Lemon laws in Washington are regulations that generally aim to protect consumers who purchase a defective car or other consumer products and services, such as computers, phones, and even animals. Typically, the term lemon is applied to defective motor vehicles like trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, vans, all-terrain vehicles, and cars, but there are other “lemon laws” in Washington for many different consumer products. In addition to the lemon laws in Washington, there are also federal lemon laws that have protected every U.S. citizen in any state since 1975. The federal lemon law largely covers mechanical defects (i.e., defects relating to vehicles). However, the lemon laws in Washington offer a wider coverage and can even apply to business and commercial motor vehicles.
What Is the Lemon Law in Washington?
The lemon law Washington is a consumer protection law that aims to help consumers who inadvertently purchase defective goods, primarily vehicles. The law in Washington mandates that the manufacturer must make a reasonable effort, which is typically four or more attempts to repair the vehicle prior to a reasonable time limit. If the manufacturer fails to do this, the law requires that it either refund the consumer’s money or replace the defective vehicle with a comparable new motor vehicle.
How Does the Lemon Law in Washington Work?
Lemon laws in Washington exceed the contractual protections afforded to consumers in warranties. A general requirement in Washington lemon law is that the product (vehicle) must have been purchased with such warranty as is eligible under the law. There must be a material defect with the vehicle—meaning that the defect affects the vehicle’s ability to function.This can be a specific or generic defect. Additionally, the consumer must give the manufacturer or seller the opportunity to repair the defect.
If, however, a consumer has an agreement to purchase a vehicle “as-is,” that agreement is taken as an acceptance and assumption of the risk of potential defects by the buyer. What this means is that the consumer is willing to purchase the product regardless of any possible defects—whether known or unknown—and that the buyer waives the right to seek reimbursement of the full purchase price (often minus collateral costs) from the seller (authorized motor vehicle dealer) or manufacturer.
Washington Lemon Law on Replacement or Refund of a Motor Vehicle
The remedies available to a consumer once the above requirements have been satisfied are as follows:
- The defective vehicle will be replaced with a new motor vehicle (or one without defects); or
- The consumer receives a complete refund or appropriate monetary compensation from the seller.
Washington Lemon Law on Replacement or Refund of a Motor Home
Most people are unaware that RVs, or motor homes, are covered by lemon law in Washington. The remedies for purchasing a lemon RV are similar to those for purchasing other vehicles. A consumer is entitled to either:
- Having the lemon RV replaced with a new RV or an RV without defects; or
- Receiving a refund of the purchase price or appropriate monetary compensation from the seller.
Manufacturer’s Duty To Repair
The manufacturer or its agent owes a duty to repair the defect that surpasses any warranty the buyer was given or purchased along with the vehicle. After a reasonable number of attempts to repair, the manufacturer must either replace or repurchase the vehicle.
Is There a Lemon Law in Washington for Used Cars?
As of 2022, only these seven states in the U.S. have lemon laws for used cars:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
However, Washington lemon law for used cars are protected under federal lemon laws.
You can’t ensure a new vehicle you decide to buy in Washington is of the best quality. But you can always secure you are on the safe side with the properly-drafted Bill of Sale Agreement Template. Just fill in all the required information and get the document that will help you eliminate your financial risks and protect your buyer’s rights.
The lemon laws in Washington are designed to benefit you, the consumer. They were created to prevent people from being saddled with products that they cannot use. After contacting the manufacturer a reasonable number of times, if the company fails to adequately repair the defect within a suitable repair period, the next best step may be to contact a lemon law attorney in Washington for help with your case.