A used car dealer or sales person must make certain disclosures to prospective retail buyers of used cars and other motor vehicles before a purchase contract is signed. See Wis. Admin. Code Trans 139.04(4)-(6). The used car dealer must use Wisconsin’s “Wisconsin Buyers Guide,” a form document proscribed by Wis. Admin. Code Trans 139.04(6), which must be displayed within the car and readable from the outside. The dealer must give this guide to the consumer to keep upon purchase of the car. The Buyers Guide requires the car dealer to inform consumers about certain conditions of the used car so that the consumer is informed of these matters when considering whether to buy the car.
The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, Chapter 50 to Title 15 of the U.S. Code, prohibits a car dealer from disclaiming implied warranties when the dealer offers a qualifying written warranty or enters into a service contract with the buyer. The act makes any disclaimer of implied warranties ineffective when the act applies. So an “as is” purchase agreement cannot waive implied warranties when the consumer buys a service contract from the dealer or the dealer provides a written warranty. Two implied warranties, for example, are (1) the warranty that the car is fit for its ordinary purpose (merchantability) and (2) that a car is fit for a particular purpose when the consumer makes the dealer aware that the car must fit that purpose.
If a car dealer sells you a car but does not give you clear title because of a prior unsatisfied lien or perhaps because the car was a prior stolen vehicle with duplicate VIN (vehicle identification) numbers, you may have a claim for fraud or a breach of warranty. A warrant of title from a dealer cannot be disclaimed with an “as is” type of purchase agreement. The Uniform Commercial Code section 2-312 addresses this issue, as does the Magnuson-Moss act at Chapter 50, Title 15 of the U.S. Code (15 USC 2301, et seq.).