Lemon Law in Washington

What is the Washington Lemon Law?

Like most other states, Washington has a lemon law designed to protect new car buyers whose vehicles have significant, ongoing mechanical or warranty repair failures.

Generally, vehicle manufacturers are allowed a certain number of attempts to repair a defective vehicle before they will be required to either replace the vehicle or refund your purchase.

On this page you'll find an overview of some of the aspects of the Washington lemon law and the steps you may need to take if you end up with a lemon.

What is a Lemon Car in Washington?

Washington's lemon law allows new vehicle owners in the state to request arbitration from the state's Attorney General. There is no charge for the process, through which an arbitrator will determine whether the car buyer's claim qualifies for protection under Washington's lemon law.

Washington has four categories of lemon law issues:

  • An unrepaired non-conformity that the manufacturer has made at least 4 attempts to repair, and at least 1 attempt occurred during the warranty period.
  • An unrepaired serious safety defect that has not been fixed after 2 attempts, and at least 1 attempt was made while the vehicle was under warranty.
  • Multiple serious safety defects that have each had at least 1 attempt to repair attempt during the warranty period.
  • Days out of service, when vehicle repairs have taken at least 30 days total.

Washington lemon law protection is limited to new vehicles, and one of the circumstances above must be met.

Ineligible Vehicles

The following vehicles are not covered by Washington's lemon law:

  • Motorcycles smaller than 750 ccs.
  • Trucks with a gross weight rating over 19,000 lbs.
  • Motor home sections used as home, work, or commercial space (but the truck and chassis are covered).
  • Autos purchased or leased by a business in a fleet of 10 vehicles or more.

Washington Lemon Law Claims & Arbitration

What happens if the arbiter decides you've got a lemon? The manufacturer will be required to provide you with a replacement car or a prorated refund.

A Washington vehicle owner may request lemon law arbitration as long as 30 months after taking delivery of the vehicle.

For more information about requesting arbitration for a lemon law dispute, please contact the Washington Attorney General's office.

  • Phone: (800) 541-8898.
  • E-mail: lemon@atg.wa.gov.

Further Information on Lemon Law in WA

Washington's Office of the Attorney General has compiled a number of informative resources to help consumers understand the lemon law and their rights and responsibilities. Here's some excellent reading to get you started:

Even though the state's arbitrator will negotiate between you and the car's manufacturer, in some cases the automaker won't give up easily. After all, who wants to issue a refund in the tens of thousands of dollars? If your case is anything but a clear winner, you might want to enlist the support and expertise of a lemon law attorney.

Hiring a WA Lemon Law Attorney

You may decide that hiring a lemon law attorney can be helpful in getting your case resolved, especially if arbitration has failed.

A Washington lemon law lawyer can help with details like:

  • Determining the best course of action.
  • Gathering supporting documentation and evidence to make your case stronger.
  • Filing motions and other legal procedures correctly and on time.
  • Communicating and negotiating with the vehicle manufacturer before, during, and after your case.

While you aren't required to have an attorney, some find it helpful to hire a lawyer with expertise in Washington's lemon law and consumer protection issues.

Choosing a Lemon Law Attorney

You may find several lemon law attorneys in your area. Schedule free consultations with a few to gain more information about them to help you make your decision.

During this consultation, you can learn more about each WA lawyer and their relevant experience. Consider asking about:

  • Lemon law experience.
    • Have they handled lemon law or consumer protection cases?
    • How long have they practiced law in this field?
    • Are they experienced with Washington lemon law specifically?
  • Reasonable expectations.
    • What can the lawyer do on your behalf? What are they prohibited from doing?
    • How long can a lemon law case take?
  • Fees.
    • How much does the lemon law attorney charge? When are the fees paid?
    • What other costs are you responsible for?

Learning more about a lemon law lawyer's background, role, and fees can help you determine if you want to hire a lawyer and, if so, which one to select.

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