Summary of Washington Lemon Laws
Washington’s lemon laws state that if the buyer or lessee of a vehicle finds a major fault in it – which the manufacturers are unable to fix even after multiple valid attempts, as stated upon the categories of claims, by the vehicle manufacturer to repair it – the manufacturer is liable to repurchase or replace the faulty vehicle. This law applies to the vehicle throughout its express warranty period, and if the vehicle is still under its warranty period and meets the eligibility criteria as specified by Washington’s state laws, the owner of the vehicle can claim their lemon aid and demand the manufacturers to provide them with the necessary reimbursement, in the form of a refund or replacement of the faulty vehicle through arbitration. The repurchase costs will also cover any additional costs the owner underwent while purchasing the vehicle.
Washington Lemon Laws Categories of Claims
Before heading for arbitration, Washington’s laws require that your situation be categorized into at least one of four categories. An (1) unrepaired nonconformity requires that the manufacturer have at least four valid attempts at repairing a standard nonconformity of the vehicle to how it should work. An (2) unrepaired serious safety defect requires that the manufacturer had at least two valid attempts at repairing what is, instead, a defect in a vehicle’s safety mechanism. A (3) multiple serious safety defect requires that the vehicle had at least two safety defects within a 12-month period during the first 2 years and had been driven for less than 12 000 miles; this is regardless whether the manufacturer had been successful in fixing any defect. Lastly, (4) days out of service requires that the manufacturer was unable to fix the vehicle within 30 calendar days starting from the 15th day from the start of the manufacturer warranty period but within the lemon law eligibility period. Meanwhile, if the manufacturer had failed to respond to the consumer within 40 days, then the consumer may file for any of these claims which bear the closest resemblance to their situation.
Lemon Eligibility in Washington
In Washington state, the lemon law is applicable for the first 2 years starting from the original retail delivery date and before the vehicle has reached 24 000 miles of operation. However, the eligibility of a vehicle may be partially or completely voided upon modification by the dealer only when the consumer has been given a written disclosure that this may happen. If the dealer had failed at doing this, then the dealer will therefore be made liable to the lemon law. But the dealer will not be made liable if they used parts that came from the original manufacturer themselves.
Certain vehicles are not subject to the lemon law. These include motorcycles which have engine displacements less than 750 cubic cm., trucks of 19 000 lbs or less, and vehicles that are part of a business fleet of at least 10 vehicles.
Washington Motorhome Lemon Law
In regards to motorhomes, the same effects will apply except for the requirements in unrepaired nonconformity and unrepaired serious safety defect. For the former, the manufacturer had at least three valid attempts at repair or diagnosis, and that the problem has not been repaired for at least 30 days after a “final repair” demand. As for the latter, the manufacturer had at least one valid attempt at repair or diagnosis, and the problem has not been repaired for at least 30 days after the final repair demand. In both cases, if the manufacturer had failed to reply within 15 days of a final repair demand, then the consumer may file for arbitration. But it is worth bearing notice that only the self-propelled portions and chassis are covered by the lemon law. The dwelling portions are not subject to the lemon law.
Washington Armed Forces Provision
If the vehicle is owned by a member of the armed forces residing or stationed in Washington state, then their vehicles are also subject to the lemon law. This is regardless of which state they have bought the vehicle from. However, their vehicles must have been bought or leased within the last 30 days of their stationing and their vehicle must be among the eligible vehicles for the lemon law.
Washington Lemon Laws on Used Vehicles
The lemon law in Washington only covers vehicles defined as “new vehicles”. These are vehicles that have never been bought, leased, or titled to another lessee. Used vehicles are not covered by the lemon law. However, vehicles which meet the eligibility criteria and their ownership has been transferred to a different person while the vehicle is still covered by the express warranty period is still eligible for arbitration.
Other Washington Laws