Beware of sellers trying to waive warranties as prices for used cars soar
OLYMPIA — As prices for used cars rise, Attorney General Bob Ferguson is urging Washingtonians to be aware of their used car warranty rights. All used cars come with an “implied warranty” under state law, ensuring the car is safe to drive and free of major defects. Dealers cannot waive this warranty without a buyer’s knowledge and consent.
“Know your rights — don’t let used car dealers waive the warranty on your car without your consent,” Ferguson said. “This isn’t just unfair. It’s against the law. Any car dealers who do not honor the implied warranty will be hearing from my office.”
In Washington, all used cars must be sold with an “implied warranty of merchantability,” meaning the dealer must promise the used car will be fit for ordinary driving purposes, reasonably safe, without major defects, and of the average quality of similar cars available for sale in the same price range.
A car can only be sold without the implied warranty if the customer knowingly agreed to waive the warranty and was provided with a statement of the particular characteristics or parts of the car that are not covered. Regardless of whether the implied warranty is waived, dealers cannot sell cars that, due to defective or missing safety equipment, are not legal to drive on public roads.
From January 2021 to April 2022, consumers filed more than 400 complaints mentioning implied warranties, which is 31 percent of all automotive complaints to the Attorney General’s Office. As reported by KIRO 7’s Jesse Jones in a story highlighting this issue, one Washingtonian purchased a car, unknowingly waiving the implied warranty. Just days after purchase, he discovered the car needed thousands of dollars in repairs.
Ferguson urges Washingtonians to be aware of their rights as they shop for used cars. A dealer cannot waive your warranty rights without your knowledge.
- The use of an “as-is” sticker in the window of a car for sale does not circumvent your implied warranty rights.
- Purchasers must knowingly agree to waive their implied warranty rights.
- There must be a written record of any discussion of a waiver. Get all promises in writing.
- A discussion of size, style, color, extra equipment, price, power and model is not an explicit negotiation of a waiver of implied warranty rights.
- The burden is on the dealer to show that the consumer waived the implied warranty.
Read more about your used car warranty rights at www.atg.wa.gov/implied-warranty. Read more about precautions against common misleading sales tactics used by car dealers at www.atg.wa.gov/buying-precautions-used-car-considerations.
If you notice any high-pressure or misleading used car sales tactics, file a consumer complaint at www.atg.wa.gov/file-complaint.
Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.email@example.com
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