1 CHAPTER FOUR: CONSUMER LAW HOW LAWS PROTECT THE CONSUMER Federal Law Some of the federal agencies that handle consumer complaints and regulate businesses have offices in Washington State that are listed below. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 915 Second Ave., Room 2806, Seattle WA 98174, This is the government's main consumer protection agency. It acts to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices as well as problems with bills, credit and warranties. The website for the agency is The Consumer Product Safety Commission PO Box 21027, Seattle WA ; This agency makes and enforces safety standards for many consumer products. Their website is Food & Drug Administration (FDA) rd Dr. SE, Bothell WA, 98021; , toll free hotline This agency regulates the safety of food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices through a testing program. It can order unsafe products off the market. The agency website is Postal Inspection Service PO Box 400, Seattle WA ; This agency handles mail fraud in Washington State. The website address is U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) 915 2d St., Seattle, WA The Auto Safety Hotline, a program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (one division of DOT) can be reached at and handles complaints about car defects and child car seats. The DOT website is State Law The Washington Legislature enacted the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), [RCW ch ] which is modeled after the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC). The law provides: "Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful."
2 The Attorney General is authorized to enforce the Act and has the following remedies available: 1) injunction (an order issued by the court to direct a party to take some action or to forbid some act) 2) civil penalties or fines 3) award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs 4) forfeiture of defendant's corporate franchise. One or several of these remedies may be used. Sometimes private citizens may also enforce the CPA if they can show that their property or business has been injured in their business or property by a violation of the Act, and that the public interest would be served by the private suit. A contract affecting only the two parties would not be considered to affect the "public interest." It must be shown that the practice either affected other consumers or had the potential to affect others. This can be a very difficult element to prove in a private suit under the CPA. Private citizens (sometimes called "private attorney generals") who can meet this standard may sue for an injunction, damages, or both. The law also authorizes the award of treble damages (three times the amount of actual damages) in certain instances, up to a maximum of $10,000. Washington has enacted numerous other state laws to protect consumers, such as the Timeshare Act [RCW ], Chain Distribution Schemes Act [RCW ], Automobile Repair Act [RCW ], Prearrangement Contracts Act (dealing with funeral services) [RCW ], and the Collection Agency Act [RCW ]. These are all civil laws, which are enforced in a civil law suit, with the remedy usually being an injunction or money damages. Some of these will be discussed later in the chapter. Local Law Cities also enact laws to protect consumers, for example, Seattle has a false advertising ordinance: Seattle Municipal Code False and Misleading Advertising [Sec ] It shall be unlawful to advertise any goods or wares or merchandise, securities, service, real estate or any other thing offered by such a person, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale or distribution by making or employing any assertion, representation or statement of fact which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading. HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS AS A CONSUMER Consumer Protection Agencies and Organizations Washington has a very active consumer division within the Attorney General's Office, called the Consumer and Business Fair Practices Division. The Consumer Protection Act gives the Attorney General's office the authority to bring
3 lawsuits on behalf of consumers against businesses, and to ask the court for injunctions and restitution (repayment of money lost because of the unfair practice) of money to injured consumers. The office also publishes brochures on dozens of topics of interest to consumers, and maintains a "Consumer Line", with tapes providing information about advertising, appliances, credit, funerals, landlord tenant disputes, moving, and many other topics. The Consumer Line may be reached state-wide by calling Toll-free or in Seattle. The website for consumer protection is and complaints can also be filed on-line. There are many private groups in Washington that publish information designed to assist consumers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has six offices in the state of Washington, in Tacoma, Seattle, Spokane, Yakima, Tri-Cities and Olympia. The aims of the BBB are to protect the consumer, to encourage honesty in business, and to inform the public so the consumer can buy intelligently. There is no local website. Seattle Better Business Bureau 24 hr line: (206) a source for business and consumer information. The hotline can be used to help assess the reliability of a company or a charitable organization, file a complaint, receive consumer advice or obtain information on scams and ripoffs. Most of the services of the BBB are free. Taking Your Case to Court Small Claims Court Small Claims Courts hear civil matters involving money damages of $4500 or less. Attorneys are not allowed to represent the parties, and each party is allowed to give his or her side of the dispute. An action may be filed in Small Claims Court by filling out a complaint form designed by the court, and paying a filing fee (in King County $21). Actions must be filed in the county where the defendant resides, except in accident cases, which may be filed where the accident occurred. The wait for a case to be heard in small claims court is much shorter than cases in superior court-usually 1-3 months. Many small claims courts have mediation programs, offering litigants the opportunity to resolve their case by mediation rather than by the judge.
4 DECEPTIVE SALES PRACTICES Before studying this area of the law, first read the following scenarios, and decide whether you think the practice is fair or unfair. We will then learn which of these practices are considered legal and which are unfair or deceptive and therefore illegal. Fair or Unfair? Decide whether or not you think the merchant's actions are fair (F) or unfair (U). If you think you need more information, put (U) for undecided. 1. Jane joins a record club that requires that she buy five records during the year. She will receive a notice every month of the monthly record. In order not to receive and be obligated to buy that record, she must return the card within five days, stating that she does not want to buy the record offered, or it will be automatically sent and billed to her. Jane failed to send in the cards and has received 12 records which the record club claims she must pay for. 2. Ralph gets a flyer about an opportunity meeting to make a lot of money. He goes to the meeting and discovers that he must make an initial financial investment which buys him the right to recruit others into the program. When he joins, he will get money for each person he recruits to join. The new recruits must invest in the business. 3. Terry and Ann see an ad for "freight damaged dining room tables on sale for $300." They go to the store where Al explains that the damaged tables have been sold. However, they do have dining room tables for $600 in stock. 4. When Terry and Ann arrive at the store to buy this freight damaged table, Al shows them the table for $300. He also suggests that a much nicer one is available for $ Cheatham's Sales offers a free one carat emerald to anyone who comes to their one-hour presentation on condominiums. Marvin goes to the presentation and is subjected to high pressure sales tactics to buy a condominium. He resists and leaves with a low quality one carat emerald worth $ A New Age Encyclopedia representative comes to Tom's home and interviews him about his beliefs in education. As a result of Tom's answers, New Age agrees to place an encyclopedia in his home at no cost. Tom's only obligation is to pay for annual supplements at $50 each for the next ten years. Tom must pay for these ten supplements ($500) in advance. 7. Rodney goes to a beef outlet store after seeing an ad for beef at a low price. He orders 100 lbs. of beef and the meat dealer asks, "Do you use a lot of fat? You don't by any chance make your own soap, do you?" Rodney says
5 no and the dealer then encourages him to buy better quality, more expensive meat. 8. Shelly receives a postcard offering her a "thrilling, heart-shaped 14- karat gold-flash medallion containing 10,000 dazzling diamonds and one matching 14-karat gold-flash 18-inch necklace" from Henri Hamilton of J.E.N. Jewels of New York. The cost is just $3.00. She calls the 900 number on the postcard and is told all of the advertised necklaces are gone. Later, her phone bill includes a charge of $6.95 for the 900 number call.
6 Information about hypotheticals: When reviewing these situations with students, keep in mind that students are asked to decide what they think is fair and unfair. While their opinion may not be in agreement what the law has determined is legal or illegal, this does not make their opinion "wrong" or "right." It may well be that the law is ill-advised also. 1. This is a "negative option" or "negative response" plan and it is legal. 2. This is an illegal pyramid. 3. This is an illegal bait and switch sales tactic. If the ad had said that there were only a limited number of damaged tables available, it would probably be okay. 4. This may be an illegal bait and switch sales tactic. The test is whether the seller had a "bona fide intent to sell" the damaged table. 5. This is probably legal, since Marvin technically got what was advertised. 6. This is an illegal phony contest. 7. This is illegal bait and switch. (This is based on a real case in Washington!) 8. This is illegal, under the Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act discussed in below. The seller is surely misrepresenting the quality and availability of the necklaces, in order to make money on the 900 number calls. This is based on a real ad sent to consumers in Washington in 1991.
7 Door-to-Door Sales While many door to door salespeople are honest, unscrupulous ones often take in unwary consumers. The experience of a face to face encounter with a skilled, experienced con man or woman leaves many unable to resist the "bargain" offered. These salespeople know that many of us don't think clearly when being bombarded with too much information at once and take advantage of this fact to make a sale. The FTC and our state legislature have enacted laws to protect consumers who make unwise purchases or agreements in the heat of the moment. The FTC rule gives consumers the right to a three-day "cooling off" period on door-to-door sales. This applies to door-to-door sales or other sales made away from the seller's place of business such as sales parties, exhibitions or "home shows." The sale must be for more than $25. (If the sale is for less than $25, a state law gives you three days to cancel if you making at least four payments or you are paying a service charge.) The sales person is also required to give you two copies of a cancellation form, a copy of your contract and a receipt. If you decide to cancel one of these contracts, you must do so in writing, within 3 days. Sundays and holidays are not counted. It is best to send the cancellation notice by certified mail, and be sure to keep a copy of the letter. You do not have to have any reason for cancelling. The law gives you the right to just change your mind. Question: Is this enough time? What if you are illiterate or English is not your native language? Sales by phone or mail do not fall under the FTC three day cooling off rule. Washington State, however, has a law called the Telephone Solicitation Act, discussed below, that regulates sales by phone. THE CASE OF THE CHEAP VACATION 48 In the middle of a dark, rainy winter, a Seattle couple, the Slothbys, received a phone call from a sunny voice telling them they had won a tropical vacation for an incredibly low price. The initial deposit was small and they were told that they must purchase immediately. Otherwise another winner would be given their opportunity. They were told to have a check or money order ready to be picked up by a messenger service. Soon after the Slothby's paid the deposit they were contacted by the out-of-state sales manager who told them they would have to pay more fees to cover "a few unexpected but necessary arrangements." The Slothby's were disappointed, but they had already put in their request for vacation time at work and made arrangements to have their pet iguana watched 48 Based on local travel scams as described in: Shelby Gilje, Protect Yourself Against Those Seasonal Scams, Seattle Times, January 4, 1994.
8 by the neighbors. As the vacation neared they had several more calls from their out-of-state friend asking for additional fees and finally a call informing them that their vacation would have to be postponed. The Slothbys ended up spending their winter vacation at Mr. Slothby's mother's home in Tacoma. Ask students to brainstorm precautions the Slothbys should have taken. Possibilities include: 49 Don't buy unless you can use a credit card. That gives you the option of canceling the purchase and the charge if you never get the trip. Insist on specifics in writing, such as which airline, cruise ship and hotels will provide service; verify that information with those entities before paying. Get a full disclosure of costs, and cancellation and change penalties. If you haven't time to verify these details before the offer expires, don't buy it. Check out the businesses involved with the Better Business Bureaus and attorneys general both in and out of state. You still won't have a guarantee that you're dealing with someone who will get you on a plane or ship. Only spend as much money as you can afford to lose. Be skeptical about offers that come by phone or in the mail announcing you've won a prize, then demand fees. Be wary of offers to have a "messenger" pick up your check. Prosecution of Travel Scammers In July 1994, a Friday Harbor man was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years probation, and payment of $707,000 for selling false vacation deals to clergymen and World War II vets. 50 He used a picture of himself shaking hands with the Pope to market his scheme. Because the charges involved mail fraud and were brought under criminal statutes, the judge was able to sentence the man to jail time. Moreover, a restitution obligation is not affected by a bankruptcy declaration in a criminal suit. When the Attorney General pursues a scam under civil law those advantages are absent. However, Pat Sainsbury, chief deputy of the King County prosecutor's fraud division, said it was tough to get even whether it is a criminal prosecution or not. People can steal more than they can pay back." 51 In 21 years with the prosecutor's office, Sainsbury recalled only one or two instances in which individuals ordered to make restitution actually paid back the full amount. 49 Id. 50 Shelby Gilje, Travel Scam Prosecutions Bring Feelings of Transport, Seattle Times, July 31st, Id.
9 WASHINGTON CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW--TRAVEL SALES (Effective January 1, 1996) RCW The legislature finds and declares that advertising, sales, and business practices of certain sellers of travel have worked financial hardship upon the people of this state; that the travel business has a significant impact upon the economy and well-being of this state and its people; that problems have arisen regarding certain sales of travel; and that the public welfare requires registration of sellers of travel in order to eliminate unfair advertising, sales and business practices. The legislature further finds it necessary to establish standards that will safeguard the people against financial hardship and to encourage fair dealing and prosperity in the travel business. RCW Requires a seller of travel, before receiving any payment, to furnish a written statement to the buyer including: the seller's name and address, amount paid, registration number of the seller, the name of the vendor with whom the seller of travel has contracted to provide travel arrangements, penalties in the event of cancellation, and a statement that all sums paid for services not performed will be returned. WASHINGTON TELEPHONE SOLICITATION LAW For the general welfare of the public and in order to protect the integrity of the telemarketing industry, the commercial use of telephones is regulated by Washington law. Following are some examples of state phone sales regulations: RCW Commercial Telephone Solicitation (1) Within the first minute of the telephone call, a commercial telephone solicitor or salesperson shall: (a) Identify himself or herself, the company on whose behalf the solicitation is being made, the property, goods, or services being sold; and (b) Terminate the telephone call within 10 seconds if the purchaser indicates he or she does not wish to continue the conversation. (2) If at any time during the telephone contact, the purchaser indicates he or she does not wish to be called again by the commercial telephone solicitor or wants to have his or her name and individual telephone number removed from the telephone lists used by the commercial telephone solicitor: (a) The commercial telephone solicitor shall not make any additional commercial telephone solicitation of the called party at that telephone number within a period of at least one year; and (b) The commercial telephone solicitor shall not sell or give the called party's name and telephone number to another commercial telephone solicitor...
10 RCW Requiring Payment by Credit Card Prohibited A telephone solicitor may not require that payment be made by credit card authorization or otherwise to announce a preference for that method of payment over any other for unfair or deceptive reasons. RCW Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device The Washington legislature found that devices that automatically dials telephone numbers and plays a recorded message: (1) Deprives consumers of the opportunity to immediately question a seller about the veracity of their claims; (2) subjects consumers to unwarranted invasions of their privacy; and (3) encourages inefficient and potentially harmful use of the telephone network. RCW states that no person may use an automatic dialing and announcing device for purposes of commercial solicitation within the state. WASHINGTON AUTO REPAIR LAW A violation of the auto repair law is also a violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The consumer can recover up to three times the amount of damages (up to $10,000) in a successful court action. Under RCW , the following specific actions are unfair and misleading: Advertising that is false, deceptive, or misleading Materially misstating the estimated price for a specific repair procedure (low balling) Retaining payment from a customer for parts not delivered or installed, or a repair procedure not performed Unauthorized operation of a customer's vehicle for purposes not related to repair or diagnosis Failing or refusing to provide a customer, upon request, a free copy of any document signed by the customer Retaining payment from both the customer and the warranty or extended service provider for the same covered part or labor Charging the customer for repairs for which there is no reasonable basis Failing to post required notice of rights sign Retaining payment from both the customer and the warranty or extended service provider for the same covered part or labor Charging the customer for repairs for which there is no reasonable basis Failing to post required notice of rights sign Failing to comply with estimate/invoice provisions in material respects Failing to retain invoice/estimates for one year However, in a lawsuit involving unauthorized repairs the court can rule that the law was not violated if the facility proves by a preponderance of evidence that making the unauthorized repairs was reasonable, necessary and justified under the circumstances.
11 Automotive Repair Customer Rights You are entitled by law to: A written estimate for repairs which will cost more than $100, unless waived or absent face-to-face contact; Return or inspection of all replaced parts, if requested at time of repair authorization; Authorize orally or in writing any repairs which exceed the estimated total presales tax cost by more than ten percent; Authorize any repairs orally or in writing if your vehicle is left with the repair facility personnel. RCW If you have authorized a repair in accordance with the above information, you are required to pay for the costs of the repair prior to taking the vehicle from the premises. The invoice must include a description of the services performed. A list and description of all parts supplied and an indication of whether the parts were rebuilt, used, or (where collision damage is involved) after-market body parts or non-original equipment manufactured body parts. The price per part, the total amount charged for all parts, the total amount charged for all labor, and the total charge should all be included on the invoice. Possessory Liens In most cases, the repair facility has the right to keep a vehicle until the customer pays the bill if the customer was given an authorized estimate and the amount charged is within 110 percent of the written estimate (plus tax). However, a repair facility cannot hold your car if: (1) The repair facility did not return a part the customer requested before work began; (2) There was face-to-face contact and the repair facility did not provide a customer with a written estimate or a choice of a written estimate; (3) There was no face-to-face contact and the repair facility did not obtain authorization; (4) The charges were more than 110 percent of the written estimate and did not obtain authorization; (5) The repair facility did not post the "YOUR CUSTOMER RIGHTS" sign. CONTRACTS Minors and Contracts In Washington, the contracts of minors are voidable, meaning that the minor can get out of the contract if s/he chooses to do so. The person with whom the minor contracted cannot void the contract. If the minor does not try to get out of the
12 contract within a reasonable time after reaching age 18, the contract becomes valid. Minors are bound for contracts they make for necessities, such as food, clothing, medical attention, and housing. They are also bound for educational loans. Minors married to a legal adult (18 years or older) are considered adults. If a minor misrepresents his or her age, s/he is bound by contracts s/he makes and is not entitled to get out of them. You might also discuss here minors or youth just over 18 being drafted by sports teams right out of high school, and how those contracts are handled. Hypotheticals: Can the minor cancel this contract? Give your reasons. a. Dan, who is 17 years old, but looks like he is 20 years old, signs a contract for a $1,000 stereo system from Cascade Stereo. The contract requires him to put $300 down and pay$50 monthly. He puts his $300 down and after two weeks decides he wants out of the contract. Can he do this? Give your reasons. Dan can disaffirm (cancel) this contract. He is entitled to get all the money back that he has paid and he is obligated to return the stereo to Cascade Stereo. The fact that Dan looks older than 17 is not enough to change the outcome. However, if Dan had told Cascade Stereo that he was 18, then he would not be able to cancel his contract. b. Terry, who is 16, enrolls in Rainier Vocational School. She borrows $2,000 from a bank to go to school. The bank has a written statement from the School that Terry is enrolled. Two months later, Terry wants to drop out of school and cancel her loan. Can she legally do this? Give your reasons. Terry may not cancel her loan. Under Washington law, any written obligation signed by a minor sixteen or more years of age in consideration of an educational loan from any person is enforceable as if the minor were an adult. This applies only if, prior to making the educational loan, the educational institution has certified in writing to the person making the educational loan that the minor is enrolled, or has been accepted for enrollment in the educational institution. R.C.W c. Juanita, who is 15, buys a life insurance policy, so that if she dies, her parents will receive $100,000. The contract requires her to pay $20 per month. She pays this every month until she is 17. Now she decides to cancel the contract and wants all her money back. Can she do this? Give your reasons. Under Washington law, minors not less than 15 years of age at the nearest birthday may enter into a contract for life or disability insurance on their own life or body, for their own benefit or for the benefit of parents, spouse, child, sibling, or grandparent. The minor is not permitted to
13 cancel the contract because of minority. However, the minor can be excused form any unperformed agreement to pay any premium. So Juanita can stop paying the monthly premiums, but she cannot recover the money already spent. R.C.W d. Michael, age 16, is a star baseball player at his high school. A baseball scout for a professional baseball team approached Michael and proposed that Michael sign a contract to play for the team he represents. To encourage Michael to sign, he gives Michael a new car. Michael signs the contract. Later, Michael realizes that this will deprive him of his amateur status. Michael now wishes to cancel the contract. Under R.C.W et seq., this contract is void. In order for a contract between a minor and organized professional baseball to be valid, a special procedure must be followed. This applies to persons under the age of 18 years who have not graduated from high school. If the person becomes 18 during his senior year, he is still a minor until the end of the school year. The prosecuting attorney of the county in which the minor's parents are living must approve the contract in writing before it is signed. The prosecutor must approve these contracts if the following facts are found: (1) The minor has not been signed, approached or contacted, directly or indirectly, regarding a professional baseball contract except as approved by the prosecutor. (2) The minor has been informed that approval of the contract may deprive him of his amateur status. (3) The parent of the minor and the minor have consented. (4) The prosecutor has concluded that the contract meets the legal requirements. (5) The contract permits the minor to have at least five months available each year to continue his high school education. The law also makes it a gross misdemeanor for any scout to enter into a contract with a minor or to give a gift to a minor to get the minor's promise to enter into a contract in violation of the law. This scout is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. e. Jemi, who is 17, makes an agreement with a married couple who cannot have children to be artificially inseminated and to bear a child for the couple. The couple will pay all expenses of pregnancy, actual medical expenses and attorney's fees to draft a contract to establish that the child produced will belong to the married couple. Jemi signs such a contract, is impregnated and now changes her mind and wants out of the contract. Can she cancel the contract? Give your reasons. Washington law (R.C.W ) provides that no person shall enter into such a contract with an unemancipated minor female. So the contract is invalid. Even if Jemi were emancipated or were over 18, she still may
14 challenge the custody of the child once it is born. The person with physical custody at the time of the dispute keeps the child until the superior court makes a legal award of custody. f. Judy, who is 13, ran away from home and took her mother's credit card. She had no food or place to stay. She paid for a motel and some food with the credit card. Now, she wants to cancel these contracts. Can she cancel these contracts and get a refund? Give your reasons. No, Judy is obligated to pay for these items because they are "necessaries," defined as food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Minors are bound by their contracts for food, shelter, clothing, and medical aid. g. Tony buys a second hand car for his 17th birthday from Al's used car lot. Tony needs the car to get to his after school job. After 3 months of use, Tony decides he wants to cancel the contract, return the car and get his money back. Can he do that? Give your reasons. Yes, Tony can do that. Students might have questioned whether or not a car is a necessary which would not permit cancellation. However, Washington State has decided that a car is not a necessary. h. George at 17 buys a used car on credit, paying $50 each month for three years. When he turns 19, two years after signing the contract for the car, he decides to cancel the contract and get his money back. Can he do that? What are your reasons? No, George cannot do that. The law requires that in order for minors to cancel contracts entered into when they were minors, they must cancel within a reasonable time after turning 18. One full year beyond the 18th birthday is an unreasonable time. George will have ratified the contract and he may not get out of it. i. Miriam, who is 17, set up her own business making T-shirts. She took and filled many orders for sets of T-shirts. She now wants to cancel her contracts that she has not filled because she has spent the money on other things and does not have enough money to produce the T-shirts. Can she do that? Give your reasons. No, Miriam cannot do that. Washington law (R.C.W ) prevents minors from cancelling their contracts when they have engaged in business as an adult and the other party had good reasons to believe the minor is capable of contracting. j. Mady and Tony are both minors who have a child together. They enter into several contracts for services and things for their child. Can they cancel these contracts? Give your reasons. No, they may not cancel their contracts. Minor parents are bound by contracts they enter for their child.
15 Written and Oral Contracts On page 286 the text lists those contracts that the law has determined should be in writing to be enforceable. Do you think that other contracts should be included in this list? CARS AND THE CONSUMER IN WASHINGTON Buying a Car -- New Cars Selecting a Dealer In addition to personal referrals, it is advisable to check with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General's Office, and the Dealer Division of the Department of Licensing to find out what kind of record the dealer has. The Contract Read and understand each document before you sign it. Always get a copy of each document for your records. Get all verbal promises and representations in writing. Once you sign a contract you are bound by that contract. Never sign a contract with spaces left blank--mark them out or fill them in appropriately. By law, before you sign a contract, the dealer must separately disclose in writing the finance charge, insurance costs, taxes and other charges you are to pay under the contract. If any of these terms differ from those you negotiated, insist that they be corrected. Changing the Terms of the Contract After a deal is agreed upon and the contract signed, if you are contacted by the dealer saying they now need a larger down payment or higher monthly payments you are not required to accept these new terms. By law, the dealer has 48 hours from the time of purchase/lease to find financing and finalize the sale according to the terms of the contract. When the dealer fails to locate the financing specified in the contract in that time period, there is no binding contract and the dealer must return your contract documents, down payment and trade-in vehicle before attempting to negotiate a new agreement with you. Buying a vehicle for a special purpose If you are looking for a vehicle for a certain purpose, such as towing a trailer, you should be aware of this state's "Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose" law, RCW 62A This law provides that when a dealer knows the vehicle is going to be used for a particular purpose and the buyer is relying on the dealer's expertise to provide a suitable vehicle, a warranty is created that the vehicle will be fit for that purpose. It is important to have a dealer's word in writing.
16 Implied Warranty of Merchantability Every vehicle sold in Washington by a dealer--new and used--has an "implied" warranty that the vehicle will be fit for ordinary driving purposes. The vehicle must be free of major defects, be reasonably safe, and be of the average quality of similar vehicles available for sale in that price range. Warranty--The Lemon Law If your new or used car is covered by a manufacturer's warranty and you have a problem which falls under the warranty, the authorized service department in the dealership is obligated to perform repairs required by the warranty. A dealer may not refuse warranty service in order to avoid liability under Washington's "Lemon Law." If your vehicle is less than two-and-a-half years old and has been repaired under the manufacturer's warranty several times but still has a substantial problem or has been out of service for more than 30 days due to diagnosis and/or repair, the vehicle may be a "lemon." You may be eligible for arbitration under the state-administered program which was created to decide warranty disputes between consumers and manufacturers. If the vehicle is determined to meet the elements of the Lemon Law, the manufacturer can be required to replace or repurchase the defective vehicle. If you buy from an out-of-state dealer, your car will not qualify for Washington's New Motor Vehicle Lemon Law and may not be covered by the other states' Lemon Laws. For more information on the Lemon Law call or contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General s Office through their website at Buying a Car--Used Cars CURBSTONERS Curbstoners are unlicensed dealers who often advertise in classified ads. By law, anyone who sells five or more vehicles in a 12-month period must obtain a dealers license. [RCW ] If you respond to an ad and the seller has several cars for sale, you may be dealing with a curbstoner and you will have less protection in your dealings. Buying from a curbstoner increases your risks of not being able to get the vehicle title transferred, of getting a car which has been wrecked and rebuilt, or which has a "rolled back" odometer. PRIVATE SELLERS In the case of legitimate private (non-dealer) sales, you should put the purchase and sale agreement in writing. It should include a description of the vehicle, the price, a statement that the seller has clear title to the vehicle and all other representations and promises.
17 USED CAR DEALERSHIPS The dealer is required upon request to either display or disclose in writing a used vehicle's asking price. [RCW ] The dealer must also provide the name and address of the former registered owner upon request. [RCW (6)] By contacting the former owner you may be able to find out more about the vehicle's history. You can check to see if the make and year of car has been recalled by calling: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or at their website, There are also consumer resources available at your local public library. It is a violation of dealer licensing regulations for a dealer to sell an unsafe car for operation on the public highways. [RCW (1)(b)(viii)] The car must have working headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, brakes, wipers, an uncracked windshield and tires with a minimum tread of 2/32 of an inch. Prior to purchasing a vehicle, a purchaser should have a mechanic inspect it for defects. Implied Warranty of Merchantability Every used car sold by a dealer (someone who is in the business of selling cars) in Washington comes with the implied warranty of merchantability. This means that the dealer promises that the car will be fit for ordinary driving purposes, reasonably safe, without major defects, and of the average quality of similar cars that are generally available for sale in the same price range. The implied warranty of merchantability is a very valuable promise when buying a used car, one that should not be given up, if you can avoid it. To avoid giving the implied warranty of merchantability, and sell the car "as is," a dealer must get the buyer to give up, or "waive" the implied warranty of merchantability. In Washington this is harder than in most states if the car is for personal use - what the courts call a consumer sale. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the right to an implied warranty of merchantability can only be waived after the consumer and dealer have explicitly negotiated and agreed that the car does not have the implied warranty of merchantability, and the dealer has given the buyer a statement of the particular parts of the car that are not being warranted. Unfortunately, some used car dealers operating in Washington State are getting around this requirement by having buyers sign forms such as a "Disclaimer of Warranty Agreement" and an "Implied Warranty Negotiation Statement," without actually negotiating the waiver. One way to be sure to get the implied warranty of merchantability is to buy a limited written warranty or extended service contract. (See discussion of these contracts above, under Warranties.) The law states that the implied warranty of merchantability cannot be waived when another warranty is given. With this in mind, it may well be worth the money to spend a little extra for a written warranty
18 in order to get the implied warranty of merchantability. Emission Inspection Law The Washington Clean Air Act of 1991 requires emissions system testing in some areas of the state, including Seattle. Buyers of used vehicles manufactured since 1968 must show that the vehicle has passed an emission inspection within the preceding six months in order to register the vehicle. Before buying, make sure the vehicle will pass an emissions inspection. For more information about the Vehicle Emission Inspection Program, contact the Washington State Department of Ecology at or at
Vehicle purchasing guide Buy from a licensed Wisconsin dealer and you are protected by Wisconsin's motor vehicle trade practice law. Dealers follow the law when they advertise, display, and sell vehicles.
Wisconsin Contractors Institute Home Improvement Trade Practices ATCP 110 & 111 Steps to Complete the Course 1.) Read the Course 2.) Complete the Final Exam Course Approval #12696 For more information:
Office of the Attorney General Telephone Solicitation LAWRENCE WASDEN Attorney General 700 West Jefferson Street Boise, ID 83720-0010 www.ag.idaho.gov State of Idaho Office of Attorney General Lawrence
New Cars, Used Cars, and Repairs Table of Contents Introduction...2 New Cars Lemon Law...4 The Importance of Car Titles...6 Used Cars As Is: No Warranty...7 Warranty...7 Online Car Auctions...9 Odometer
Can an automotive dealership void your warranty? Understanding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975. Nearly everyone has heard about someone who has taken a vehicle that has been modified with aftermarket
ON THE ROAD License The minimum age, to obtain a driver s license in New Hampshire, is 18 years old. Individuals between the ages of 16 and 18 may obtain a drivers license, with permission from their parent
GREG ABBOTT Attorney General of Texas CONTACT information For more information or to obtain copies of brochures, call the Attorney General s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 621-0508, or contact your
Putting Telephone Scams... On Hold Federal Trade Commission Toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP Federal Trade Commission Toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP www.ftc.gov For the Consumer www.ftc.gov For the Consumer Telemarketing
ILLINOIS CREDIT REPAIR LAWS This page contains information about starting a credit repair business in Illinois as well as legal information and Credit Repair laws for the State of Illinois. IL ST Ch. 815,
Buying a Used Car This guide explains your protections under the FTC's Used Car Rule and offers some shopping suggestions, even if you are not buying from a used car dealer. Before you begin looking at
Legal Affairs 1625 North Market Blvd., Suite S 309, Sacramento, CA 95834 www.dca.ca.gov Legal Guide CR-9 CREDIT REPAIR SERVICES (California Civil Code 1789.10 et seq.; 15 U.S.C.A. 1679 et seq.) January
CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS ACT 15 U.S.C. 1679 et. seq. Please note that the information contained herein should not be construed as legal advice and is intended for informational purposes only. In addition,
DRIVING RELATED ISSUES Student Legal Service University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign License Issues You are not required to obtain an Illinois Driver s license while you are enrolled as a student in
Office of the Attorney General Idaho Lemon Law LAWRENCE WASDEN Attorney General 700 West Jefferson Street Boise, ID 83720-0010 www.ag.idaho.gov State of Idaho Office of Attorney General Lawrence Wasden
CONTACT: Dan Pittman 714.282.9994 firstname.lastname@example.org AGE WELL SENIOR SERVICES REMINDS SENIORS TO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SCAM ARTISTS LAGUNA WOODS, California, April 11, 2012 Age Well Senior Services, Orange
Chapter 21 Credit Services Organizations Act 13-21-1 Short title. This chapter is known as the "Credit Services Organizations Act." Enacted by Chapter 29, 1985 General Session 13-21-2 Definitions -- Exemptions.
Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement This Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement is the contract which covers your and our rights and responsibilities concerning the electronic funds transfer (EFT) services
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TIME PERIOD FOR FILING CLAIMS ELIGIBLE VEHICLE ELIGIBLE CONSUMER For certified procedure, Lemon Law Rights Period (24 months from original delivery) plus 60 days. For state Board, Lemon
CONSUMER PROTECTION DIVISION DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MICHIGAN S LEMON L AW: HOW TO AVOID GETTING STUCK WITH A LEMON JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM ATTORNEY GENERAL JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM ATTORNEY GENERAL
State of Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board Dealer - Wholesaler - Salesperson - Auction Dealer Mastery Examination Official Form Please Print Legibly Applicant Information - - First Name M.I. Last Name
Minnesota Consumer Protection Consumer Protection o Automobile Buyer Protection Minnesota Lemon Law Automobiles Covered Coverage Exceptions to Coverage Minnesota Used Car Warranty Law Automobiles Covered
DEALER/SALESPERSONS STUDY GUIDE WARRANTIES 1. In every contract for the sale of a vehicle, which of the following is true? A. There is an implied warranty that the vehicle is merchantable. B. The vehicle
EARLY CARE & EDUCATION LAW UNIT Publication Date: November 2013 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMALL CLAIMS COURT In the operation of your child care business you may encounter problems which force you to
Car Title Loans What is a car title loan? When you take out a car title loan, you are borrowing money and giving the lender the title to your car as collateral. This means that the lender can repossess
NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL S ADVERTISING GUIDELINES FOR AUTO DEALERS Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN ATTORNEY GENERAL NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S ADVERTISING GUIDELINES
A Consumer s Guide to Sweepstakes and Lotteries A Consumer s Guide to Sweepstakes and Lotteries Direct mail sweepstakes promotions offer consumers the chance to win money and prizes in return for opening
EARLY CARE & EDUCATION LAW PROJECT Publication Date: May 2010 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMALL CLAIMS COURT In the operation of your child care business you may encounter problems which force you to go
Credit Card Agreement for Yamaha Cards in Capital One, N.A. There are two parts to this Credit Card Agreement: Capital One Pricing Information and the Capital One Customer Agreement. The Pricing Information
Title 9-A: MAINE CONSUMER CREDIT CODE Article 10: LOAN BROKERS Table of Contents Part 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS... 3 Section 10-101. SHORT TITLE... 3 Section 10-102. DEFINITIONS... 3 Part 2. REGISTRATION AND
HOME IMPROVEMENT www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov Ohio Home Improvement Ohio law protects consumers who hire contractors for home improvement projects. Here are some tips for protecting yourself when entering
MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER SALESPERSON STUDY GUIDE MATERIALS 2201 West Broad Street, Suite 104 Richmond, Virginia 23220 804-367-1100 www.mvdb.virginia.gov MVDB 35 REVISED 07/01/15 INTRODUCTION This study guide
The Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act California Civil Code 1788 et seq. 1788. This title may be cited as the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. 1788.1 (a) The Legislature makes the
The Credit Repair Organizations Act CHAPTER 2--CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS(1) SEC. 2451. REGULATION OF CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS. Title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Public Law 90-321, 82
South Dakota Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards Special Education Programs Revised July 2011 Prior Written Notice... 1 Definition of Parental Consent... 3 Definition of a Parent... 3 Parental Consent...
Public Act 91-0230 (Home Repair and Remodeling Act) HB1177 Enrolled LRB9103438KSgc AN ACT concerned with home repair and remodeling fraud. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented
western cape office of the consumer protector What you should know about contracts The purpose of this guide is to give ordinary South African consumers a very basic guide to contracts and what they mean
What s your Consumer IQ? How savvy a consumer are you? Take this quiz to see how much you know about consumer issues, laws and scams. 1. You receive a credit card offer in the mail. According to the big
AT THE STORE CONSUMER CREDIT AND PROTECTION Purchase of goods and services with a credit card is a part of modern life. As you may know, credit is easy to get. You may be required to have your mom or dad
Wisconsin Consumer Protection Laws Landlord-Tenant Practices Unfair Rental Practices The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regulates unfair and deceptive business
Title 10: COMMERCE AND TRADE Chapter 217: USED CAR INFORMATION Table of Contents Part 3. REGULATION OF TRADE... Section 1471. DEFINITIONS... 3 Section 1472. EXCLUSIONS... 5 Section 1473. CONSTRUCTION...
Office of the Attorney General Idaho Consumer Protection Manual LAWRENCE WASDEN Attorney General of Idaho 700 West Jefferson Street Boise, ID 83720-0010 www.ag.idaho.gov State of Idaho Office of Attorney
TEACHER GUIDE 9.1 FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT PAGE 1 Standard 9: The student will identify and explain consumer fraud and identity theft. Beware! Consumer Fraud Priority Academic Student Skills Personal Financial
For more information about the lemon law, or to obtain a copy of Consumer's Guide to the New Jersey Lemon Law, consumers may call the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Lemon Law Unit at (973) 504-6226,
Credit Card Agreement for Justice Cards in Capital One, N.A. There are two parts to this Credit Card Agreement: Capital One Pricing Information and the Capital One Customer Agreement. The Pricing Information
Credit Card Agreement for Darvin Furniture Cards in Capital One, N.A. There are two parts to this Credit Card Agreement: Capital One Pricing Information and the Capital One Customer Agreement. The Pricing
Credit Repair Organizations Act Title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Public Law 90-321, 82 Stat. 164) is amended to read as follows: TITLE IV--CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS'' Sec. 401. Short title.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TIME PERIOD FOR FILING CLAIMS Although the lemon law does not provide a statute of limitations, a claim must allege at least one of the following: 1. A serious safety defect in the braking
BILL OF SALE (AUTOMOBILE), PROMISSORY NOTE (AUTOMOBILE) & GUIDES Included: Overview Dos and Don ts Checklist Bill of Sale (Automobile) Instructions Promissory Note (Automobile) Instructions Sample Bill
Washington State Attorney General s Office Lemon Law Motor Homes Lemon Law Motor Homes Table of Contents Motor Home Lemon Law What is the Lemon Law? 2 Which Motor Homes are Eligible? 2 What is a Lemon?
After a Car Accident Your (Legal) Survival Guidebook to Handling a Property Damage Claim WITHOUT a Lawyer When your vehicle is damaged and it s someone else s fault, you have certain rights under North
This chapter includes information about: Consumer Fraud Prevention Addressing Consumer Fraud Credit Transactions Numerous federal and state laws and regulations protect consumers against unfair and deceptive
Blispay Card agreement 1. Definitions 2. How Blispay Card works 3. Making payments 4. Fees and interest 5. When things go wrong 6. Arbitration Provision 7. Legal 8. Communications and information sharing
Signature Signature Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law You have a right to dispute inaccurate information in your credit report by contacting the credit bureau directly. However, neither
STUDENT MODULE 9.1 FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT PAGE 1 Standard 9: The student will identify and explain consumer fraud and identity theft. Beware! Consumer Fraud Alfredo s mom is at the door to meet him when
Elder Financial Abuse Litigation Guide California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform Inappropriate banking activity, such as unusually large withdrawals or withdrawals from automated banking machines when
Righting Your New Car s Wrongs Douglas F. Gansler, Attorney General, Maryland Attorney General s Office Your Rights Under Maryland s Lemon Law If your new car spends more time in the repair shop than on
Credit Card Agreement for GM Card in Capital One, N.A. There are two parts to this Credit Card Agreement: Capital One Pricing Information and the Capital One Customer Agreement. The Pricing Information
Online Banking Disclosure Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement This Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement is the contract which covers your and our rights and responsibilities concerning the electronic funds
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TIME PERIOD FOR FILING CLAIMS ELIGIBLE VEHICLE 18 months from the date of the motor vehicle s original delivery to the consumer. Motor vehicles and motorcycles sold, leased, or replaced
CODES COMPLAINTS EMPLOYEE CERTIFICATION FEDERAL LAWS NACSO GUIDELINES LOG OUT CHAPTER 2--CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS SEC. 2451. REGULATION OF CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS. Title IV of the Consumer Credit
/ 940 CMR: OFFICE OF THE A TIORNEY GENERAL 940 CMR 5.00: MOTOR VEHICLE REGULATIONS Section 5.01: Definitions 5.02: Advertising of Motor Vehicles 5.03: Manufacturers' Responsibilities 5.04: Sales Requirements
1 TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT FOR SALES ASSOCIATE USE OF THIS FORM BY PERSONS WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS IS NOT AUTHORIZED Texas Association
Purchasing a Car Latino Community Credit Union & Latino Community Development Center PURCHASING A CAR Latino Community Credit Union & Latino Community Development Center www.latinoccu.org Copyright 2013
Credit Card Agreement for Teamsters Cards in Capital One, N.A. There are two parts to this Credit Card Agreement: Capital One Pricing Information and the Capital One Customer Agreement. The Pricing Information
F ACT SHEET Consumer protection and people with intellectual disability IMPORTANT This Document only provides general information. It is not intended to be a substitute for you getting your own specific
Landlord-Tenant Law FOR RENT The Landlord-Tenant Act In 1974, the Nebraska Legislature passed the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. This law governs oral and written agreements for residential
Capital One Customer Agreement Welcome to Capital One Thank you for opening a credit card account with us. This Customer Agreement including any changes to it ( Agreement ) contains the terms of your agreement
0200EN Rev. 10/2014 Debtors Rights: Dealing with Collection Agencies Collection agencies are calling me nonstop. What can I do? This publication should help you understand debt collection practices and
Who needs to register? Frequently Asked Questions for Professional Solicitors and Professional Fundraising Counsels Professional Solicitors and Professional Fundraising Counsels must register. A Professional
WCLA Credit Union PO Box 207, Olympia, WA 98507-0207 360.352.5033 www.loggers.com/cu Bill Payer Services Agreement This Bill Payer Service Agreement ( Agreement ) is the contract, which covers your and
T H E S TAT E B A R O F C A L I F O R N I A WHAT CAN I DO IF I CAN T PAY MY DEBTS? GET THE L E G A L F A C T S O F L I F E What can I do if I can t pay my debts? 1 Can my property be taken to pay a debt?
OCCUPATIONS CODE TITLE 8. REGULATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND INDUSTRIAL TRADES CHAPTER 1303. RESIDENTIAL SERVICE COMPANIES As Revised and in Effect on September 1, 2009 Texas Real Estate Commission P.O. Box
13-25a-101. Title. This chapter is known as the "Telephone and Facsimile Solicitation Act." Enacted by Chapter 26, 1996 General Session 13-25a-102. Definitions. As used in this chapter: (1) "Advertisement"
Background The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (15 USC 1692 et seq.), which became effective in March 1978, was designed to eliminate abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices.
State of Arizona Senate Forty-third Legislature Second Regular Session REFERENCE TITLE: used vehicle sales; implied warranty Introduced by Senators Kaites, Solomon; Representative Horton AN ACT Amending