Washington Lemon Laws were enacted to give the purchasers of new vehicles recourse if the vehicle has recurring problems with warranty repairs of substantial defects. The law gives the owner the opportunity to request an arbitration hearing with the vehicle manufacturer.
What is a lemon in the State of Washington?
Your new vehicle might classify as a lemon if it has one or more substantial defects, as the owner you must have allowed the manufacturer a reasonable number of chances to make the repair under warranty. A “substantial defect” under Washington Lemon Laws is one which is life threatening, is at risk of creating a fire or explosion or negatively impacts the resale value or safe use of the vehicle.
What vehicles are eligible?
The Washington Lemon Laws cover the majority of new vehicles, including dealer demonstrators that were first purchased or leased in the state by a consumer. The law does not cover vehicles with a GVW over 19,000 pounds, motorcycles with an engine smaller than 750cc or vehicles which were purchased or leased and form part of a business fleet of 10 or more. It is not necessary that you are the original owner to request arbitration.
Reasonable repair attempts:
The vehicle must have had two attempts to repair the defect if the defect makes the vehicle unsafe and four attempts for the same defect of which one is while the vehicle is under warranty. The coverage is for two years or 24,000 miles whichever comes first.
If the vehicle manufacturer or dealer is unable to repair the defect and bring the vehicle back into conformation with the warranty, the purchaser, at his or her option, can ask for a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price.
What should you do if you have a lemon?
The first thing you must do is gather all the records that will substantiate your claim, these include details of the repairs that were made, the dates of the repairs and the number of days and dates that the car was unavailable due to repair attempts. If you fail to support your claim with documentation it will be difficult to get relief under Washington Lemon Laws.
Communicate directly with the dealer; if the dealer does not comply with your requests then contact the manufacturer direct. If the manufacturer fails to respond in 40 days or less you can invoke your right to arbitration where you can explain your claim. If the arbitrator sides with you, you will be granted the choice of a refund or replacement vehicle.
Washington Lemon Laws are in force to help the consumer that purchased or leased a new vehicle that fails to perform in accordance with the warranty. For complete information you are invited to contact Krohn & Moss Consumer Law Center or visit YourLemonLawRights.com.