Buyers warned of used car dealerships waiving warranty without their knowledge

The Attorney General’s Office is warning people buying used cars of dealers waiving the warranty without their consent.

Car prices are rising, which may prompt folks in the auto market to consider a used car. Attorney General Bob Ferguson says all used cars come with an "implied warranty," which ensures the car is safe to drive and does not have major defects. Dealers must promise the car is fit for ordinary driving purposes and is of the "average quality of similar cars available for sale in the same price range."

Ferguson says some dealers are waiving these warranties, leaving some buyers with a defective car in need of thousands of dollars in repairs.

"Know your rights — don’t let used car dealers waive the warranty on your car without your consent," said Ferguson. "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."

A car can only be sold without this implied warranty, Ferguson says, if the buyer knowingly agrees to it. Dealers cannot sell cars that are illegal to drive on public roads due to defective or missing equipment.

According to the AG’s office, they received more than 400 complaints of implied warranties between Jan. 2021 and April 2022, making up 31% of all auto complaints to the office.

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Ferguson urges Washingtonians to keep some things in mind:

  • Car dealers cannot waive your warranty rights without your knowledge
  • The use of an "as-is" sticker does not circumvent implied warranty rights
  • Buyers must knowingly agree to waive their implied warranty rights
  • There must be a written record of any waiver discussions
  • Get all promises in writing
  • Discussion of size, style, color, extra equipment, price, power and model is not an explicit negotiation of a waiver
  • The burden is on the dealer to show the buyer waived the implied warranty

You can learn more information about car warranty rights on the Attorney General’s Office website. If you have experienced any misleading used car sale tactics, you are urged to file a complaint here.