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Don’t Let Used Car Dealers Waive the Implied Warranty on Your Car

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. 

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.