Wheelchair Lemon Law
If you buy or lease a new motorized wheelchair or
scooter for use by persons with disabilities, under state law you have
protection if the chair or scooter has chronic defects. Section 134.87
of Wisconsin statutes is known as the Wheelchair Lemon Law. It
entitles the owner of a chair or scooter that meets the statutory
definition of a "lemon" to a refund or a replacement.
WHAT EQUIPMENT IS COVERED?
The law applies to new three- or four- wheel scooters
for use by people with disabilities and to new motorized wheelchairs
that were purchased on or after November 1, 1992. All motorized
wheelchairs and scooters purchased after that date must be covered by a
one year express warranty, effective from the day the consumer receives
the product. If the manufacturer does not offer the warranty, the chair
or scooter is still considered by law to be covered by a one year
WHAT IS A LEMON?
A "lemon" is a motorized wheelchair or scooter
with a "substantial" defect which the manufacturer or its
authorized dealer has unsuccessfully attempted to repair at least four
times, or which has been out of service because of
"substantial" defects for a total of 30 calendar days. The 30
days do not have to be consecutive.
Although it is not necessary to begin proceedings within
the first year, the repair attempts or time out of service must occur
within the term of the one year express warranty.
WHAT DEFECTS ARE COVERED?
The defects covered must significantly impair the use,
value or safety of the chair or scooter. For example, a defective motor
would be included, but a rattling noise would not. Defects that are the
result of any abuse, neglect or unauthorized modification of the
equipment by the owner are not covered by the law.
WHO HAS RECOURSE?
You have recourse under the law if you own or lease the
motorized wheelchair or scooter within the term of the one year express
WHAT ARE THE REMEDIES?
If you have purchased or leased a wheelchair or scooter
that meets the definition of a "lemon," the law entitles you
to choose either a comparable new replacement or a refund.
If you choose a replacement, you are also entitled to
receive collateral costs, which are defined under the law as expenses
incurred by the consumer in connection with the repair of a defect,
including the costs of obtaining an alternative wheelchair or other
assistive device for mobility.
If you decide to get a refund, you are entitled to the
full purchase price, including any other charges paid at the time of
sale, and all costs associated with the repair of the defect, minus an
amount based on your use of the chair or scooter.
The remedies are similar under a lease agreement.
HOW DOES ONE GET A REPLACEMENT OR REFUND?
To receive a replacement or refund, you should notify
the manufacturer that you wish to return the chair or scooter for a
replacement or a refund. Your dealer can supply you with the
manufacturer's address. If the manufacturer refuses your request, you
can discuss your legal options with an attorney or advocacy group
familiar with the law. The law does not designate any governmental
agency to receive complaints.
It may be possible to settle with the manufacturer
without going to court, but if you do go to court and are successful,
you are entitled to recover double the amount of any monetary loss, as
well as costs and reasonable attorney fees.
Your success in obtaining relief through the law may be
dependent upon the repair invoice documentation you can present.
Each time your equipment is in for repairs, make sure
you obtain a repair invoice that shows the problems you reported. You
should obtain a repair invoice even if the shop cannot determine or fix
the problem, or if you are complaining about a continuing problem. If
your equipment is in for repairs more than one day at a time, make sure
the warranty repair order specifies the date it was brought in and the
date it was returned.
Keep copies of all purchase contracts, warranties,
warranty repair orders, letters and other materials on the equipment and
April 18, 2013