Saturday, 24 November 2012

Lemon Law in Wisconsin

Lemon Law in Wisconsin

By William Allen Yap

The lemon law in Wisconsin is pretty simple. If the vehicle you purchase turns out to be a lemon, the manufacturer has to replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price minus a reasonable amount based on mileage.

This law only applies to new vehicles no more than a year old and is still under warranty. This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles and motor homes which you have purchased or leased as well as those used as demonstrator or executive vehicles.

The vehicle itself can only be considered defective if the dealer cannot fix it after four tries or if the problem prevents you from using it for more than 30 days which does not have to be consecutive. This means that it should seriously affect the use, value or safety of the vehicle.

Unlike other states where there is a deadline given to which you have to file a suit, Wisconsin doesn't but a judge will be the one who will decide the merits of the case.

Before you file a case, you should get a repair order for reach visit even if the shop does not diagnose the problem or attempt to do any repairs because this document shows that the problem you encountered was reported and the date it was brought in the shop. You should also keep contracts and warranties in a safe place so this will easily be found when it is needed.

The best place to get help if you have a lemon is to get assistance from Wisconsin's Department of Transportation since they have the proper forms to request the manufacturer for a refund or replacement vehicle. They will also be able to give you more information about how to exercise your rights as a consumer under the law.

Once the form has been filled up, this has to be mailed to the manufacturer's address that can be found inside the user's manual. You should probably send this through certified mail to make sure that it was received.

The manufacturer has 30 days to respond to your request. If you are asking for a refund, aside from the full purchase price they have to include sales tax, any finance charges and collateral costs again minus the mileage. If you are getting a replacement, the manufacturer should only refund your collateral costs and charge nothing from mileage.

Collateral costs refer to alternative transportation expenses because the vehicle was in the shop, towing charges if the vehicle broke down in the middle of the road and repairs costs that were incurred to try and fix the problem.

If the manufacturer refuses to give you a refund or replacement, you can consider an arbitration program. This is free and you don't need a lawyer. In fact, most car companies have one and you are required to go through the process if it is certified.

But if it is not certified by the state, you are not required to. Instead, you can hire an attorney and take this matter to court so the judge can decide on the matter. If you sue the manufacturer and win, you may get double the vehicle's purchase price plus other costs including the attorney fees.

The lemon law is quite complex so it is best to hire a lawyer that specializes in it. You can look for someone in the directory or get help from the State Bar of Wisconsin Attorney Referral Service or the WisBar Layer Referral and Information Service.

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