WARRANTY CLAIMS

Warranties come with new vehicles and are included in the purchase price.  Although auto manufacturers are not required to provide a warranty with a new vehicle, all typically do.

ivan hannibal attorney at lawService contracts—sometimes referred to as extended warranties—on the other hand, are agreements that are separate from the sale of the vehicle.  Service contracts provide additional protection beyond what the warranty offers on the vehicle.

Federal and state law offer consumers specific protections related to vehicle warranties and service contracts.

Under federal law, any warranty offered by the manufacturer must be in writing and must be designated as “full” or “limited.”  Furthermore, under federal law, the warrantor is prohibited from disclaiming or modifying implied warranties, prohibited from requiring a consumer buy or use an item or service from the warrantor and is prohibited from using deceptive, misleading or illusory terms in the warranty.

Under federal law, the warrantor of any service contract is required to list all the terms and conditions in simple and readily understood language.  The warrantor of consumer products who make service contracts on their products are prohibited from disclaiming or limiting implied warranties.

Under Wisconsin law, warranty and service contracts must be in writing and must be provided to consumers at the time the vehicle is delivered.  Any warranty and service contract must contain specific information, such as the identification of the parts covered, any exceptions or exclusions to the warranty or service contract, and the procedure the consumer should follow to make a claim under the warranty or service contract, among other things.  Wisconsin law also requires auto dealers to make repairs under a manufacturer’s warranty.

If you believe that an auto manufacturer, auto dealer or extended warranty company has failed to honor a warranty or service contract, call the Auto Justice Law Office for a free phone consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.  A customer who prevails in bringing a warranty or service contract claim is entitled to recover damages as well as costs and attorney fees.

Federal Law

Warranties

Coverage

  • Covers only written warranties
  • A manufacturer or dealer is not required to provide a written warranty, but must comply with the law if it does
  • Covers only goods, not services
    • Services are included, however, if the warranty covers both the parts provided for a repair and the workmanship in making that repair
  • Covers only vehicles purchased for personal, family or household purposes, not commercial purposes

Requirements

  • The warrantor must designate the warranty as either “full” or “limited”
  • The warrantor must provide specific information about the coverage of the warranty in a single, clear and easy-to-read document
  • The warrantor or a seller must ensure that the warranty is available where the vehicle is sold so the consumer can read it prior to making a purchase

Prohibited Practices

  • The warrantor is prohibited from disclaiming or modifying implied warranties
  • A warrantor is prohibited from requiring a consumer buy or use an item or service from the warrantor
  • A warrantor is prohibited from using deceptive, misleading or illusory terms in the warranty

Service contracts

  • The warrantor is required to list conspicuously all terms and conditions in simple and readily understood language
  • The company that makes the service contract, not the seller of the service contract, is responsible for ensuring that the terms are disclosed, unless the maker and seller are the same company
  • The sellers of consumer products who make service contracts on their products are prohibited from disclaiming or limiting implied warranties

State Law

Warranty & Service Contract Content Requirements

If the sale of a vehicle is subject to a warranty or service contract, the warranty or service contract must be in writing, must be provided to the consumer at the time the vehicle is delivered and must include the following information:

  • The name and address of the warrantor
  • Identification of the purchaser to whom the warranty or service contract is extended
  • The parts covered
  • Identification of any exceptions and exclusions from the terms of the warranty or service contract
  • A statement of what the warrantor shall do in the even of a defect or malfunction, at whose expense the repair will be made and for what period of time
  • A statement of what the consumer shall do and expenses the consumer shall bear
  • The procedure the consumer should take in order to obtain performance of any obligation under the warranty or service contract, including the identification of any class of persons authorized to perform the obligations set forth in the warranty or service contract

Implied Warranties

  • No implied warranty of merchantability or fitness shall be excluded in the sale of a motor vehicle unless the sale is explicitly negotiated between the auto dealer and purchaser as an “AS IS—NO WARRANTY” basis
  • No implied warranty of merchantability or fitness shall be modified or limited, except that implied warranties may be limited to the duration of a written limited warranty of reasonable duration

Warrantor Obligations

  • It is an unfair practice and prohibited for a warrantor to fail to service or repair a vehicle in accordance with the terms and conditions of the warranty or service contract
  • An auto dealer must service or repair a motor vehicle under the same terms and conditions as a manufacturer warranty, if the dealer provides information to the purchaser that there is a remaining manufacturer warranty on the vehicle, even if the manufacturer later refuses to honor the warranty