Purchasing a used car from a licensed dealership in Wisconsin gives you specific consumer rights. Wisconsin has powerful laws to protect consumers purchasing used vehicles from dealerships.
Dealers are Prohibited from Lying to You
Dealerships cannot lie to you during the sales process, or the purchase process. For example, telling you the vehicle has "no mechanical issues" when the dealership knows the vehicle has issues. Or perhaps they tell you "if you sign this financing agreement, we'll be able to refinance you into a lower interest rate in 6 months." It could even been a promise that "this car has never been in an accident." When making affirmative statements to you, dealerships must tell the truth.
Now this doesn't mean dealers cannot "sell" you a car by saying things like "this is the cleanest vehicle I've seen today," or "people love this vehicle and we can't keep them on our lot." But the law states they cannot lie to you about a material fact in an effort to sell you a vehicle. When in doubt, call for a free consultation.
Safety First - Mandatory Safety Inspection and Checklist
Dealers cannot just roll a vehicle onto their lot and sell it. They must conduct a very comprehensive pre-sale safety inspection of vehicles. As part of this process the dealership completes a checklist called a "Wisconsin Buyers Guide." This inspection report is then physically posted on the vehicle. This mandatory safety inspection and report is required under Wisconsin law, and provides important rights when you buy a vehicle in Wisconsin; it is more comprehensive than almost any other state. When purchasing a vehicle the Buyers Guide should always be closely reviewed.
The Wisconsin Buyer's Guide will cover all major mechanical and safety aspect of the vehicle. It also will disclose the mileage of the vehicle, the states where the vehicle was previously titled, and the nature of prior ownership. Be sure to review the handwritten "notes" section of the Guide, as it may list certain defects or other important information on the vehicle.
If you did not receive the Buyer's Guide - or received a false or incomplete Buyer's Guide, call for a free consultation. We regularly sue dealerships for violating this important safety law in Wisconsin.
Dealer sold You an "As-Is" Vehicle?
You bought a car and it broke down on the drive home. You call the dealership and are irate. The dealership brushes off your complaint, telling you that the car was purchased "as-is" and points to the language on your contract.
Dealers love to write the words "as-is" on contracts. But those words are not "magic" and do not let them violate the safety and inspection laws. Nor do those words allow them to sell you a defective vehicle. It just means there is no additional warranty on the vehicle; which is not untypical on a used vehicle. Dealers write these words on the contracts to scare you from complaining about defects and to bully you into going away when confronted with problems. Stand up for your rights and give us a call for a free consultation.
Attorney DeLadurantey has handled many cases for consumers with the phrase "as-is" on the contract documents - including large punitive damages for dealership attempts to use this language to avoid their duties under Wisconsin's law. Don't let these words prevent you from standing up for your rights.
You purchased a used car - and it breaks down the next day. What do you do in that scenario? Perhaps the dealership is now ignoring your calls, or has told you it's not their problem. These facts often indicate your rights have been violated in the process and you have a claim against the dealership. Call for a free consultation and we'll go over the purchase documents and mechanical issues. Attorney DeLadurantey regularly accepts these types of cases.
Undisclosed Accidents, Title Defects, or Frame Damage
Imagine you go to trade-in your car. It's time to purchase something different. While you're test driving a new vehicle, the dealer tells you that because your old car has been in a previous accident they will not accept it on a trade-in. You were never told about an "accident" when you purchased the old vehicle. The dealer shows you a "car history" report that lists an accident. Were you ripped off? Do you have rights against the place that sold you the car?
Dealers are required to disclose certain accidents, title defects (like a salvage or flood damaged vehicle), and frame damage as part of their safety inspection and the Wisconsin Buyer's Guide. Undisclosed accidents, frame damage, and titling issues can be major safety and resale issues. During an initial phone consultation we'll discuss the type, location, and severity of the damage. We can go over the car-history report and identify the issues together. If your rights were violated and you were sold a "bad car" by the original dealership, we can discuss how to bring a case against them. Some accident damage can be severe enough that vehicles become unsafe to drive! Call and schedule a free consultation.