Chapter 63.10 RCW

CONSUMER LEASES

Sections

63.10.010Legislative declaration.
63.10.020Definitions.
63.10.030Liability at expiration of leaseResidual valueAttorneys' feesLease terms.
63.10.040Lease contractsDisclosure requirements.
63.10.045Unlawful acts or practicesConsumer lease of a motor vehicle.
63.10.050ViolationsUnfair acts under consumer protection actDamages.
63.10.055RemediesEffect of chapter.
63.10.060Defense or action of usuryLimitations.
63.10.902Effective date1995 c 112.

NOTES:

Installment sales contracts: Chapter 63.14 RCW.


Legislative declaration.

The leasing of motor vehicles, furniture and fixtures, appliances, commercial equipment, and other personal property has become an important and widespread form of business transaction that is beneficial to the citizens and to the economy of the state. Users of personal property of all types and lessors throughout the state have relied upon the distinct nature of leasing as a modern means of transacting business that creates different relationships and legal consequences from those of lender and borrower in loan transactions and those of seller and buyer in installment sale transactions. The utility of lease transactions and the well-being of the state's economy and of the leasing industry require that leasing be a legally recognized and distinct form of transaction, creating legal relationships and having legal consequences different from loans or installment sales.



Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) The term "adjusted capitalized cost" means the agreed-upon amount that serves as the basis for determining the periodic lease payment, computed by subtracting from the gross capitalized cost any capitalized cost reduction.
(2) The term "gross capitalized cost" means the amount ascribed by the lessor to the vehicle including optional equipment, plus taxes, title, license fees, lease acquisition and administrative fees, insurance premiums, warranty charges, and any other product, service, or amount amortized in the lease. However, any definition of gross capitalized cost adopted by the federal reserve board to be used in the context of mandatory disclosure of the gross capitalized cost to lessees in consumer motor vehicle lease transactions supersedes the definition of gross capitalized cost in this subsection.
(3) The term "capitalized cost reduction" means any payment made by cash, check, or similar means, any manufacturer rebate, and net trade in allowance granted by the lessor at the inception of the lease for the purpose of reducing the gross capitalized cost but does not include any periodic lease payments due at the inception of the lease or all of the periodic lease payments if they are paid at the inception of the lease.
(4) The term "consumer lease" means a contract of lease or bailment for the use of personal property by a natural person for a period of time exceeding four months, and for a total contractual obligation not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars, primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not the lessee has the option to purchase or otherwise become the owner of the property at the expiration of the lease, except that such term shall not include any lease which meets the definition of a retail installment contract under RCW 63.14.010 or the definition of a lease-purchase agreement under chapter 63.19 RCW. The twenty-five thousand dollar total contractual obligation in this subsection shall not apply to consumer leases of motor vehicles. The inclusion in a lease of a provision whereby the lessee's or lessor's liability, at the end of the lease period or upon an earlier termination, is based on the value of the leased property at that time, shall not be deemed to make the transaction other than a consumer lease. The term "consumer lease" does not include a lease for agricultural, business, or commercial purposes, or to a government or governmental agency or instrumentality, or to an organization.
(5) The term "lessee" means a natural person who leases or is offered a consumer lease.
(6) The term "lessor" means a person who is regularly engaged in leasing, offering to lease, or arranging to lease under a consumer lease.

NOTES:

Short title1992 c 134: See RCW 63.19.900.



Liability at expiration of leaseResidual valueAttorneys' feesLease terms.

(1) Where the lessee's liability on expiration of a consumer lease is based on the estimated residual value of the property, such estimated residual value shall be a reasonable approximation of the anticipated actual fair market value of the property on lease expiration. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the estimated residual value is unreasonable to the extent that the estimated residual value exceeds the actual residual value by more than three times the average payment allocable to a monthly period under the lease. In addition, where the lessee has such liability on expiration of a consumer lease there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the lessor's estimated residual value is not in good faith to the extent that the estimated residual value exceeds the actual residual value by more than three times the average payment allocable to a monthly period under the lease and such lessor shall not collect from the lessee the amount of such excess liability on expiration of a consumer lease unless the lessor brings a successful action with respect to such excess liability. In all actions, the lessor shall pay the lessee's reasonable attorneys' fees. The presumptions stated in this section shall not apply to the extent the excess of estimated over actual residual value is due to physical damage to the property beyond reasonable wear and use, or to excessive use, and the lease may set standards for such wear and use if such standards are not unreasonable. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the right of a willing lessee to make any mutually agreeable final adjustment with respect to such excess residual liability, provided such an agreement is reached after termination of the lease.
(2) Penalties or other charges for delinquency, default, or early termination may be specified in the lease but only at an amount which is reasonable in the light of the anticipated or actual harm caused by the delinquency, default, or early termination, the difficulties of proof of loss, and the inconvenience or nonfeasibility of otherwise obtaining an adequate remedy.
(3) If a lease has a residual value provision at the termination of the lease, the lessee may obtain, at his or her expense, a professional appraisal of the leased property by an independent third party agreed to be both parties. Such appraisal shall be final and binding on the parties.



Lease contractsDisclosure requirements.

(1) In any lease contract subject to this chapter, the following items, as applicable, shall be disclosed:
(a) A brief description of the leased property, sufficient to identify the property to the lessee and lessor.
(b) The total amount of any payment, such as a refundable security deposit paid by cash, check, or similar means, advance payment, capitalized cost reduction, or any trade-in allowance, appropriately identified, to be paid by the lessee at consummation of the lease.
(c) The number, amount, and due dates or periods of payments scheduled under the lease and the total amount of the periodic payments.
(d) The total amount paid or payable by the lessee during the lease term for official fees, registration, certificate of title, license fees, or taxes.
(e) The total amount of all other charges, individually itemized, payable by the lessee to the lessor, which are not included in the periodic payments. This total includes the amount of any liabilities the lease imposes upon the lessee at the end of the term, but excludes the potential difference between the estimated and realized values required to be disclosed under (m) of this subsection.
(f) A brief identification of insurance in connection with the lease including (i) if provided or paid for by the lessor, the types and amounts of coverages and cost to the lessee, or (ii) if not provided or paid for by the lessor, the types and amounts of coverages required of the lessee.
(g) A statement identifying any express warranties or guarantees available to the lessee made by the lessor or manufacturer with respect to the leased property.
(h) An identification of the party responsible for maintaining or servicing the leased property together with a brief description of the responsibility, and a statement of reasonable standards for wear and use, if the lessor sets such standards.
(i) A description of any security interest, other than a security deposit disclosed under (b) of this subsection, held or to be retained by the lessor in connection with the lease and a clear identification of the property to which the security interest relates.
(j) The amount or method of determining the amount of any penalty or other charge for delinquency, default, or late payments.
(k) A statement of whether or not the lessee has the option to purchase the leased property and, if at the end of the lease term, at what price, and, if prior to the end of the lease term, at what time, and the price or method of determining the price.
(l) A statement of the conditions under which the lessee or lessor may terminate the lease prior to the end of the lease term and the amount or method of determining the amount of any penalty or other charge for early termination.
(m) A statement that the lessee shall be liable for the difference between the estimated value of the property and its realized value at early termination or the end of the lease term, if such liability exists.
(n) Where the lessee's liability at early termination or at the end of the lease term is based on the estimated value of the leased property, a statement that the lessee may obtain at the end of the lease term or at early termination, at the lessee's expense, a professional appraisal of the value which could be realized at sale of the leased property by an independent third party agreed to by the lessee and the lessor, which appraisal shall be final and binding on the parties.
(o) Where the lessee's liability at the end of the lease term is based upon the estimated value of the leased property:
(i) The value of the property at consummation of the lease, the itemized total lease obligation at the end of the lease term, and the difference between them.
(ii) That there is a rebuttable presumption that the estimated value of the leased property at the end of the lease term is unreasonable and not in good faith to the extent that it exceeds the realized value by more than three times the average payment allocable to a monthly period, and that the lessor cannot collect the amount of such excess liability unless the lessor brings a successful action in court in which the lessor pays the lessee's attorney's fees, and that this provision regarding the presumption and attorney's fees does not apply to the extent the excess of estimated value over realized value is due to unreasonable wear or use, or excessive use.
(iii) A statement that the requirements of (o)(ii) of this subsection do not preclude the right of a willing lessee to make any mutually agreeable final adjustment regarding such excess liability.
(p) In consumer leases of motor vehicles:
(i) The gross capitalized cost stated as a total and the identity of the components listed in the definition of gross capitalized cost and the respective amount of each component;
(ii) Any capitalized cost reduction stated as a total;
(iii) A statement of adjusted capitalized cost;
(iv) If the lessee trades in a motor vehicle, the amount of any sales tax exemption for the agreed value of the traded vehicle and any reduction in the periodic payments resulting from the application of the sales tax exemption shall be disclosed in the lease contract; and
(v) A statement of the total amount to be paid prior to or at consummation or by delivery, if delivery occurs after consummation. The lessor shall itemize each component by type and amount and shall itemize how the total amount will be paid, by type and amount.
(2) Where disclosures required under this chapter are the same as those required under Title I of the federal consumer protection act (90 Stat. 257, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1667 et seq.), which is also known as the federal consumer leasing act, as of the date upon which the consumer lease is executed, disclosures complying with the federal consumer leasing act shall be deemed to comply with the disclosure requirements of this chapter.



Unlawful acts or practicesConsumer lease of a motor vehicle.

Each of the following acts or practices are unlawful in the context of offering a consumer lease of a motor vehicle:
(1) Advertising that is false, deceptive, misleading, or in violation of *12 C.F.R. Sec. 213.5 (a) through (d) and 15 U.S.C. 1667, Regulation M;
(2) Misrepresenting any of the following:
(a) The material terms or conditions of a lease agreement;
(b) That the transaction is a purchase agreement as opposed to a lease agreement; or
(c) The amount of any equity or value the leased vehicle will have at the end of the lease; and
(3) Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of Title I of the federal consumer protection act (90 Stat. 257, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1667 et seq.), which is also known as the federal consumer leasing act, including, but not limited to, failure to disclose all fees that will be due when a consumer exercises the option to purchase.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: 12 C.F.R. Sec. 213.5 (a) through (d) has been amended. See 12 C.F.R. Sec. 213.7 (a) through (f).



ViolationsUnfair acts under consumer protection actDamages.

The legislature finds that the practices covered by this chapter are matters vitally affecting the public interest for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW. Violations of this chapter are not reasonable in relation to the development and preservation of business. A violation of this chapter is an unfair or deceptive act or practice in trade or commerce and an unfair method of competition for the purpose of applying the consumer protection act, chapter 19.86 RCW.
Regarding damages awarded under this section, the court may award damages allowed under chapter 19.86 RCW or 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1667d (a) and 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1640, but not both.



RemediesEffect of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter shall be cumulative and nonexclusive and shall not affect any other remedy available at law or in equity.



Defense or action of usuryLimitations.

No person may plead the defense of usury or maintain any action thereon based upon a transaction heretofore entered into if such transaction:
(1) Constitutes a "consumer lease" as defined in RCW 63.10.020; or
(2) Would constitute such a consumer lease but for the fact that:
(i) The lessee was not a natural person;
(ii) The lease was not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; or
(iii) The total contractual obligation exceeded twenty-five thousand dollars.



Effective date1995 c 112.

This act shall take effect January 1, 1996.