A dealer’s disclosure obligations when selling a used car in Wisconsin & the Used Car Buyer’s Guide

Wisconsin’s motor vehicle dealer regulations, Trans 139.04, have several affirmative disclosure requirements on a dealership that must be made to a buyer of a used car before the purchase contract is signed. These disclosures must be made in the Wisconsin Used Car Buyer's Guide. 

Some of the important disclosures the dealership must make include: 

  1. Damage or evidence of repair to strut tower, trunk floor pan, frame or structural portion of the unibody, including corrective welds" which the dealer knew about or could find using reasonable care.
  2. Whether or not the condition of a vehicle for sale is such that it can be legally operated at all times in accordance with ch. 347, Stats., and ch. Trans 305 of information that the dealer can find using reasonable care.
  3. All material history and prior use or state "history and use unknown.” The disclosure of the history is not limited to those conditions which require title branding. However, the required disclosure is limited to that history which the dealer could find using reasonable care.

The regulation provides that the disclosures do not create any warranties, express or implied, nor affect warranty coverage. However, it is an unfair practice for a dealer not to remedy an item improperly reported on the guide that the dealer could have found using reasonable care if the buyer ha notified the dealer within a reasonable time after the buyer discovered or should have discovered the improperly reported item and the vehicle is made available to the dealership. Then, the dealer must remedy or make a good faith effort to reasonably remedy an item improperly reported within 30 days of the buyer's notification.

A dealership that violates these provisions of the regulations in the sale of a used car to a consumer may be subject to civil penalties. Where the buyer (consumer) has suffered a monetary (pecuniary) loss, the buyer can bring a lawsuit against the dealership for damages. A consumer’s legal remedies include recovering the costs of litigation, like attorney’s fees.

Telephone (414) 431-1920