Warranty problems

A warranty is a promise

A warranty is a seller’s promise that a product will perform as intended. The warranty tells what items the seller will pay to fix after the sale, and for how long. A vehicle may have a "manufacturer warranty" that obligates the manufacturer to pay the cost of certain repairs. Or it may have a "dealer warranty" that obligates the dealer to pay. If a car comes with a warranty, you are entitled to get the warranty in writing from the dealership. Read the warranty carefully to learn what is covered, for how long, who pays for the repairs, and what you must do to keep the warranty in effect.

New and used car warranties

All new cars come with a manufacturer warranty. Tires, batteries, and dealer-installed options may have separate manufacturer warranties.

Some used cars come with a warranty. The Wisconsin buyers guide (used car window sticker) shows whether the used car comes with a "dealer limited warranty," or remaining "manufacturer warranty." If the vehicle comes with remaining manufacturer warranty, consult the warranty book or ask the seller what you need to do to have the warranty transferred into your name.

Many used cars come with no warranty at all. These cars show "AS-IS - NO WARRANTY" on their window sticker. When you buy a car as-is, the dealer and manufacturer are not responsible for paying for repairs after the sale.

What to do if your car needs warranty repairs

If your car needs repairs under a dealer warranty, consult the warranty or selling dealer to find out which repair shops are authorized to do your warranty repairs. If it needs repairs under a manufacturer warranty, you may take it to any dealer authorized to sell your make of car.

Dealer & Agent Section can help

Occasionally the dealership fails to repair your car as the warranty promises, or charges you for repairs covered by the warranty. If this happens to you, you may contact Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Dealer & Agent Section at (608) 266-1425 or by e-mail at DealerLicensingUnit@dot.wi.gov to learn more about filing a dealer complaint. Dealer & Agent Section can help you get your warranty repairs done as promised in the warranty.

To file a complaint against a dealership

Complete the Dealer Complaint form MV2338. Mail the form to WisDOT Dealer & Agent Section at the address below. Attach readable copies or originals of documents related to your vehicle purchase or lease. Include a copy of your warranty or the part of the warranty that relates to your vehicle problem. WisDOT will use the information you provide to resolve your complaint and enforce the laws. It may share the information with the dealer you name in your complaint. Under Wisconsin’s open records law, your complaint will be available for public review upon request.

Note: If your complaint is about unsatisfactory repair work that is not covered by a warranty, contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at (800) 422-7128 or by email at datcphotline@datcp.state.wi.us. You can also file a complaint with DATCP online.

About Dealer & Agent Section

WisDOT Dealer & Agent Section licenses, regulates and educates the motor vehicle industry, and resolves disputes about dealership sales and warranty repairs. It also investigates complaints about odometer tampering involving dealerships and private sellers.

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