Lemon law II. Nicks. WBB July 1987.
A New Twist On the Lemon Law. Nicks. Wis. Law. Oct. 1991.
Updating Wisconsin's Lemon Law. Nicks. Wis. Law. Oct. 1999.
Fill 'Er Up: Supreme Court Orders High Octane Relief Under Wisconsin's Lemon Law. Nicks. Wis. Law. June 1996.
Lemon Law Update. Nicks. Wis. Law. Nov. 2000.
Accessories Under the Lemon Law. Nicks. Wis. Law. March 2002.
Lemon Law Practice Pointers. Nicks. Wis. Law. Nov. 2003.
Motor vehicle adjustment programs. 218.0172(1)(a)
“Adjustment program" means an extended policy program under which a manufacturer undertakes to pay for all or any part of the cost of repairing, or to reimburse purchasers for all or any part of the cost of repairing, any condition that may substantially affect motor vehicle durability, reliability or performance. “Adjustment program" does not include service provided under a written warranty provided to a consumer, service provided under a safety or emission-related recall program or individual adjustments made by a manufacturer on a case-by-case basis.
Establish a procedure to inform a consumer of any adjustment program applicable to the consumer's motor vehicle and, upon request, furnish the consumer with any document issued by the manufacturer relating to any adjustment program.
Notify, by 1st class mail, a consumer who is eligible under an adjustment program of the condition in the motor vehicle that is covered by the adjustment program and the principal terms and conditions of the adjustment program within 90 days after the date on which the adjustment program is adopted.
Notify its motor vehicle dealers, in writing, of all the terms and conditions of an adjustment program within 30 days after the date on which the program is adopted.
If a consumer is a purchaser or lessor of a new motor vehicle, notify the consumer, in writing, of the consumer's rights and remedies under this section. The notice shall include a statement in substantially the following language: “Sometimes.... (manufacturer's name) offers a special adjustment program to pay all or part of the cost of certain repairs beyond the terms of the warranty. Check with your motor vehicle dealer to determine whether any adjustment program is applicable to your motor vehicle."
If a motor vehicle dealer has been informed of an adjustment program under par. (a) 3.
, the motor vehicle dealer shall disclose to a consumer seeking repairs for a condition covered by the adjustment program the terms and conditions of the adjustment program.
A manufacturer who establishes an adjustment program shall implement procedures to assure reimbursement of each consumer eligible under an adjustment program who incurs expenses for repair of a condition subject to the program before acquiring knowledge of the program. Reimbursement shall be consistent with the terms and conditions of the particular adjustment program.
A consumer shall make a claim for reimbursement under par. (a)
in writing to the manufacturer within 2 years after the date of the consumer's payment for repair of the condition. The manufacturer shall notify the consumer within 21 business days, as defined in s. 421.301 (6)
, after receiving a claim for reimbursement if the claim will be allowed or denied. If the claim is denied, the specific reasons for the denial shall be stated in writing.
In addition to pursuing any other remedy, a consumer may bring an action to recover damages caused by a violation of this section. A court shall award a consumer who prevails in such an action twice the amount of any pecuniary loss, together with costs, disbursements and reasonable attorney fees, notwithstanding s. 814.04 (1)
, and any equitable relief the court determines appropriate.
History: 1999 a. 31
; Stats. 1999 s. 218.0172.
The trial court mistakenly believed that repair of a defect was required to state a claim under this section. The definition of an “adjustment program" requires the repair of a condition, which can necessarily include a defective condition, but does not require that the condition at issue constitutes a defect. A manufacturer's attempt to limit its adjustment program only to police vehicles conflicts with the plain language of this section. Wisconsin consumers have the right to seek redress from the Wisconsin judicial system when a manufacturer violates a statute enacted by the legislature. Cuellar v. Ford Motor Company, 2006 WI App 210
, 296 Wis. 2d 545
, 723 N.W. 2d 747
ADJUSTMENT SERVICE COMPANIES
Adjustment service companies. 218.02(1)(1)
As used in this section:
“Adjustment service company," hereinafter called company, shall mean a corporation, limited liability company, association, partnership or individual engaged as principal in the business of prorating the income of a debtor to the debtor's creditor or creditors, or of assuming the obligations of any debtor by purchasing the accounts the debtor may have with the debtor's several creditors, in return for which the principal receives a service charge or other consideration.
(2) Licenses; applications; fees; bond. 218.02(2)(a)1.1.
Each adjustment service company shall apply to the division for a license to engage in such business. Application for a separate license for each office of a company to be operated under this section shall be made to the division in writing, under oath, in a form to be prescribed by the division. The division may issue more than one license to the same licensee. Except as provided in subd. 3.
, an application for a license under this section shall include the following:
In the case of an individual, the individual's social security number.
In the case of a person that is not an individual, the person's federal employer identification number.
The division may not disclose any information received under subd. 1.
to any person except as follows:
The division may disclose information under subd. 1.
to the department of revenue for the sole purpose of requesting certifications under s. 73.0301
and to the department of workforce development for the sole purpose of requesting certifications under s. 108.227
The division may disclose information under subd. 1. a.
to the department of children and families in accordance with a memorandum of understanding under s. 49.857
If an applicant who is an individual does not have a social security number, the applicant, as a condition of applying for or applying to renew a license under this section, shall submit a statement made or subscribed under oath or affirmation to the division that the applicant does not have a social security number. The form of the statement shall be prescribed by the department of children and families. Any license issued or renewed in reliance upon a false statement submitted by an applicant under this subdivision is invalid.
At the time of making application and before engaging in business, every applicant for an adjustment service company license shall pay a nonrefundable $200 fee to the division for investigating the application and a $200 annual license fee. If the cost of an investigation exceeds $200, the applicant shall, upon demand of the division, pay the excess cost. No investigation fee shall be required on the renewal of a license.
The division may require any licensee either before or after the issuance of the license to file and maintain in force a bond in a form to be prescribed by and acceptable to the division, in such sum as the division may deem necessary to safeguard the interest of the borrowers and the public, not exceeding, however, the sum of $5,000.
(3) Conditions of the issuance of licenses.
The division shall issue a license to the applicant to conduct such business at the office specified in the application in accordance with the provisions of this section, if the division shall find:
That the applicant has filed the required application and paid the required fees.
That the financial responsibility, experience, character and general fitness of the applicant, and of the members thereof if the applicant be a partnership, limited liability company or association, and of the officers and directors thereof if the applicant be a corporation, are such as to command the confidence of the community and to warrant belief that the business will be operated honestly, fairly and efficiently within the purposes of this section.
That allowing such applicant to engage in business will promote the convenience and advantage of the community in which the business of the applicant is to be conducted.
That the applicant has not been certified under s. 73.0301
by the department of revenue as being liable for delinquent taxes.
That the applicant has not been certified under s. 108.227
by the department of workforce development as being liable for delinquent unemployment insurance contributions.
That, if the applicant is an individual, the applicant has not failed to comply, after appropriate notice, with a subpoena or warrant issued by the department of children and families or a county child support agency under s. 59.53 (5)
and related to paternity or child support proceedings and is not delinquent in making court-ordered payments of child or family support, maintenance, birth expenses, medical expenses or other expenses related to the support of a child or former spouse, as provided in a memorandum of understanding entered into under s. 49.857
(4) Order denying application.
If the division is not satisfied as to all of the matters specified in sub. (3)
the division shall enter a special order denying the application for a license and shall return the applicant's license fee. The division shall make findings of fact as part of and in support of the division's order denying any application for a license.
(5) Licenses; posting; changes of location; renewal. 218.02(5)(a)(a)
Every license issued shall state the address of the office at which the business is to be conducted, the name of the licensee, and if the licensee is a partnership, limited liability company or association, the names of the members thereof, and if a corporation the date and place of its incorporation. Such license shall be kept conspicuously posted in the office of the licensee and shall not be transferable or assignable.
Whenever a licensee shall contemplate a change of the licensee's place of business to another location within the same city, village or town, the licensee shall give written notice thereof to the division, which shall attach to the license the division's authorization of such removal, specifying the date thereof and the new location. Such authorization shall be authority for the operation of such business under the same license at the specified new location. No change in the place of business of a licensee to a location outside of the original city, village or town shall be permitted under the same license.
Every licensee shall, on or before the tenth day of each December, pay to the division the annual license fee for the next succeeding calendar year.
(6) Revocation; suspension; reinstatement and term of licenses. 218.02(6)(a)(a)
The division, after complaint, notice and hearings as provided in s. 217.19
, shall revoke any license in the following cases:
If the licensee has failed to pay the annual license fee or to maintain in effect the bond required under the provisions of this section;
If the licensee has violated any provisions of this section or of any lawful order issued hereunder;
If any fact or condition exists which, if it had existed at the time of the original application for such license, clearly would have warranted the division in refusing to issue such license;
If the licensee has demonstrated untrustworthiness or incompetency to act in such business in a manner to safeguard the interests of the public.
In accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into under s. 49.857
, the division shall restrict or suspend a license if the licensee is an individual who fails to comply, after appropriate notice, with a subpoena or warrant issued by the department of children and families or a county child support agency under s. 59.53 (5)
and related to paternity or child support proceedings or who is delinquent in making court-ordered payments of child or family support, maintenance, birth expenses, medical expenses or other expenses related to the support of a child or former spouse.
In accordance with s. 73.0301
, the division shall revoke a license if the department of revenue has certified under s. 73.0301
that the licensee is liable for delinquent taxes.
In accordance with s. 108.227
, the division shall revoke a license if the department of workforce development has certified under s. 108.227
that the licensee is liable for delinquent unemployment insurance contributions.
(7) Powers of division.
It shall be the duty of the division and the division shall have power, jurisdiction and authority to investigate the conditions and ascertain the facts with reference to such companies and upon the basis thereof:
To issue general or special orders in execution of or supplementary to this section, but not in conflict therewith, to protect debtors from oppressive or deceptive practices of licensees;
To regulate advertising and solicitation of business by licensees, and to prevent evasions of this section;
At any time and so often as the division may determine to investigate the business and examine the books, accounts, records and files used therein of every licensee. The cost of an examination shall be determined by the division and shall be paid to the division by every licensee so examined within 30 days after demand therefor by the division, and the state may maintain an action for the recovery of such costs in any court of competent jurisdiction;
To determine and fix by general order the maximum fees or charges that such companies may make.
(8) Statement to debtor.
When any settlement or reduction of accounts has been made by such company, it shall furnish the debtor on demand a verified statement showing the amount due creditors by the terms of such settlement or reduction.
(9) Rules and reports; fees; enforcement. 218.02(9)(a)(a)
The division may make such rules and require such reports as the division deems necessary for the enforcement of this section. Sections 217.17
and 217.21 (1)
apply to and are available for the purposes of this section. This paragraph does not apply to any of the following:
Applications for licenses that are denied, or licenses that are revoked, because the department of revenue has certified under s. 73.0301
that the applicant or licensee is liable for delinquent taxes.
Applications for licenses that are denied, or licenses that are revoked, because the department of workforce development has certified under s. 108.227
that the applicant or licensee is liable for delinquent unemployment insurance contributions.
Applications for licenses that are denied or licenses that are restricted or suspended because the applicant or licensee has failed to comply, after appropriate notice, with a subpoena or warrant issued by the department of children and families or a county child support agency under s. 59.53 (5)
and related to paternity or child support proceedings or is delinquent in making court-ordered payments of child or family support, maintenance, birth expenses, medical expenses or other expenses related to the support of a child or former spouse.
All fees and moneys received by the division under authority of this chapter shall be paid by the division into the state treasury within one week after the receipt thereof.
The division shall investigate, ascertain and determine whether this chapter or the lawful orders issued hereunder are being violated and for such purposes the division shall have all of the powers conferred by ss. 217.17
. The division shall report all violations to the district attorney of the proper county for prosecution.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
See also ch. DFI-Bkg 73
, Wis. adm. code.
According the division of banking's interpretation of sub. (1) (a) great weight deference, its determination that the petitioner was an adjustment service company subject to licensing because the petitioner was engaged in the business of prorating the income of a debtor to the debtor's creditor or creditors was reasonable, although the petitioner did not receive money from debtors to distribute to creditors. JK Harris Financial Recovery Systems, LLC v. Department of Financial Institutions, 2006 WI App 107
, 293 Wis. 2d 753
, 718 N.W.2d 739
expressly rejected a narrow definition of “prorating" in sub. (1) (a) as inconsistent with the goals of the statutory scheme. Prorating occurs when one negotiates a reduction or extended payment on behalf of the debtor for the debtor's outstanding debt with that creditor. Morgan Drexen, Inc. v. DFI, 2015 WI App 27, 361 Wis. 2d 271
, 862 N.W.2d 329
Collection agencies. 218.04(1)(1)
The following terms, as used in this section, shall have the meaning stated, unless the context requires a different meaning:
“Collection agency" means any person engaging in the business of collecting or receiving for payment for others of any account, bill, or other indebtedness. “Collection agency" does not include attorneys at law authorized to practice in this state and resident herein, banks, express companies, health care billing companies, state savings banks, state savings and loan associations, insurers and their agents, trust companies, district attorneys acting under s. 971.41
, persons contracting with district attorneys under s. 971.41 (5)
, real estate brokers, and real estate salespersons.