Washington State has a lemon law designed to protect buyers who may/might have purchased new vehicles with a recurring defect. This law is basically called Washington Lemon Law, and it requires manufacturers to repair, refund or replace your vehicle if it is found to be a lemon. In this article, you will find some of the basics of this law and steps to follow if you become a victim of a lemon car.
Lemon Law Protection in this state
There are a number of steps to follow when you realize that the car you’ve purchased is a lemon. First, you must report the defect immediately and take your vehicle to the manufacturer for repair. You will not be charged for repair costs. The manufacturer is required to have up to 4 attempts to repair the defect. If the defect is not repaired after a reasonable number of repair attempts, you will be entitled to a refund or vehicle replacement. In most cases, the manufacturer may play hard on you and refuse to grant your rights. In this event, you may take the next step and go through the manufacturer’s dispute arbitration process offered by the office of the Attorney General in Washington. Under Washington Lemon Law, you will not be charged when you go through this process.
Criteria under Washington Lemon Law
The arbitrator will look at your claim to see whether you qualify for compensation. Among other qualification, your car must meet the following criteria in order for arbitrator to rule the case in your favor:
- For a serious defect that is likely to cause death or serious injury, the manufacturer might have attempted repair twice
- For other defects, the manufacturer might have attempted repair 4 times
- The arbitrator will also look at the time your car stayed in the repair shop. In this state, your car must have stayed in the repair shop for 30 days or more
- You must have purchased a vehicle that is covered under Washington lemon law
- The defect must impair the vehicle’s safety, use or market value.
Vehicles not protected by Washington’s lemon law
- Motorcycles with 750 ccs or less
- Trucks that weighs over 19,000 lbs
- Motor homes sectioned used as commercial, work or home space (chassis and trucks are covered)
- Vehicles leased or purchased by a business with a fleet of 10 cars or more.
Resolutions and Arbitration
If the arbitrator resolves the case in your favor, the manufacturer will be authorized to refund your money or provide you with a replacement car. Washington’s lemon law requires you to request arbitration during the first 30 months after purchase. For more information about requesting lemon law arbitration, you can contact the office of the Attorney General in Washington at (800) 541-8898 or by use of email [email protected]
The office of the Attorney General in Washington has quite a good number of informative resources that may help you understand Washington’s lemon law and steps to follow if you become a victim of lemons. Here are some of the readings to get you started.
- Lemon law overview
- Motor vehicle lemon law brochure
- Submitting your request for arbitration
- Motor vehicle lemon law booklet
- Motor home lemon law booklet
- Lemon law for motor homes.
If you go through the arbitration process and fail to get your rights, you can hire a lemon law attorney to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.