RCW 46.93.180

Sale, transfer, or exchange of franchise.

(1) Notwithstanding the terms of a franchise, a manufacturer may not unreasonably withhold consent to the sale, transfer, or exchange of a franchise to a qualified buyer who meets the normal, reasonable, and uniformly applied standards established by the manufacturer for the appointment of a dealer or is capable of being approved by the department as a dealer in this state. A manufacturer's failure to respond in writing to a request for consent under this subsection within sixty days after receipt of a written request on the forms, if any, generally used by the manufacturer containing the information and reasonable promises required by a manufacturer, is deemed to be consent to the request. A manufacturer may request, and, if so requested, the applicant for a franchise (a) shall promptly provide such personal and financial information as is reasonably necessary to determine whether the sale, transfer, or exchange should be approved, and (b) shall agree to be bound by all reasonable terms and conditions of the franchise.
(2) If a manufacturer refuses to approve the sale, transfer, or exchange of a franchise, the manufacturer shall serve written notice on the applicant, the transferring, selling, or exchanging dealer, and the department, of its refusal to approve the transfer of the franchise no later than sixty days after the date the manufacturer receives the written request from the dealer. If the manufacturer has requested personal or financial information from the applicant under subsection (1) of this section, the notice must be served not later than sixty days after the receipt of all of such documents. Service of all notices under this section must be made by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested.
(3) The notice in subsection (2) of this section must state the specific grounds for the refusal to approve the sale, transfer, or exchange of the franchise.
(4) Within twenty days after receipt of the notice of refusal to approve the sale, transfer, or exchange of the franchise by the transferring dealer, the dealer may file a petition with the department to protest the refusal to approve the sale, transfer, or exchange. The petition must contain a short statement setting forth the reasons for the dealer's protest. Upon the filing of a protest and the receipt of the filing fee, the department shall promptly notify the manufacturer that a timely protest has been filed, and the department shall arrange for a hearing with an administrative law judge as the presiding officer to determine if the manufacturer unreasonably withheld consent to the sale, transfer, or exchange of the franchise.
(5) In determining whether the manufacturer unreasonably withheld its approval to the sale, transfer, or exchange, the manufacturer has the burden of proof that it acted reasonably. A manufacturer's refusal to accept or approve a proposed buyer who otherwise meets the normal, reasonable, and uniformly applied standards established by the manufacturer for the appointment of a new dealer, or who otherwise is capable of operating as a dealer in this state, is presumed to be unreasonable.
(6) The administrative law judge shall conduct a hearing and render a final decision as expeditiously as possible, but in any event not later than one hundred twenty days after a protest is filed. Only the selling, transferring, or exchanging dealer and the manufacturer may be parties to the hearing.
(7) The administrative law judge shall conduct any hearing as provided in RCW 46.93.050(2), and all hearing costs must be borne as provided in that subsection. Only the manufacturer and the selling, transferring, or exchanging dealer may appeal the final order of the administrative law judge to the superior court or the appellate court as provided in the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 34.05 RCW.
[ 2003 c 354 § 18.]