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  • Lemon Law in Wisconsin

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    PLEASE NOTE: If you purchased or leased a car BEFORE March 1, 2014 and it meets the definition of being a “lemon," the manufacturer has to replace it free or refund the price (minus a reasonable amount for mileage/usage).

    Wisconsin's Lemon Law

    Wisconsin's Lemon Law defines "lemons" as:

    • 1 year old or less and still under warranty.
    • has a serious defect the dealer can't fix in fixed in 4 attempts or
    • has one or many defects that prevent you from using it for 30 days of driving (non-consecutive).

    The Rules of the Lemon Law

    Keep in mind, the days in the shop do not have to be consecutive days, they can be a total number of days since you purchased the car. Also, the defect or breakdown that has not been fixed in 4 attempts must be substantial and interfere with the use, value, and safe operation of the vehicle.

    What is Actually Covered

    To meet the Lemon Law standards, defects (or a nonconformity) must seriously affect the use, value or safety of your car or vehicle and the defects must be covered by the warranty.
    What is not covered are conditions or defects caused by the consumer including abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification or alteration of the motor vehicle.

    Types of Vehicles Covered

    Any new car, truck, motorcycle or motor home, or other motor-driven vehicle that has been purchased, leased or transferred to a resident in Wisconsin. These vehicles could include demonstrator or executive-driven vehicles

    Types of Vehicles NOT Covered

    The follow vehicles are not covered under the Wisconsin Lemon Laws"
    • Vehicles purchased in another state.
    • Vehicles purchased through the internet and delivered outside Wisconsin.
    • Mopeds.
    • Semitrailers.
    • Trailers designed for use in combination with a truck or a truck tractor.

    How to Handles A Lemon Law Claim

    What should you do if you suspect your vehicle is a lemon?
    • Check the recall list to see if the vehicle has been subject to a recall. This might solve a lot of your issues. If your vehicle hasn't been recalled...
    • Get a Repair Order every time you take your car In for repairs. Even if the dealership service department doesn't diagnose the problem or attempt a repair make sure you get a repair order. This will show you reported a problem and the dates your vehicle is in the service department.
    • Keep repair orders somewhere that they won’t get lost and preferably not in your car.
    • Keep purchase contracts, warranties, and repair orders to prove your vehicle is a lemon.
    • Call the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) Motor Vehicle Lemon Law Claim form (MV2694) to help you with the Lemon Law Claim form and what you need to do to ask the manufacturer for a refund or replacement vehicle.
    Once you have the Lemon Law Claim form, the State of Wisconsin recommends you send it by Certified Mail to the manufacturer’s address listed in your owner’s manual. The manufacturer has 30 days to respond.
    Your refund should include:
    • the full purchase price.
    • sales tax.
    • any finance charge.
    • collateral costs (for example, repairs, towing, alternative transportation)
    • minus the mileage/use deduction allowed by law.
    If you get a replacement vehicle, the manufacturer should also refund your collateral costs and charge nothing for mileage.
    Also include the following items.
    1. Motor Vehicle Lemon Law Claim form (MV2694)
    2. All dealership Repair Orders
    3. A cover letter detailing your situation

    If you leased the vehicle you should be refunded all amounts you paid under the written lease plus any sales tax and collateral costs. Reasonable allowance for mileage/use will be deducted.
    If you don't get a refund or replacement by writing the manufacturer, and if your manufacturer has a program certified by WisDOT, you must use it before you sue under the Lemon Law.
    If your manufacturer's program is not certified, you can proceed with a law suit and let the court decide if your vehicle is a lemon and what settlement you deserve.

    Keep Making Your Loan Payments

    The company that wrote that loan is entitled to the repayment of their money, regardless of what the vehicle turned out to be.

    If you find that you are paying not only the loan payment but also for taxi service, rides, a rental car, and other expenses, talk to someone at your loan company. Many lenders are able to assist by wither putting a hold on the loan or allowing you to pay just the interest for a few months while the lemon gets sorted out. Again, hang on to receipts and make copies for the lender if requested.

    Having a lemon is becoming a rare occurrence in today's market, but it does happen. We're just sorry it does.

    For more help with your vehicle and solving lemon law issues, please read the entire Wisconsin Lemon Law document.

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