Wisconsin’s Lemon Law was designed to protect buyers from purchasing faulty vehicles. This law defines “lemons” as:

  • A vehicle that has a serious defect which can’t be fixed after 4 attempts
  • A defective vehicle that is under warranty and is within 1 year from time of purchase
  • A vehicle that has been out of service for at least 30 business days (accumulative) and the defect is not fixed.

In addition, the state of Wisconsin has different lemon law regulations for vehicles purchased BEFORE and AFTER March 1, 2014.

Eligibility and Deadlines

If you purchase a vehicle BEFORE March 1, 2014, you can file a lemon law claim anytime. There is no deadline for that. Actually, it is up to the court to decide the reasonable period under which your vehicle may qualify for protection under Wisconsin’s Lemon Law. Normally, you may get protection up to 6 years or more from the date of vehicle delivery.

Coverage for both BEFORE and AFTER

For your vehicle to meet criteria for protection under this law, it must have a serious defect that compromises its safety, use and resale value. Your vehicle must also be under warranty. The defects that are not covered by this law are the one caused by owner’s negligence, unauthorized alteration, vandalism, or natural disasters. If you purchase a heavy duty vehicle after March 1, 2014 and meet the criteria for protection listed above but weigh more that 10,000 lbs, it will be treated differently under Wisconsin’s Lemon Law. You may lose some benefits under this law if you are under the negotiated written settlement with your vehicle dealer or manufacturer.

Vehicles Covered

This law covers any new car, motorcycle, motor home, truck or motor-driven vehicle. All these must have been purchased, leased or transferred between a buyer and seller who lives in Wisconsin.

Vehicles not Covered

  • Vehicles purchased, leased or transferred in another state
  • Online bought vehicles and delivered outside the state of Wisconsin
  • Semitrailers and Mopeds
  • Trailers with multiple use.

Wisconsin’s Lemon Law Claims

If you purchase a vehicle BEFORE March 1, 2014, investigate to see whether it has been recalled. If your find that your vehicle hasn’t been recalled, get a Repair Order whenever you take it to the manufacturer for repair. Make sure your dealer or manufacturer sign a Lemon Law Claim (Form MV2694). Always keep the repair orders and other vehicle details. You will need all these records to prove that your vehicle is a lemon.

Filing a claim

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is a body that administers Wisconsin’s Lemon Law. Use their Lemon Law Claim (Form MV2694) if you intend to ask your car dealer or manufacturer to refund your money or give you a vehicle replacement. Make sure to include the following in your package:

  • All dealership repair orders
  • Form MV2694
  • A cover letter detailing your problem and your claim.

The manufacturer will have up to 30 days to comply with your claim. If they choose a refund instead of a replacement, they will have to refund the full purchase price, sales tax, fees and collateral costs incurred. If they opt for a replacement, you will get a replacement vehicle without the manufacturer deducting the amount for mileage your vehicle covered while it was in your custody. If you leased the vehicle, you will receive the lease amount plus collateral costs less the allowance for use. If the manufacturer fails to comply with your request, you need to go through their arbitration program before taking any legal action. If they don’t have any certified arbitration program, you can go ahead to use Wisconsin’s Lemon Law to file a lemon lawsuit against them.

Vehicles Purchased AFTER March 1, 2014

If you purchase a vehicle after March 1, 2014 and find it with defects, you must take it to the manufacturer for repair. Make sure your dealer or manufacturer sign Vehicle Repair Request (Form MV2692). This form is important when filing a lemon law claim. Keep your vehicle records and receipts at a safe place.

How to File a Claim

You must use Wisconsin Lemon Law claim form (Form MV2691) when asking your vehicle dealer or manufacturer to refund your money or replace your vehicle. Fill out this form accurately and completely. Also remember to include all dealership repair orders and a cover letter detailing your claim when sending Form MV2691. The manufacturer will have up to 30 days to comply with your claim. If they choose a refund instead of a replacement, they will have to refund the full purchase price, sales tax, fees and collateral costs incurred. You are also required to provide them the certificate of the title. If they opt for a replacement, you will get a replacement vehicle without the manufacturer deducting amount for millage your vehicle covered while it was in your custody. If you leased the vehicle, you will receive the lease amount plus collateral costs less the allowance for use. Wisconsin’s Lemon Law gives the manufacturer up to 45 days after receiving your claim and all documents to either refund your money or provide a comparable new vehicle.

Arbitration Programs

Wisconsin lemon law page has a list of several Arbitration Programs that you may use when trying to resolve your claim with the manufacturer. If the manufacturer fails to comply with your request, you need to go through their arbitration program before taking any legal action. If they don’t have any certified arbitration program, you can go ahead to use Wisconsin’s Lemon Law to file a lemon lawsuit against them.

Keep Making Your Loan Payments

Keep on repaying your loan even if your car turns out to be a lemon. This is to maintain your credit history records in case you want to use it to get another loan in future. If the arbitration or court rules in your favor, you will definitely get a refund.

More Information

For more help regarding Wisconsin lemon law cases, you can contact Wisconsin Department of Transportation through mail, email, phone or fax. Wisconsin Department of Transportation Dealer & Agent Section 4802 Sheboygan Ave., Room 201 P.O. Box 7909 Madison, WI 53707 E-mail: [email protected] Phone: (608) 266-1425 Fax: (608) 267-0323