218.0171(1)(f), Wis. Stats.)
Under Wisconsin law, a nonconformity is a condition or
defect which (1) substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a
motor vehicle and (2) is covered by an express warranty applicable to
the vehicle or a component of the vehicle; nonconformity does not include a
condition or defect which is the result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized
modification or alteration by the consumer.
A condition or defect that substantially impairs the use, value or
safety of a vehicle must be more than a minor annoyance or inconvenience.
However, the consumers vehicle need not be undriveable for the nonconformity
to substantially impair its use, value or safety. Also, the nonconformity
may substantially impair use, value or safety even if the vehicle
is able to provide simple transportation.
Wisconsin law requires a manufacturer or its authorized dealer
to repair nonconformities.
Duty to Replace or Refund
(relief pursuant to sec. 218.0171(2)(b), Wis. Stats.)
Wisconsin law requires a manufacturer to provide the consumer
with a comparable new motor vehicle or a refund if, within the term of the
warranty or within one year after delivery, whichever is sooner, either:
- The same nonconformity is made available for repair to the manufacturer
or any of its authorized dealers at least four times and the nonconformity
continues after the fourth time the vehicle is made available for
- The vehicle is "out of service" for an aggregate of at least 30
calendar days because of any nonconformities ("out of service"
is not limited to only those periods in which the vehicle is unavailable
to the consumer; it includes those periods when the vehicle is not
capable of rendering service as warranted due to a nonconformity,
even though the vehicle may be in the possession of the consumer
and may still be driven in spite of the nonconformity).
The "same nonconformity" means the identical or substantially similar
condition(s) or defect(s). A nonconformity is made "available for
repairs" regardless of whether any repairs are actually attempted
by the manufacturer or its authorized dealers. Also a nonconformity
is made available for repairs regardless of whether any nonconformity
is verified at the time by the manufacturer or authorized dealer.
If repairs are not made and the consumer thereafter continues to
give the manufacturer or its authorized dealers an opportunity to
repair the nonconformity(ies), the 30-day clock starts running from
the date of that initial failed repair opportunity. As long as there
exists notice and opportunity to repair with respect to a nonconformity,
the 30-day clock runs.
Duty to Repair (alternative
relief pursuant to sec. 218.0171(2)(a), Wis. Stats.)
If a new vehicle does not conform to an applicable express warranty,
and the consumer reports the nonconformity and makes the vehicle available
for repair to the manufacturer or any of the manufacturer's authorized
dealers, before the expiration of the warranty or within one year
after delivery - whichever is sooner, the nonconformity must be repaired.
If the nonconformity is not repaired, the consumer is entitled to
recover his or her pecuniary loss.
218.0171(7), Wis. Stats.)
If the manufacturer fails to replace or refund, or repair, as applicable,
within a timely manner, the lemon law is violated and the consumer
may file a lawsuit. A consumer who prevails is entitled to recover
double damages, as well as attorney fees and litigation costs.
If you have a question as to whether you may qualify for relief under
the Wisconsin Lemon Law: Call Jastroch & LaBarge, S.C.
for a FREE telephone consultation at 262/547-2611;
or (877)-635-6220 (toll free).