Perhaps the greatest fear of any new-car buyer is discovering that they are the unlucky purchaser of a “lemon.” Indeed, the epidemic of lemon vehicles is so pronounced that all states, including Wisconsin, have enacted consumer-protection laws just for the purchasers of such vehicles. These laws are affectionately referred to as “lemon laws,” and the Wisconsin Lemon Law is a perfect example. If you have recently purchased or leased a vehicle in Wisconsin and did not receive the well functioning, reliable new car you bargained for, these lemon laws provide you with important rights and protections. It also requires the manufacturer to repair, repurchase or replace the defective vehicle.
Is My Vehicle Covered?
The Wisconsin Lemon Law covers any motor driven vehicle that is purchased or leased in Wisconsin. This includes motorcycles, demonstrators, or executive vehicles, but does not include mopeds, semitrailers, or trailers designed for use in combination with a truck or truck tractor. In addition, it does not cover previously-owned vehicles purchased from a dealer but does apply to vehicles transferred during the warranty period if they were not transferred for the purpose of resale.
Federal law is able to expand upon these covered vehicles and provides more comprehensive protection to the purchaser of any consumer product. Contact Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® to determine whether your vehicle or other consumer product is covered by either state or federal lemon laws.
What Problems or Defects are Covered?
The Wisconsin Lemon Law protects consumers from vehicle “nonconformities,” or items covered by the manufacturer’s warranty that substantially impair the use, safety, or value of your vehicle. Under the Wisconsin Lemon Law, defects and nonconformities must arise within one year after the vehicle has been delivered and must be reported to the manufacturer or dealer within that period. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, however, provides protection for the entire warranty period. Therefore, Wisconsin vehicles with five or ten year warranties – or longer – are still protected under Federal lemon law.
Both Wisconsin and Federal Lemon Laws provide a series of deadlines and requirements, which you must meet in order to take advantage of the full protection of the law. To make sure that you meet these deadlines and are able to obtain relief under the correct laws, contact the experienced Lemon Law attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® for a free case review.
What Does the Manufacturer Have To Do?
The manufacturer, through its dealerships, must repair any covered defects under the Wisconsin Lemon Law. If your new car is not what you were promised, then the dealer is legally required to attempt to fix it.
But what if it’s not a simple fix? The manufacturer is entitled to a “reasonable opportunity to repair” the vehicle – but if it fails to do so, the lemon law in Wisconsin gives you additional rights. In the state of Wisconsin, a reasonable opportunity to repair is generally four failed attempts, or more than thirty days during which your vehicle is out of service due to repairs.
If your vehicle is still not properly functioning after a reasonable opportunity to repair, the Wisconsin Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to repurchase or replace your vehicle. Although the shape of this remedy varies depending on the type of vehicle, whether you purchased or leased the vehicle, and the number of miles you have put on it, as a general matter, you are entitled to a comparable new car or your money back – including finance charges and any incidental charges you incurred due to the defect (such as the cost of other transportation while your car was out of service). The Wisconsin Lemon Law lawyers at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® can help you determine what is required from your manufacturer and how to enforce the rights you have living in the state of Wisconsin.
Updates to the Law
It is important to note that the Wisconsin Lemon Law has recently changed – one set of rules applies to cars purchased or leased before March 1, 2014, and a different set of rules applies to cars purchased or leased after that date.
The principal change to the Wisconsin Lemon Law is the addition of heavy involvement by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The experienced Lemon Law lawyers at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® can help you to determine whether the changes to the law will impact your case and can help you navigate the new bureaucratic hurdles so that you can get the best result regardless of the date of your purchase or lease. The Wisconsin Lemon Law attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® know the “ins” and “outs” of these laws and will seek to get you the results you deserve, whether you purchased before or after the change.
What Should I Do if I Have a Lemon?
If you suspect you have a lemon, you should contact the experienced Lemon Law attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® for a free case review. We can help you determine whether you are entitled to a refund or a new vehicle or monetary damages.
Additionally, both the Wisconsin Lemon Law and Federal Law provide that if you recover in a court of law, the manufacturer who manufactured and/or warranted your “lemon” must pay for the time that your attorneys spent enforcing your rights. This way, you can enforce your rights even if you do not have the money to pay for an attorney yourself. This is why the attorneys at Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® do not charge any attorneys’ fees.