when the motor vehicle was purchased and that the manufacturer refunded the sales tax to the consumer. The department may not refund any sales tax under this paragraph if it has made a refund in connection with the same motor vehicle under par. (f).
(f) The department of revenue shall refund to a consumer described under sub. (1) (b) 1., 2. or 3. all or part of the sales tax paid by the consumer on the purchase of a new motor vehicle, based on the amount of the refund of the purchase price of the motor vehicle actually received by the consumer, if all of the following apply:
- The consumer returned the motor vehicle to its manufacturer and received a refund of all or part of the purchase price but not the corresponding amount of sales tax.
- The consumer bought the new motor vehicle after November 2, 1983.
- The consumer provides the department of revenue with a written request for a refund of the sales tax along with evidence that the consumer received a certain amount as a refund of the purchase price of the motor vehicle from the manufacturer, that the sales tax was paid when the motor vehicle was bought new and that the manufacturer did not refund the sales tax to the consumer.
- The department of revenue has not made a refund under par. (e)in connection with the motor vehicle.
(3) If there is available to the consumer an informal dispute settlement procedure which is certified under sub. (4), the consumer may not bring an action under sub. (7) unless he or she first resorts to that procedure.
(a) The department of transportation shall adopt rules specifying the requirements with which each informal dispute settlement procedure shall comply. The rules shall require each person establishing an informal dispute settlement procedure to do all of the following:
- Provide rights and procedures at least as favorable to the consumer as are required under 16 CFR Part 703, in effect on November 3, 1983.
- If after a reasonable attempt to repair the nonconformity is not repaired, require the manufacturer to provide a remedy as set forth under sub. (2) (b).
(b) The department of transportation shall investigate each informal dispute settlement procedure provided in this state to determine whether it complies with the rules adopted under par. (a). The department shall certify each informal dispute settlement procedure which complies. The department may revoke certification if it determines that an informal dispute settlement procedure no longer complies with the rules promulgated under par. (a). Annually, the department shall publish a report evaluating the informal dispute settlement procedures provided in this state, stating whether those procedures are certified and stating the reasons for the failure of any procedure to obtain certification or for the revocation of any certification.
(c) Any person who establishes an informal dispute settlement procedure the certification of which is denied or revoked by the department of transportation may appeal that denial or revocation under ch. 227.
(d) Annually, any person who establishes an informal dispute settlement procedure shall file with the department of transportation a copy of the annual audit required under 16 CFR Part 703 or a substantially similar audit and any additional information the department requires in order to evaluate informal dispute settlement procedures.
(e) The department of transportation may consider whether a manufacturer obtains certification under this subsection in determining whether to issue a manufacturer’s license to do business in this state.
(5) This section does not limit rights or remedies available to a consumer under any other law.
(6) Any waiver by a consumer of rights under this section is void.
(7) In addition to pursuing any other remedy, a consumer may bring an action to recover for any damages caused by a violation of this section. The court shall award a consumer who prevails in such an action twice the amount of any pecuniary loss, together with costs, disbursements and reasonable attorney fees, and any equitable relief the court determines appropriate.
When does a vehicle qualify as a Lemon in Wisconsin?
Lemon qualifications vary from state to state. Some states have higher qualifications while others are not quite as picky. Read about Wisconsin’s Lemon Law to find out if your vehicle will qualify. If you cannot seem to figure it out on your own, reach out to one of our attorneys for assistance.
You can find a contact form on our website. Once you fill out the form and submit it to our office, you can expect to hear back from us shortly. We can also be reached over the phone at (888)353-0456. Keep in mind that we offer specialized expertise when it comes to fighting for you with your Lemon Law case. Call us today to learn more about all we have gleaned from working on legal cases with auto manufacturing companies. We know the kind of legal team they come armed with and we know how to fight it.
Is a used car covered under Wisconsin Lemon Law?
Because of the nature of used cars, they are generally expected to break down and have issues, therefore it is hard to qualify a used car as a lemon in Wisconsin. New cars come with higher expectations and active warrantees, making it easier to qualify. If you happen to have purchased a used car with a warrantee, reach out to us to discuss your options.
When do I need a Wisconsin based Lemon Law Attorney?
Only you can decide when you need to hire a Lemon Law attorney. If you are still in the process of figuring out whether your vehicle will qualify and you are having trouble, you may want to hire an attorney sooner than later. If you think you can handle the first steps on your own, you can always hire an attorney when you are sure you are ready.
How do Lemon Law Attorneys in Wisconsin protect my rights?
Effective action takes knowledge. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced with Lemon Law cases and are therefore able to protect your legal rights more efficiently than you would be able to do on your own. Our attorneys will also keep you informed and teach you about your rights, so you know what is happening at all times.
Experienced attorneys also know that each case is different from the next. There is not a copy/paste approach for all Lemon Law cases. Each one requires a different game plan. Having one of our attorneys on your side will keep you from making the wrong moves.
How long do Lemon Law cases in Wisconsin typically take to get resolved?
Because of the unpredictability of Lemon Law, it is difficult to say how long your case will take to resolve. It is a good idea to sit down with one of our attorneys to have an initial consultation and lay out all the details of your situation. After hearing the specifics, we will have a better idea of the time frame.
While the fact that some Lemon Law cases can take several months to resolve can seem daunting, our attorneys are committed to keeping you in the loop throughout the entire process. You will never have to wonder what steps are being taken.
How much will a Wisconsin Lemon Attorney cost to hire?
You will not be held responsible for paying the legal fees accrued throughout your case. Wisconsin’s state statutes say that the auto manufacturer involved will be held financially responsible.
What are some of the areas that that Lemon Law Lawyers in Wisconsin cover?
If you have purchased a malfunctioning vehicle in Wisconsin and are ready to move forward, you can find us in any of the following major cities and more:
- Green Bay
- Eau Claire
- West Allis
- La Crosse
- Fond du Lac
- New Berlin
- Menomonee Falls
- Oak Creek
- West Bend
- Sun Prairie
- Stevens Point
- Mount Pleasant
- De Pere
- South Milwaukee
- Pleasant Prairie
- Wisconsin Rapids
No matter the complexity of your case, you should not have to go through it alone. Hire an experienced attorney to walk you through the legal system today.