Wisconsin Lemon Law

Could the Wisconsin lemon law help you resolve your car issue? If you have purchased or leased a defective new vehicle, understanding if the lemon law of Wisconsin applies to you could be the first step toward receiving compensation. The term lemon law refers to consumer products that are defective or develop issues even after numerous repair attempts.

The law lemon Wisconsin has been created to protect consumers from such defective products. Different states have different laws pertaining to if a car qualifies as a lemon. Below you’ll find a summary of the law lemon Wisconsin, what you should do if you think your car is a lemon, and lemon law resources.

New Vs. Used Car

One of the main things to consider as to whether Wisconsin’s lemon law applies to your case is whether your vehicle is new vs. used. A majority of lemon law state statutes, including Wisconsin, apply only to new cars. However, some states do have provisions under their used car lemon laws. 

The issue is specifically linked to your vehicle’s warranty. New cars are sold with vehicle warranties that specify coverage for a specified number of miles or months. It is under the umbrella of this warranty that the lemon law generally applies. If your state does not have specified lemon laws for used cars and you purchased your used car with a warranty, federal lemon laws may apply.

Summary of Wisconsin Lemon Law

The following are the key aspects of the law lemon Wisconsin. In order for your vehicle to qualify under the lemon law, the following conditions must be met:

• The law covers new vehicles, registered (or transferred) in this state, including demonstrators, non-resident or foreign registered vehicles purchased, leased or transferred in this state, except mopeds, semi-trailers or trailers designed for use in combination with a truck or truck tractor.

• In order to qualify, the vehicle must have had at least 4 repair attempts - 30 days out of service.

• The coverage period is the express warranty period or 1 year, whichever occurs first.

If the above conditions are met, under the law lemon Wisconsin the manufacture or dealer is required to do the following:

• For purchased vehicles, accept return of the motor vehicle and replace the motor vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle and refund any collateral costs, or

• 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.

• In regards to leased vehicles, 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.

What Should You Do If You Think Your Car Is A Lemon?

First, if you want to possibly make a lemon law claim, you’ll need to gather all records associated with the vehicle. Gather detailed records of all problems, repairs performed, and the amount of time your car is unavailable while repairs are being made. Without these documents, proving that your car qualifies as a lemon will be a challenge. If you did not collect documents when problems first arose, ask the dealer for the repair records.

To help you organize your documentation, click on this link for a repair log: Lemon Law Repair Log 

Second, in order to potentially invoke the Wisconsin lemon law, you must communicate with the dealer attempting to fix the vehicle that you feel your car qualifies. If the dealer is not complying, contact the manufacturer directly, detailing the problem. When contacting the manufacturer, specifically ask for their procedure for making a lemon law claim.

A final step you can take is to hire a lemon law attorney. The good news is that the attorney fees are generally free to the consumer. If an attorney who specializes in the law lemon Wisconsin loses your case, they don’t get paid. If they win, the manufacturer pays the legal fees. Thus, if you do not feel like the dealer or manufacture has provided sufficient restitution, contacting a lemon law attorney to review your case is definitely worth the effort.

Wisconsin Lemon Law Resources

If your situation appears not to qualify under the law lemon Wisconsin, there may be another option. A potential resource is the federal lemon law. This statute is called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In general it falls under the breach of warranty (BOW) theory. Restitution under this act is different than under than law lemon Wisconsin. Instead of a refund for the defective vehicle, restitution is the difference between the Kelly blue book value of the car in excellent conditions vs. good or poor condition.

Again, if you are unclear if the Wisconsin lemon law applies to your situation, a lemon law attorney can be hired at no cost to you to determine if the federal lemon law applies to your case. If you have specific questions regarding the law lemon Wisconsin, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office at the following address:

Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
Fax: 608-267-2779
Phone: 608-266-1221

You can also visit their website at: Wisconsin Attorney General's Office 

The Better Business Bureau also has a printable summary of the Wisconsin lemon law: BBB Lemon Law State Statutes 

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