Consumer Law at Your Fingertips
If a new motor vehicle turns out to be a “lemon,” the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or refund the purchase price. (For details, see Wisconsin Statutes section 218.0171.) A new vehicle is a “lemon” if all the following apply:
- The vehicle is no more than a year old, and still under warranty.
- The vehicle has a serious defect that the dealer cannot fix in four tries, or has one or more defects that prevent the consumer from using it for 30 days or more. A defect is one that seriously affects the use, value or safety of the vehicle, and is covered by the warranty. An irritating rattle may not be serious enough to make a car a “lemon.” But stalling probably is.
A consumer may take court action to enforce his or her rights under the “lemon law.” But if a manufacturer has an informal dispute settlement procedure certified by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the consumer must use that procedure before going to court.