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Washington Lemon Law (19.118.061 - 19.118.170)

Washington Lemon Law Statutes. RCWA 19.118.061. Vehicle With Nonconformities or out of Service–Notification of Correction–Resale or Transfer of Title–Issuance of new Title–Disclosure to Buyer–Intervening Transferor
  1. A manufacturer is prohibited from reselling any motor vehicle determined or adjudicated as having a serious safety defect unless the serious safety defect has been corrected and the manufacturer warrants upon the first subsequent resale that the defect has been corrected.
  2. Before any sale or transfer of a motor vehicle that has been replaced or repurchased by the manufacturer after a determination, adjudication, or settlement of a claim under this chapter, the manufacturer must:
    1. Notify the attorney general upon receipt of the motor vehicle;
    2. Submit a title application to the department of licensing in this state for title to the motor vehicle in the name of the manufacturer within sixty days; and
    3. Notify the attorney general and the department of licensing if the nonconformity in the motor vehicle is corrected.
  3. Before the first subsequent resale, either at wholesale or retail, or transfer of title of a motor vehicle previously returned after a final determination, adjudication, or settlement under this chapter or under a similar statute of any other state, the manufacturer, its agent, or a motor vehicle dealer, as defined in *RCW 46.70.011(4), who has actual knowledge of said final determination, adjudication, or settlement must:
    1. Obtain from the attorney general and attach to the motor vehicle a resale window display disclosure notice. Only the retail purchaser may remove the resale window display disclosure notice after execution of the resale disclosure form required under this subsection; and
    2. Obtain from the attorney general, execute, and deliver to the buyer before sale or other transfer of title a resale disclosure form setting forth information identifying the nonconformity and a title brand.
    1. When a manufacturer reacquires a vehicle under this chapter, the department of licensing must issue a new title with a title brand indicating the motor vehicle was returned under this chapter and information that the nonconformity has not been corrected.
    2. Upon receipt of the manufacturer’s notification under subsection (2) of this section that the nonconformity has been corrected and the manufacturer’s application for title in the name of the manufacturer under this section, the department of licensing must issue a new title with a title brand indicating the motor vehicle was returned under this chapter and information that the nonconformity has been corrected. Upon the first subsequent resale, either at wholesale or retail, or transfer of title of a motor vehicle, as provided under this section, the manufacturer shall warrant upon the resale that the nonconformity has been corrected.
    3. When the department of licensing receives a title application that complies with the department’s requirements and procedures for a motor vehicle previously titled in another state and that has a title brand or other documentation indicating the motor vehicle was reacquired by a manufacturer under a similar law, the department of licensing must issue a new title with a title brand indicating the motor vehicle was returned under a similar law of another state.
  4. After a manufacturer’s receipt of a motor vehicle under this chapter and prior to a motor vehicle’s first subsequent retail transfer by resale or lease, any intervening transferor of a motor vehicle subject to the requirements of this section who has received the resale disclosure form and resale window display disclosure notice provided by the attorney general under this section must deliver the resale disclosure form and resale window display disclosure notice with the motor vehicle to the next transferor, purchaser, or lessee to ensure proper and timely notice and disclosure. Any intervening transferor who fails to comply with this subsection must, at the option of the subsequent transferor or first subsequent retail purchaser or lessee: (a) Indemnify any subsequent transferor or first subsequent retail purchaser for all damages caused by such violation; or (b) repurchase the motor vehicle at the full purchase price including all fees, taxes, and costs incurred for goods and services which were included in the subsequent transaction.

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Washington Lemon Law Rights. RCWA 19.118.070. Remedies

The remedies provided under this chapter are cumulative and are in addition to any other remedies provided by law.

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Washington New Car Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.080. New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Boards–Arbitration Proceedings–Prerequisite to Filing Action in Superior Court
  1. Except as provided in RCW 19.118.160, the attorney general shall contract with one or more entities to conduct arbitration proceedings in order to settle disputes between consumers and manufacturers as provided in this chapter, and each entity shall constitute a new motor vehicle arbitration board for purposes of this chapter. The entities shall not be affiliated with any manufacturer or new motor vehicle dealer and shall have available the services of persons with automotive technical expertise to assist in resolving disputes under this chapter. No entity or its officers or employees conducting board proceedings and no arbitrator presiding at such proceedings shall be directly involved in the manufacture, distribution, sale, or warranty service of any motor vehicle. Payment to the entities for the arbitration services shall be made from the new motor vehicle arbitration account.
  2. The attorney general shall adopt rules for the uniform conduct of the arbitrations by the boards whether conducted by an entity or by the attorney general pursuant to RCW 19.118.160, which rules shall include but not be limited to the following procedures:
    1. At all arbitration proceedings, the parties are entitled to present oral and written testimony, to present witnesses and evidence relevant to the dispute, to cross-examine witnesses, and to be represented by counsel.
    2. A dealer, manufacturer, or other persons shall produce records and documents requested by a party which are reasonably related to the dispute. If a dealer, manufacturer, or other person refuses to comply with such a request, a party may present a request for the attorney general to issue a subpoena.
      The subpoena shall be issued only for the production of records and documents which the attorney general has determined are reasonably related to the dispute, including but not limited to documents described in RCW 19.118.031 (4) or (5).
      If a party fails to comply with the subpoena, the arbitrator may at the outset of the arbitration hearing impose any of the following sanctions: (i) Find that the matters which were the subject of the subpoena, or any other designated facts, shall be taken to be established for purposes of the hearing in accordance with the claim of the party which requested the subpoena; (ii) refuse to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose the designated claims or defenses, or prohibit that party from introducing designated matters into evidence; (iii) strike claims or defenses, or parts thereof; or (iv) render a decision by default against the disobedient party.
      If a nonparty fails to comply with a subpoena and upon an arbitrator finding that without such compliance there is insufficient evidence to render a decision in the dispute, the attorney general may enforce such subpoena in superior court and the arbitrator shall continue the arbitration hearing until such time as the nonparty complies with the subpoena or the subpoena is quashed.
    3. A party may obtain written affidavits from employees and agents of a dealer, a manufacturer or other party, or from other potential witnesses, and may submit such affidavits for consideration by the board.
    4. Records of the board proceedings shall be open to the public. The hearings shall be open to the public to the extent practicable.
    5. A single arbitrator may be designated to preside at such proceedings.
  3. A consumer shall exhaust the new motor vehicle arbitration board remedy or informal dispute resolution settlement procedure under RCW 19.118.150 before filing any superior court action.
  4. The attorney general shall maintain records of each dispute submitted to the new motor vehicle arbitration board, including an index of new motor vehicles by year, make, and model.
  5. The attorney general shall compile aggregate annual statistics for all disputes submitted to, and decided by, the new motor vehicle arbitration board, as well as annual statistics for each manufacturer that include, but shall not be limited to, the number and percent of: (a) Replacement motor vehicle requests; (b) purchase price refund requests; (c) replacement motor vehicles obtained in prehearing settlements; (d) purchase price refunds obtained in prehearing settlements; (e) replacement motor vehicles awarded in arbitration; (f) purchase price refunds awarded in arbitration; (g) board decisions neither complied with during the forty calendar day period nor petitioned for appeal within the thirty calendar day period; (h) board decisions appealed categorized by consumer or manufacturer; (i) the nature of the court decisions and who the prevailing party was; (j) appeals that were held by the court to be brought without good cause; and (k) appeals that were held by the court to be brought solely for the purpose of harassment. The statistical compilations shall be public information.
  6. The attorney general shall adopt rules to implement this chapter. Such rules shall include uniform standards by which the boards shall make determinations under this chapter, including but not limited to rules which provide:
    1. A board shall find that a nonconformity exists if it determines that the consumer’s new motor vehicle has a defect, serious safety defect, or condition that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.
    2. A board shall find that a reasonable number of attempts to repair a nonconformity have been undertaken if the history of attempts to diagnose or repair defects or conditions in the new motor vehicle meets or exceeds those identified in RCW 19.118.041.
    3. A board shall find that a manufacturer has failed to comply with RCW 19.118.041 if it finds that the manufacturer, its agent, or the new motor vehicle dealer has failed to correct a nonconformity after a reasonable number of attempts and the manufacturer has failed, within forty days of the consumer’s written request, to repurchase the vehicle or replace the vehicle with a vehicle identical or reasonably equivalent to the vehicle being replaced.
  7. The attorney general shall provide consumers with information regarding the procedures and remedies under this chapter.

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Washington Automobile Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.090. Request for Arbitration–Eligibility–Manufacturer’s Response–Defenses–Remedies–Acceptance or Appeal
  1. A consumer may request arbitration under this chapter by submitting the request to the attorney general. Within ten days after receipt of an arbitration request, the attorney general shall make a reasonable determination of the cause of the request for arbitration and provide necessary information to the consumer regarding the consumer’s rights and remedies under this chapter. The attorney general shall accept a request for arbitration, except where it clearly appears from the materials submitted by the consumer that the dispute is not eligible because it is lacking a statement of a claim, incomplete, untimely, frivolous, fraudulent, filed in bad faith, res judicata, or beyond the authority established in this chapter. A dispute found to be ineligible for arbitration because it lacks a statement of a claim or is incomplete may be reconsidered by the attorney general upon the submission of other information or documents regarding the dispute.
  2. After a dispute is accepted, the attorney general shall assign the dispute to the board. From the date the consumer’s request for arbitration is assigned by the attorney general, the board shall have forty-five calendar days to have an arbitrator hear the dispute and sixty days for the board to submit a decision to the attorney general. If the board determines that additional information is necessary to make a fair and reasoned decision, the arbitrator may continue the arbitration proceeding on a subsequent date within ten calendar days of the initial hearing. The board may require a party to submit additional information or request that the attorney general issue a subpoena to a nonparty for documents and records for a continued hearing.
  3. Manufacturers shall submit to arbitration if such arbitration is requested by the consumer within thirty months from the date of the original delivery of the new motor vehicle to a consumer at retail and if the consumer’s dispute is accepted for arbitration by the attorney general. In the case of a motor home, the thirty-month period will be extended by the amount of time it takes the motor home manufacturers to complete the final repair attempt at the designated repair facility as provided for in RCW 19.118.041(3)(b).
  4. The manufacturer shall complete a written manufacturer response to the consumer’s request for arbitration. The manufacturer shall provide a response to the consumer and the attorney general within ten calendar days from the date of the manufacturer’s receipt of notice of the attorney general’s assignment of a dispute for arbitration. The manufacturer response shall include all issues and affirmative defenses related to the nonconformities identified in the consumer’s request for arbitration that the manufacturer intends to raise at the arbitration hearing.
  5. It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this chapter that: (a) The alleged nonconformity does not substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the new motor vehicle; or (b) the alleged nonconformity is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the new motor vehicle.
  6. The arbitration decision must contain a written finding of whether the new motor vehicle should be repurchased or replaced pursuant to the standards set forth under this chapter.
    1. The board shall award the remedies under this chapter if a finding is made pursuant to RCW 19.118.041 that one or more nonconformities have been subject to a reasonable number of attempts.
    2. If the board awards remedies under this chapter after a finding is made pursuant to RCW 19.118.041 that one or more nonconformities have been subject to a reasonable number of attempts, the board shall award reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by the consumer where the manufacturer has been directly represented by counsel: (i) In dealings with the consumer in response to a request to repurchase or replace under RCW 19.118.041; (ii) in settlement negotiations; (iii) in preparation of the manufacturer’s statement; or (iv) at an arbitration hearing or other arbitration proceeding. In the case of an arbitration involving a motor home, the board may allocate liability among the motor home manufacturers.
    3. The decision of the board shall be submitted to the attorney general who shall deliver it by certified mail, electronic mail confirmed by an electronic notice of delivery status or similar confirmation, or personal service to the consumer and the manufacturer.
  7. The consumer may accept or reject the arbitration board decision. Upon acceptance by the consumer, the arbitration board decision shall become final. The consumer shall send written notification of acceptance or rejection to the attorney general within sixty days of receiving the decision and the attorney general shall immediately deliver a copy of the consumer’s acceptance to the manufacturer by certified mail, return receipt requested, electronic mail confirmed by an electronic notice of delivery status or similar confirmation, or by personal service. Failure of the consumer to respond to the attorney general within sixty calendar days of receiving the decision shall be considered a rejection of the decision by the consumer.
  8. Where a consumer rejects an arbitration decision, the consumer may appeal to superior court pursuant to RCW 19.118.100. The consumer shall have one hundred twenty calendar days from the date of rejection to file a petition of appeal in superior court. At the time the petition of appeal is filed, the consumer shall deliver, by certified mail or personal service, a conformed copy of such petition to the attorney general.
  9. Upon receipt of the consumer’s acceptance, the manufacturer shall have forty calendar days to comply with the arbitration board decision or thirty calendar days to file a petition of appeal in superior court. At the time the petition of appeal is filed, the manufacturer shall deliver, by certified mail or personal service, a conformed copy of such petition to the attorney general. If the attorney general receives no notice of petition of appeal after forty calendar days, the attorney general shall contact the consumer to verify compliance.

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Washington Vehicle Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.095. Arbitration Decision–Compliance–Accomplishment–Dispute–Failure–Fine–Costs–Attorneys’ Fees
  1. Compliance with an arbitration board decision under this chapter must be accomplished at a time, place, and in a manner to be determined by the mutual agreement of the consumer and manufacturer.
    1. The consumer shall make the motor vehicle available to the manufacturer free of damage other than that related to any nonconformity, defect, or condition to which a warranty applied, or that can reasonably be expected in the use of the vehicle for ordinary or reasonably intended purposes and in consideration of the miles traveled by the vehicle. Any insurance claims or settlement proceeds for repair of damage to the vehicle due to fire, theft, vandalism, or collision must be assigned to the manufacturer or, at the consumer’s option, the repair must be completed before return of the vehicle to the manufacturer.
      The consumer may not remove any equipment or option that was included in the original purchase or lease of the vehicle or that is otherwise included in the repurchase or replacement award. In removing any equipment not included in the original purchase or lease, the consumer shall exercise reasonable care to avoid further damage to the vehicle but is not required to return the vehicle to original condition.
      At the time of compliance with an arbitration board decision that awards repurchase, the manufacturer shall make full payment to the consumers and either the lessor or lienholder, or both, or provide verification to the consumer of prior payment to either the lessor or lienholder, or both.
    2. At the time of compliance with an arbitration board decision that awards replacement, the manufacturer shall provide the replacement vehicle together with any refund of incidental costs.
    3. At any time before compliance a party may request the attorney general to resolve disputes regarding compliance with the arbitration board decision including but not limited to time and place for compliance, condition of the vehicle to be returned, clarification or recalculation of refund amounts under the award, or a determination if an offered vehicle is reasonably equivalent to the vehicle being replaced. The attorney general may resolve the dispute or refer compliance-related disputes to the board pursuant to RCW 19.118.160 for a compliance dispute hearing and decision. In resolving compliance disputes the attorney general or board may not review, alter, or otherwise change the findings of a decision or extend the time for compliance beyond the time necessary to resolve the dispute.
    4. Failure of the consumer to make the vehicle available within sixty calendar days in response to a manufacturer’s unconditional tender of compliance is considered a rejection of the arbitration decision by the consumer, except as provided in (c) of this subsection or subsection (2) of this section.
  2. If, at the end of the forty calendar day period, neither compliance with nor a petition to appeal the board’s decision has occurred, the attorney general may impose a fine of up to one thousand dollars per day until compliance occurs or a maximum penalty of one hundred thousand dollars accrues unless the manufacturer can provide clear and convincing evidence that any delay or failure was beyond its control or was acceptable to the consumer as evidenced by a written statement signed by the consumer. If the manufacturer fails to provide the evidence or fails to pay the fine, the attorney general may initiate proceedings against the manufacturer for failure to pay any fine that accrues until compliance with the board’s decision occurs or the maximum penalty of one hundred thousand dollars results. If the attorney general prevails in an enforcement action regarding any fine imposed under this subsection, the attorney general is entitled to reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees. Fines and recovered costs and fees shall be returned to the new motor vehicle arbitration account.

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Washington Lemon Law Statutes. RCWA 19.118.100. Trial de Novo–Posting Security—Recovery
  1. The consumer or the manufacturer may request a trial de novo of the arbitration decision, including a rejection, in superior court.
  2. If the manufacturer appeals, the court may require the manufacturer to post security for the consumer’s financial loss due to the passage of time for review.
  3. If the consumer prevails, recovery shall include the monetary value of the award, attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in the superior court action, and, if the board awarded the consumer replacement or repurchase of the vehicle and the manufacturer did not comply, continuing damages in the amount of twenty-five dollars per day for all days beyond the forty calendar day period following the manufacturer’s receipt of the consumer’s acceptance of the board’s decision in which the manufacturer did not provide the consumer with the free use of a comparable loaner replacement motor vehicle. If it is determined by the court that the party that appealed acted without good cause in bringing the appeal or brought the appeal solely for the purpose of harassment, the court may triple, but at least shall double, the amount of the total award.

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Washington Lemon Law Rights. RCWA 19.118.110. Arbitration Fee–New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Account–Report by Attorney General

If the new motor vehicle will be registered in the state of Washington, a three-dollar arbitration fee shall be collected by either the new motor vehicle dealer or vehicle lessor from the consumer upon execution of a retail sale or lease agreement. The fee shall be forwarded to the department of licensing at the time of title application for deposit in the new motor vehicle arbitration account hereby created in the state treasury. Moneys in the account shall be used for the purposes of this chapter, subject to appropriation. During the 1995-97 fiscal biennium, the legislature may transfer moneys from the account to the extent that the moneys are not necessary for the purposes of this chapter.

At the end of each fiscal year, the attorney general shall prepare a report listing the annual revenue generated and the expenses incurred in implementing and operating the arbitration program under this chapter.

During the 2017-2019 fiscal biennium, the legislature may direct the state treasurer to make transfers of moneys in the new motor vehicle arbitration account to the state general fund.

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Washington New Car Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.120. Application of Consumer Protection act

The legislature finds that the practices covered by this chapter are matters vitally affecting the public interest for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW. A violation of this chapter is not reasonable in relation to the development and preservation of business and is an unfair or deceptive act in trade or commerce and an unfair method of competition for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW.

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Washington Automobile Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.130. Waivers, Limitations, Disclaimers—Void

Any agreement entered into by a consumer for the purchase of a new motor vehicle that waives, limits, or disclaims the rights set forth in RCW 19.118.021 through 19.118.140 shall be void as contrary to public policy. Said rights shall extend to a subsequent transferee of such new motor vehicle.

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Washington Vehicle Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.140. Other Rights and Remedies not Precluded

Nothing in this chapter limits the consumer from pursuing other rights or remedies under any other law.

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Washington Lemon Law Statutes. RCWA 19.118.150. Informal Dispute Resolution Settlement Procedure

If a manufacturer has established an informal dispute resolution settlement procedure which substantially complies with the applicable provision of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations Part 703, as from time to time amended, a consumer may choose to first submit a dispute under this chapter to the informal dispute resolution settlement procedure.

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Washington Lemon Law Rights. RCWA 19.118.160. Arbitration Program–When Established by Attorney General

If the attorney general is unable to contract with one or more entities to conduct arbitrations, the attorney general shall establish an arbitration program and conduct arbitrations under the procedures and standards established in this chapter.

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Washington New Car Lemon Law. RCWA 19.118.170. History of Vehicle–Availability to Owner

Notwithstanding RCW 46.12.635, the department of licensing shall make available to the registered owner all title history information regarding the vehicle upon request of the registered owner and receipt of a statement that he or she is investigating or pursuing rights under this chapter.

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Consumer Protection Attorneys
  • Amorette Rinkleib, Attorney at Law (WA Bar No. 48626)
  • Thompson Consumer Law Group PLLC (Managing Attorney Russell S. Thompson IV, Arizona Bar No: 029098)
  • co-counsel, Weisberg Consumer Law Group PA (Managing Attorney Alex Weisberg, Florida Bar No: 0566551)

To connect with these law firms for a FREE CASE REVIEW or more information:
Call: Toll Free (888) 565-3666
Email: Help@CarLemon.com

Ms. Rinleib provides lemon law representation with Weisberg Consumer Law Group PA and Thompson Consumer Law Group litigates claims under state and federal consumer financial protection laws.

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