Check emissions standards when buying vehicle out of state

Check emissions standards when buying  vehicle out of state

For the second time in two months, Richard and Bobbie Ervin have packed their bags and hit the road. Only this time it's a trip they don't want to make. 

After an extensive search they finally located the gas engine 2011 F250 they wanted, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They traded in their van, put down cash, and financed the balance.  The total cost came to nearly $40,000. Imagine their shock when they got home in Kenmore and tried to get Washington state license plates.
"It just caught me off guard," said Richard.
"They had a form that you need to sign saying that it is certified California Emission Standards," Bobbie explained.

That's when the couple discovered a white sticker under the hood which reads, "Not for sale in states with California Emissions". 
As of 2009, with few exceptions, vehicles sold for use in Washington must meet California's tough emission standards. A lot of people don't know that.

"When they said we couldn't get it licensed, I said 'Oh, no, now what?' I thought maybe we'd have to eat this thing," Richard said.

Lucky for the couple, the dealer, Carmax, agreed to take back the truck and refund the money.  According to a spokeswoman at Carmax corporate headquarters in West Virginia, the couple will get a full refund and the deal will be unwound when the truck is returned.

"It has all the whistles and bells," Richard said.  "I hate to give it up. It's a very good truck."
With that, the couple started the engine and pulled out of their driveway to begin the nearly 800 mile trip to return their dream machine to the nearest Carmax location in Sacramento. If they can't find a replacement truck they like in Sacramento- they'll have to pay to get back home.
Washington is one of more than a dozen states to adopt California's emission standards. Our law holds the buyer responsible for checking the emissions certification. Dealers and sellers are not required to know or disclose. The licensing agency in Bothell, where the couple learned of their dilemma, says another couple recently had to return their car to Colorado, because it was not certified to meet our state's emissions law.  The state says if the out of state dealer will not unwind the deal and refund the buyer's money- the other option is for the buyer to sell the vehicle to someone who'll be using it in a state that does not require the California emissions certification.

More information:

Dept. of Ecology

Dept. of Licensing

Clean Car Law

Wash. Admin Code chapter 173-423 (Dept. of Ecology)