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The Lemon Law in Washington

Carlos Montenegro
 


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Under the Washington State Motor Vehicle Lemon Law, a vehicle is considered a lemon when attempts to repair a vehicle have not been successful. It could have one or more substantial defects and attempts of two or more were initiated but the problem still continues to exist.

In the state of Washington, your vehicle may be covered if it is a passenger car, small or medium sized truck, large motorcycle or motor home. It has to be originally purchased or leased in Washington State and also registered there.

If you do own a lemon, you can request an arbitration hearing thought the Attorney General's office which has to be submitted within 30 months of the vehicle's original delivery date. Unlike other states which require you to pay a small filing fee, here you don't have to pay anything. The only thing you have to do is prove your case.

Vehicles which are not covered under the Washington lemon law include motorcycles with engine displacements of less than 750 cubic centimeters, trucks that have a gross weight rating of 19,000 lbs, portions of a motor home and vehicles that are part of a business consisting of more than 10 units.

The documents you need when you request for arbitration include the purchase or lease agreement, the title or lease registration and the vehicle repair orders. The repair order which is the most important document to have must identify the problem of the vehicle, the diagnosis, work done, the mileage and the dates that the vehicle was in the shop.

To strengthen your case, you are entitled to get a copy of any report with regards to the inspection and diagnosis of your vehicle. This includes the technical service bulletin that is sent regularly by the manufacturer. The TSB describes common problems in certain vehicles and how to repair it.

If there are some documents missing, you should write a written request to the manufacturer to obtain copies of these documents.

But before you go off writing a letter, you should give the manufacturer ample time to try and repair the vehicle. If after two attempts nothing chances, you should request the repurchase or replacement of the vehicle.

This letter must be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. This will verify that the manufacturer received your letter.

You should give the manufacturer at least 40 days to respond to your request. If nothing happens, then it is time to write the request for arbitration from the Attorney General's office.

The hearing will be over in matter of days. Under the law, if you arbitrator rules that your vehicle is a lemon, you will be given the choice whether to repurchase or get a replacement vehicle.

A repurchase is another word for refund and this is based on the cash price of the vehicle. This includes collateral charges, incidental costs and legal fees. If you are getting a refund for a used vehicle, naturally this will be based on the purchase price. A replacement vehicle is similar to what you previously purchased.

The lemon law in the state of Washington requires you to return the lemon vehicle back to the manufacturer free of any damage. This shouldn't be a problem because you are getting your money back or getting a new unit to take its place.

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