Buy from a licensed
Wisconsin dealer and you're protected by Wisconsin's motor vehicle trade
practice law. Dealers follow the law
when they advertise, display, and sell vehicles. You
won't get the same protection if you buy from a private
advantages when you buy from a licensed dealer:
Expect ads to say what
they mean and mean what they say. An advertised price
will include all charges you'll pay to buy a car (except
tax, title, and registration). If an ad promises you a
set price for your trade, you'll get that price for a
trade of any age, condition, or mileage. You won't have
to buy anything to get a gift offered "free" in
an advertisement. (Also see Misleading car ads)
All new cars carry a warranty, usually of at least 12 months
and/or 12,000 miles. Tires, battery, and dealer-installed options
may have separate warranties that differ in time and mileage. Read
any warranties to find out what is covered and for how long, who
will honor the warranty, and what you have to do to keep it in
The lemon law protects you when you buy or lease new vehicles. It
entitles you to a refund or replacement vehicle if, in the first
year under warranty, your vehicle has a serious problem the dealer
doesn't repair in four tries, or if it's out of service due to
defects for a total of 30 days or more. Save your repair orders. For
more information, call the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
(WisDOT) dealer section consumer hotline (608) 266-1425 or email@example.com.
Read the Wisconsin buyers guide window label to find out if a used
car has any dealer warranty or remaining manufacturer's new car
warranty. Ask who will transfer any remaining manufacturer's warranty
and who will pay any transfer fee. The dealer will show you a separate
warranty document for any warranty listed on the label.
If you buy a car with no dealer warranty, it will be marked
"As-Is" on the window sticker. "As-Is" means the
dealer is not responsible for repairs the car needs later, even if the
car comes with a manufacturer warranty.
Dealers use the "purchase contract" form when selling
cars. Read and understand the contract before you sign. Once you and
the dealer sign the offer, it becomes a binding contract. The dealer
can't raise the price or sell the car to anyone else. You can't
cancel the contract without a penalty.
The contract should include the following information about your
Whether you're buying the car with a warranty or
Date your vehicle will be delivered
Other conditions of the sale. Get all promises in writing on
Many consumers mistakenly believe they have three days to cancel
the purchase contract. They do not. The 3-day "cooling
off" period only applies to sales the dealer makes away from
Get the price for your trade-in in writing on the contract. The
price won't change unless you put on more miles than agreed to in
the contract, remove parts, or damage the car before you trade it
in. Protect yourself and the next owner by giving accurate
information about your trade-in's mileage and condition, and how it
You must now display a license plate on all autos and light
trucks. Your dealer will provide you with a temporary plate good for
90 days if you do not have a plate to transfer. Some dealers offer
title and registration services that allow them to give you plates
and stickers right away. If you choose this option you will receive
your title sooner than if your dealer mails your application. There
is a fee for this service.
More... about mandatory
display and temporary license plates
Dealership service fees
Dealers may charge a service fee for completing inspections and
forms required by law. The service fee is a dealership fee, not a
government fee, and is not required by law. Service fees reflect the
dealer's costs for complying with mandated state and federal laws,
and may be negotiable at some dealerships. You'll find any service
fee listed on the vehicle window label, and on the motor vehicle
the dealership with a clear idea of features and
options you want in your car. Magazines like Motor
Trend and Consumer Reports discuss
features, performance, and quality of new models.
window labels about price and condition. Read the
title, odometer statement, and any warranties.
drive the vehicle. Drive it cold and warmed up.
Test it at highway and city speeds. The dealer
will ask to see your driver's license and may
have you take a salesperson along.
vehicle's former owner about its condition,
mileage, and use. The salesperson will give you
the name and address if you ask.
own expert check out the vehicle if the dealer
allows. Also, if your county requires emission testing, consider
having a test done before you buy. The
selling dealership's inspection does not ensure the vehicle will
pass a state emission test.
order a new vehicle from the factory, test drive
and inspect it when it arrives at the dealership.
You do not have to accept a vehicle that arrives
yourself and the next owner. Tell the true miles
and use of your trade-in.
promises in writing on the contract.
when you're ready to buy. You may pay a penalty
for canceling the contract.
copies of all documents and anything else you