Washington Lemon Law Summary
- Eligibility: 4 unsuccessful repairs, 30 calendar days out of service (15 during warranty period), or 2 repairs of serious safety defects, first reported within shorter of warranty or 24 months or 24,000 miles. One repair attempt + 15 of the 30 days must fall within manufacturer's express warranty of at least 1 year of 12,000 miles.
- Resolution Attempt: Written notice to manufacturer.
- State-run arbitration mechanism available. Law specifically applies to leased vehicles.
- Note: Consumer should receive replacement or refund within 40 calendar days of request.
Whether you’re en route to the Seattle Fish Market or on your way to work, the last you want is to be stranded on the side of the highway…in the pouring rain. If you’re a Washington state resident and bought your vehicle here however, the law may be on your side.
An advisor at Washington’s Lemon Law Department clarified what characteristics qualify a car as a lemon.
“It needs to be new…and you have 2 ½ years to apply for a lemon, from the date of purchase,” she explained. “You can be the second owner but your first repair needs to happen before 24,000 miles.”
The advisor said that these cars have to meet one of the 4 criteria listed under Washington’s lemon law:
A Serious safety defect
2 serious safety defects within a year
Nonconformity has made it diminish in resale value,
30 cumulative days out of service
Motorcycles are also covered, the advisor added. And as long as your car was bought in Washington, is under 24,000 miles, and 2 ½ years old, it’s one step closer to being eligible for the lemon law. The advisor explained possible options when pursuing a lemon law claim.
“It depends on the cases, a lot of people go through lemon law without attorneys,” she said. “However if the manufacturer hires an attorney first, we notify the client. If they then choose to hire an attorney and win the case, they will be reimbursed for the attorney costs since the manufacturer hired an attorney first.”
Benefits of winning a lemon law case seem to be based on the consumer’s preference.
For more information, you can contact the Attorney General’s office at (360) 753-6200.