Wisconsin Lemon Law Summary

Wisconsin Statutes § 218.0171, and Wisconsin Admin., Code §§ Trans. 143.01 through Trans.143.11

Motor vehicle covered under the Wisconsin lemon law

  • Is registered in Wisconsin or is exempt from registration as a nonresident or foreign-registered vehicle;
  • A consumer purchases or accepts transfer of, in Wisconsin;
  • Is a demonstrator or executive vehicle but not mopeds, semitrailers or trailers designed for use in combination with a truck or truck tractor;

The Wisconsin lemon law covers:

  • The purchaser of a new motor vehicle if the vehicle is purchased from a dealer for purposes other than resale;
  • A person to whom the motor vehicle is transferred during the warranty period unless the vehicle is transferred for purposes of resale;
  • A person who may enforce the vehicle’s warranty; and
  • A person who leases a motor vehicle under a written lease.

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Nonconformity defined

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, a nonconformity is defined as a condition or defect that:

  • Is covered by an express warranty of the manufacturer applicable to the motor vehicle or to a component of the motor vehicle; and
  • Substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle.

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Manufacturer’s obligation to repair

The Wisconsin lemon law mandates a nonconformity to be repaired if the consumer reports the nonconformity

  • To the manufacturer, lessor, or the an authorized dealer, before the expiration of the warranty or one (1) year after the vehicle’s first delivery to the consumer

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Manufacturer’s obligation to repurchase or replace

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, after a reasonable number of attempts to repair the nonconformity and the nonconformity continues to exist then:

  • The manufacturer must either repurchase the vehicle or, if the vehicle is owned, replace the vehicle

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Criteria for reasonable number of repair attempts

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, a reasonable number of repair attempts is defined as follows

  • Within the term of a vehicle’s warranty or within one (1) year after the vehicle’s first delivery to a consumer, whichever is sooner;
  • The same nonconformity is subject to repair by the manufacturer, lessor or any of the manufacturer’s authorized dealers at least four (4) times and the nonconformity continues to exist;
  • A nonconformity may be’subject to repair’if the vehicle is presented to the dealership for repair;
  • The vehicle is out of service for an aggregate of at least thirty (30) days because of a nonconformity;
  • A vehicle is out of service if it is not capable of rendering service as warranted due to a nonconformity, even though the vehicle is in possession of the consumer and is driven by the consumer, as long as the consumer provided notice and made the vehicle available for repair.

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Notice of nonconformity & final opportunity to repair

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, to receive a refund or replacement, a consumer must

  • Notify the manufacturer to request one (1) of these remedies; and
  • Offer to transfer title of the motor vehicle to the manufacturer

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Refund of a Purchased Vehicle

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, a refund consists of:

  • The full purchase price, not including any cash rebate (the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has advised that the ‘full purchase price’is the purchase price as set out on the contract, without any adjustment for negative equity or trade-in over allowance);
  • Sales taxes paid by the consumer, as well as any other amounts paid by the consumer at the point of sale;
  • Finance charges incurred by the consumer;
  • Collateral costs, which are defined as expenses incurred by a consumer in connection with the repair of a nonconformity, including the costs of obtaining alternative transportation;
  • Less a reasonable allowance for the vehicle’s use.

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, when the manufacturer provides a refund for a purchased vehicle, the consumer must:

  • Return the nonconforming motor vehicle to the manufacturer; and
  • Provide the manufacturer with the certificate of title and all endorsements necessary to transfer title to the manufacturer.

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Refund of a Leased Vehicle

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, a refund of a leased vehicle consists of the current value of the written lease.

The Wisconsin lemon law defines a refund as:

  • The total amount for which the lease obligates the consumer during the period of the lease remaining after its early termination;
  • The motor vehicle dealer’s early termination costs, any expenses or obligation the lessor incurs as a result of early termination;
  • The value of the motor vehicle at the lease expiration date if the lease sets forth the value;
  • Less the motor vehicle lessor’s early termination savings.

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, when the manufacturer provides a refund for a leased vehicle, the consumer must:

  • Return the nonconforming motor vehicle to the manufacturer
  • Provide him the certificate of title and all endorsements necessary to transfer title back to the manufacturer

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Replacement of a purchased vehicle

According to the Wisconsin lemon law:

  • Replacement is available for a purchased vehicle only, by a comparable new vehicle;
  • The manufacturer must also refund any collateral costs incurred by a consumer in connection with the repair of nonconformity;
  • The manufacturer must also refund any costs of obtaining alternative transportation;
  • When the manufacturer provides a replacement motor vehicle, the consumer must return the nonconforming motor vehicle to the manufacturer;
  • The consumer must provide the manufacturer with the certificate of title and all endorsements necessary to transfer title to the manufacturer.

The Wisconsin lemon law does not provide for replacement of a leased vehicle.

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, the manufacturer is required to refund the sales tax to the consumer.

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Enhanced damages

According to the Wisconsin lemon law, a consumer who prevails at trial in an action under the lemon law, is awarded twice the amount of any pecuniary loss.

The Wisconsin Lemon Law – Attorney’s fees

The court will award to a consumer who prevails in an action under the lemon law any costs, disbursements and reasonable attorney fees, and any equitable relief the court determines appropriate.

This information is not intended as legal advice. Please direct your specific questions to K&M attorneys and know more about your lemon law rights in the state of Wisconsin. If you want to pursue your lemon law claim, call 1-800 US LEMON® (800-875-3666) toll free, to reach Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center® for your FREE initial consultation. Or submit your information online for your free case evaluation.

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