File a complaint against a dealer

(en español)

Dealer complaints

If you have a problem with a vehicle that you bought or leased from a Wisconsin dealer, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Dealer & Agent Section may be able to help.

We may be able to help if:

  • You're having trouble getting a title
  • You're having trouble with warranty repairs
  • The dealer did not tell you about a problem with your vehicle
  • You have a question about Wisconsin's vehicle lemon law
  • You think someone tampered with an odometer or misrepresented the reading
  • You think someone is an unlicensed dealer

We may not be able to help if:

  • Your complaint is about a problem you repaired without giving the dealership an opportunity to repair it first
  • Your complaint is about a vehicle you sold without giving the dealership an opportunity to repair it first
  • A long time has passed since you bought the vehicle

We cannot help if:

  • You bought your car from a private seller or an out-of-state dealer
  • Your complaint is about a problem that did not exist at the time you bought or leased the vehicle

What you should do:

  1. Contact the dealership if you haven't already. The law says, before we can help you, you must tell the dealership about the problem and give the dealership an opportunity to resolve it. Keep a record of any contact with the dealer. Get an invoice for any repairs and write down the date, time, and who you spoke to at the dealership.
  2. Follow these tips when talking with the dealership:
    • Speak to the owner or manager about your concern.
    • Use a friendly tone. Assume the problem is unusual and the dealership wants to fix it. Be reasonable, polite, and factual.
    • Let the dealer know you're a loyal customer and you're complaining because you want to continue being a customer. The dealer may not try as hard to please you if it's already lost your business.
    • Tell the dealer exactly what you want - a repair, refund, apology, etc.
  3. If you are not able to resolve your dispute with the dealer, you may file a complaint online.
    • Filing your complaint online is the quickest way to start the complaint process. The complaint is sent instantly to the investigator who will reach out to you within 7 business days. You will receive an email providing you with additional information and your investigator's contact information within minutes of submitting your complaint.
    • To help expedite the process, please upload PDF files of your purchase contract, Wisconsin Buyer's Guide (window sticker), title application, and other supporting documentation. Taking pictures of your documents is not recommended as the picture as often hard to view.
    • If you are ready to file a complaint online, you may do so by clicking here​.

What happens next:

When you submit your complaint, you will receive a confirmation email with important details. Please check your spam folder.

Other sources of help:

If we can't help you:

You may want to use small claims court or hire an attorney. You can get information about small claims court from the small claims court in the county w​here the seller resides.