Alternative Lemon Law remedies when the right to refund or replacement expired

As discussed in my blog post giving an overview of Wisconsin’s Lemon Law, Lemon Cars in Wisconsin: Basic overview of Wisconsin's Lemon Law, to qualify as a lemon under Wisconsin’s Lemon Law, the vehicle must have a defect or nonconformity with its manufacturer’s warranty that the manufacturer or its agent fails to fix with 4 or more attempts or the vehicle is out of service for 30 or more days all within the sooner of the first year of service or term of the warranty. Sometimes, due to when the defect arises or is first brought to the dealer for repair, a consumer does not meet the criteria for qualifying as a lemon car. There may not be enough time for 4 attempts at repair or for 30 or more days to pass just because you are at or approaching the end of the warranty period or 1-year anniversary since the date of purchase. In this case, you may not qualify for the replacement or refund remedies provided by Wisconsin’s Lemon Law, but you are not without other remedies.

Wisconsin’s Lemon Law still covers you if you reported a defect or nonconformity during the sooner of the first year or expiration of the warranty. The lemon law requires the manufacturer to fix the defect. If it does not fix it, and you have pecuniary (think money) loss, you can still bring a claim under the lemon law to recover your pecuniary loss. For example, you had to hire another service center to fix the defect and paid for it out of pocket. Or you sold the car and took a loss on the sales price because it was worth less due to the unrepaired defect. You can also recover the costs of the lawsuit, including reasonable attorney’s fees.

You likely also have rights under state and Federal warranty laws.

So you are not without a remedy. You just don’t get to claim the refund or replacement vehicle remedies.

If you have a lemon law claim like this, generally you must bring a lawsuit within 36 months of the date the car was first sold new.

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