Lemon Law Basics

Seattle Lemon Law Basics

Attentive Legal Guidance from an Experienced Lemon Law Attorney

Seattle vehicle owners are legally protected by Washington’s Lemon Law, which deals with defective and irreparable vehicles that pose a safety hazard to drivers on the road. The Law Office of Cosmin Popa practices exclusively in the area of Lemon Law and is deeply familiar with the legal process of filing a claim for compensation due to a lemon vehicle. Our firm will provide attentive, one-on-one assistance to help you recover your losses.

Learn more about the basics of Washington’s Lemon Law with the Law Office of Cosmin Popa. Schedule an initial consultation today.

What Is Washington’s Lemon Law?

The State of Washington enacted the “Lemon Law” to help vehicle owners who face substantial continuing problems with warranty repairs of their vehicles. The Lemon Law allows the owner to request an arbitration hearing within 30 months of the vehicle’s original retail delivery date. 

At the arbitration hearing, you will need to identify the basis for your claim (that is, the type of defect in your vehicle). After the hearing, an arbitrator will decide whether your claim qualifies for compensation in the form of repurchase or replacement.

What Qualifies a Vehicle as a “Lemon?”

A vehicle is a “lemon” if it has one or more significant defects despite a “reasonable number of attempts” to diagnose or repair the problems under the manufacturer’s warranty. A defect under the Lemon Law is anything that substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.

Some examples of vehicle defects include:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Faulty windshield wipers
  • Malfunctioning speedometers and fuel gauges (e.g., oil leaks)
  • Faulty headlights and brake lights
  • Malfunctioning door locks
  • Failure to start
  • Faulty air conditioning or heating system

4 Claim Categories

There are four types of claims you can prove at the arbitration hearing that would require the manufacturer to repurchase or replace your defective vehicle:

  • Unrepaired Nonconformity – The defect substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the motor vehicle, rendering the vehicle unreliable, unsafe for ordinary use, or diminished in resale value.
  • Unrepaired Serious Safety Defect – The defect is a life-threatening malfunction that impairs your ability to control or operate the vehicle or creates a risk of fire or explosion.
  • Multiple Serious Safety Defects – Two or more serious safety defects are present.
  • Days Out of Service – The vehicle has been out of service for 30 or more days due to diagnosis or repair, 15 days of which occurred during the manufacturer’s warranty period and the Lemon Law eligibility period.

What Is the Eligibility Period?

There is no specific time frame for a vehicle’s eligibility for a Lemon Law claim, but the time period is often shorter than the manufacturer’s warranty coverage and is determined by a mileage limit and a time limit. Generally, a vehicle meets the eligibility period if it was diagnosed or repaired:

  • within 2 years from the original retail delivery date; and
  • before the vehicle reached 24,000 miles of operation.

If you have questions about how the Lemon Law applies to your situation, reach out to the Law Office of Cosmin Popa for assistance. We exclusively take on Lemon Law cases and can walk you through the basics of filing a claim. 

Contact our firm to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your Lemon Law questions. Representing drivers in King, Snohomish, and Spokane County.