Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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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 new 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
  • 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 it an opportunity to resolve it. Keep a record of any contact with the dealer. Get an invoice for any repairs, or write down the date, time, and who you spoke to at the dealership.

  1. Follow these tips when talking with the dealership:
  • Speak to the owner or manager about your concern.
  • Use a friendly, not an angry 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.
  1. If you don't resolve your dispute with the dealer, you may file a complaint with us.
  • Download a Dealer Complaint form MV2338. (The form may also be obtained by calling the WisDOT Dealer & Agent Section at the phone number or e-mail address listed below.)
  • Print and complete the form, or complete online and then print the form.
  • In order to expedite the handling of your complaint, mail your complaint directly to the field investigator in the county the dealership is located.
  • Include a readable copy of your purchase contract, window label and title application, and other supporting documentation if you can.
  • Explain your complaint in clear, concise, well-organized language supported by relevant facts and documentation.
  • Give us your daytime phone number.

What happens next:

When we get your complaint, we'll call or write and tell you who is working on it. We may try to mediate a settlement between you and the dealer. In many cases, we are able to help consumers get repairs, or money back from the dealer. However, Wisconsin law does not authorize us to require the dealer to give you something to resolve your complaint.

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 where the seller resides.

If you have questions:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Dealer & Agent Section
4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 201
P.O. Box 7909
Madison, WI 53707-7909

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Questions about the content of this page:
Division of Motor Vehicles, Dealer Section, dealers.dmv@dot.wi.gov

Last modified: April 6, 2011

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