- Wisconsin protects consumers with a state automobile lemon law. The Wisconsin lemon law specifically determines the vehicles that the law covers. When the motor vehicle meets the lemon law requirements, the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or refund the price of the vehicle, minus an amount for the mileage.
- Wisconsin defines a lemon as a vehicle that is a year old or less and still covered by the manufacturer's warranty. The lemon law covers cars, trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. The Wisconsin law does not apply to mopeds and trailers that must be used with a truck, according to StateLemonLaw.org.
- The defect must affect the ability of the user to operate the vehicle. The Wisconsin law requires that the defect must cause the vehicle to be inoperable for 30 days, which may not be consecutive. Minor defects that do not affect the use of the vehicle are not covered by the Wisconsin lemon law. For instance, a vehicle with brake or starting problems is covered, but a vehicle with a noise that does not affect the operation of the car is not covered. A defect or defects must occur before the expiration of the manufacturer's warranty.
- The dealer has four attempts to repair the defect before a refund or replacement is allowed. The car owner should document the repair attempts each time the vehicle is brought to the shop, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The repair shop must have attempted four times to fix the same defect without success.
Wisconsin Lemon Law Notice
- The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides a lemon law notice for consumers to use when requesting a refund or replacement from the vehicle manufacturer. The form uses the language required by the Wisconsin law when making a request for a refund. The manufacturer has 30 days to respond to the notice. The state requires consumers to use the manufacturer's arbitration process if the Wisconsin Department of Transportation certifies the program. A consumer cannot sue the manufacturer if the certified arbitration process was not used.
- Consumers are entitled to the cost of the vehicle, finance charges, and the collateral costs incurred because of the defect. Collateral costs include the cost of repairs, towing, and other transportation, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The collateral costs are paid when the manufacturer provides a replacement vehicle.
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