Washington Lemon Law
If you live in Washington and have purchased a defective vehicle, you have rights. Here’s a summary of Washington’s lemon law:
New cars: Yes
Used cars: No
Business vehicles: Yes
Leased vehicles: Yes
Lemon law period: 2 years/24,000 miles
What is a Lemon Car Under Washington Law?
Washington lemon law covers new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, and trucks under 19,000 pounds that are purchased in Washington. It also covers motorcycles with engine displacements over 750 cc and the motorized portions of RVs. In order to be considered a “lemon,” the vehicle must meet the following requirements:
- Does not conform to the manufacturer’s express warranty
- Has substantial defects affecting the use, safety or value of the vehicle
- Has manufacturer’s defects that occurred during the first two years from the delivery date or 24,000 miles on the odometer (whichever comes first)
- Has been taken in four times for the same problem during the first two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first), or has a series of unrelated problems and has been out of service for a cumulative total of 30 calendar days, 15 days of which have occurred during the warranty period and during the first two years or 24,000 miles
- In the case of a serious safety defect, has been taken in two times for the same problem, one of which has to be during the warranty period
- In the case of multiple serious safety defects, they have occurred within the first two years or 24,000 miles and each has been taken in at least one time for repair during the warranty period
- You have requested a replacement or a refund from the manufacturer
- You have participated in the manufacturer’s informal arbitration program or the Washington Attorney General’s arbitration program
Washington Revised Code, Sections 19.118.005 through 19.118.904 is the state’s lemon law.
Getting Lemon Justice: Washington Lemon Law Relief
Washington lemon law provides several options for a successful lemon law claimant. First, you may be awarded a replacement vehicle of the same year, make, and model. You may also qualify for a monetary award, which can include:
- The full purchase price
- Sales tax
- Finance charges
- Dealer preparation and transportation charges
- Prorated license, registration, and title fees
- Prorated insurance costs
- Nonrefundable portions of credit life and disability insurance
- Service contracts
- Factory- or dealer-installed options
- Towing charges
- Alternate transportation costs
- Attorney’s fees
The amount of the monetary reward may be reduced by a deduction for your use of the vehicle, calculated by multiplying the odometer reading by the purchase price, and dividing by 120,000.
Pursuing a WA Lemon Law Claim
Under Washington lemon law, within two years after the delivery date of the vehicle or 24,000 miles on the odometer, you must notify the manufacturer in writing of the problem and request a refund or a replacement vehicle. Send your letter by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Here’s a sample demand letter that you can adapt for your use. The manufacturer has 40 days to respond to your request.
You must also participate in the Washington Attorney General’s arbitration program before you are eligible to file a lemon law claim in court. You must submit a Request for Arbitration Form with the Attorney General’s office within 30 months of the vehicle’s original delivery date, whether or not you have heard back from the manufacturer.
Either you or the manufacturer can appeal the arbitration decision in superior court.
How We Can Help
Wherever you are in the lemon law claim process, we’re happy to help. Whether you need help gathering the material documenting your lemon, submitting the final demand letter, negotiating a settlement, or appealing the arbitration decision, Lemberg Law will be at your side every step of the way.
Helping consumers is what we do. We’ve helped more than 15,000 people recover more than $35 million. You can read more about us here.
Remember that vehicle manufacturers have teams of lawyers that do nothing but fight lemon law claims. Lemon laws try to level playing field by forcing automakers to pay the consumer’s attorney fees in successful lemon law claims. That’s why our representation won’t cost you a dime.
There’s a limited window of opportunity for filing a lemon law claim. If you suspect you have a Washington lemon, give us a call today. We understand your frustration, and will do our best to deliver the justice you deserve.