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48.110.073  <<  48.110.075 >>   48.110.080

RCW 48.110.075

Service contracts on motor vehicles — Obligations of provider — Contract requirements.

(1) This section applies to service contracts on motor vehicles.

     (2) Service contracts shall not be issued, sold, or offered for sale in this state or sold to consumers in this state unless:

     (a) The service contract provider has either demonstrated its financial responsibility or assured the faithful performance of the service contract provider's obligations to its service contract holders by insuring all service contracts under a reimbursement insurance policy issued by an insurer holding a certificate of authority from the commissioner or a risk retention group, as defined in 15 U.S.C. Sec. 3901(a)(4), as long as that risk retention group is in full compliance with the federal liability risk retention act of 1986 (15 U.S.C. Sec. 3901 et seq.), is in good standing in its domiciliary jurisdiction, and properly registered with the commissioner under chapter 48.92 RCW. The insurance required by this subsection must meet the following requirements:

     (i) The insurer or risk retention group must, at the time the policy is filed with the commissioner, and continuously thereafter, maintain surplus as to policyholders and paid-in capital of at least fifteen million dollars and annually file audited financial statements with the commissioner; and

     (ii) The commissioner may authorize an insurer or risk retention group that has surplus as to policyholders and paid-in capital of less than fifteen million dollars, but at least equal to ten million dollars, to issue the insurance required by this subsection if the insurer or risk retention group demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the company maintains a ratio of direct written premiums, wherever written, to surplus as to policyholders and paid-in capital of not more than three to one;

     (b) The service contract conspicuously states that the obligations of the provider to the service contract holder are guaranteed under the reimbursement insurance policy, the name and address of the issuer of the reimbursement insurance policy, the applicable policy number, and the means by which a service contract holder may file a claim under the policy;

     (c) The service contract conspicuously and unambiguously states the name and address of the service contract provider and identifies any administrator if different from the service contract provider, the service contract seller, and the service contract holder. The identity of the service contract seller and the service contract holder are not required to be preprinted on the service contract and may be added to the service contract at the time of sale;

     (d) The service contract states the purchase price of the service contract and the terms under which the service contract is sold. The purchase price is not required to be preprinted on the service contract and may be negotiated at the time of sale;

     (e) The contract contains a conspicuous statement that has been initialed by the service contract holder and discloses:

     (i) Any material conditions that the service contract holder must meet to maintain coverage under the contract including, but not limited to, any maintenance schedule to which the service contract holder must adhere, any requirement placed on the service contract holder for documenting repair or maintenance work, any duty to protect against any further damage, and any procedure to which the service contract holder must adhere for filing claims;

     (ii) The work and parts covered by the contract;

     (iii) Any time or mileage limitations;

     (iv) That the implied warranty of merchantability on the motor vehicle is not waived if the contract has been purchased within ninety days of the purchase date of the motor vehicle from a provider or service contract seller who also sold the motor vehicle covered by the contract;

     (v) Any exclusions of coverage; and

     (vi) The contract holder's right to return the contract for a refund, which right can be no more restrictive than provided for in subsection (4) of this section;

     (f) The service contract states the procedure to obtain service or to file a claim, including but not limited to the procedures for obtaining prior approval for repair work, the toll-free telephone number if prior approval is necessary for service, and the procedure for obtaining emergency repairs performed outside of normal business hours or for obtaining twenty-four-hour telephone assistance;

     (g) The service contract states the existence of any deductible amount, if applicable;

     (h) The service contract states any restrictions governing the transferability of the service contract, if applicable; and

     (i) The service contract states whether or not the service contract provides for or excludes consequential damages or preexisting conditions.

     (3) Service contracts shall not contain a provision which requires that any civil action brought in connection with the service contract must be brought in the courts of a jurisdiction other than this state. Service contracts that authorize binding arbitration to resolve claims or disputes must allow for arbitration proceedings to be held at a location in closest proximity to the service contract holder's permanent residence.

     (4)(a) At a minimum, every provider shall permit the service contract holder to return the contract within thirty days of its purchase if no claim has been made under the contract, and shall refund to the holder the full purchase price of the contract unless the service contract holder returns the contract ten or more days after its purchase, in which case the provider may charge a cancellation fee not exceeding twenty-five dollars.

     (b) If no claim has been made and a contract holder returns the contract after thirty days, the provider shall refund the purchase price pro rata based upon either elapsed time or mileage computed from the date the contract was purchased and the mileage on that date, less a cancellation fee not exceeding twenty-five dollars.

     (c) A ten percent penalty shall be added to any refund that is not paid within thirty days of return of the contract to the provider.

     (d) If a contract holder returns the contract under this subsection, the contract is void from the beginning and the parties are in the same position as if no contract had been issued.

     (e) If a service contract holder returns the contract in accordance with this section, the insurer issuing the reimbursement insurance policy covering the contract shall refund to the provider the full premium by the provider for the contract if canceled within thirty days or a pro rata refund if canceled after thirty days.

     (5) A service contract provider shall not deny a claim for coverage based upon the service contract holder's failure to properly maintain the vehicle, unless the failure to maintain the vehicle involved the failed part or parts.

     (6) A contract provider has only sixty days from the date of the sale of the service contract to the holder to determine whether or not the vehicle qualifies under the provider's program for that vehicle. After sixty days the vehicle qualifies for the service contract that was issued and the service contract provider may not cancel the contract and is fully obligated under the terms of the contract sold to the service contract holder.

[2006 c 274 § 18.]