Buying a new vehicle is an exciting time. Most often the second biggest purchase any of us will make, it is the end of a detailed search. From the make and model to the right color and options, that new vehicle should be the perfect one to meet transport needs and taste. We’ve never had as much choice when it comes to vehicles, and in general they are more reliable than ever before too. But what happens if your new vehicle is not? That’s what the Delaware Lemon Law is for.
It is rare, but problem vehicles do still exist. Cars that, no matter how many times it is looked at, seem to have a problem every time you use it. Some may have the same recurring problem that can’t be fixed, others just endless different problems, and if you do get one of these it can become unusable. But with such a big investment, that is not something you can just live with, so what happens? The good news is that there is a piece of legislation know as the DE lemon law that is designed to protect consumers in this situation. May people are still unaware of the law, but it covers new vehicles bought or leased and registered in Delaware. This applies to vehicles purchased for use on the public highway, including cars, SUV’s minivans and so on. Tractors and other farm vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds are explicitly excluded from cover though.
Knowing that the lemon law in Delaware exists, and making a successful claim through it are two different things though. In fact, making a mistake in the claim process can be expensive, so to help anyone in the position of having a lemon car in Delaware, here’s a guide to making a successful claim for your vehicle.
When talking about the Delaware lemon law, or any similar laws in other states, the first thing to understand is that just having a problem with the vehicle does not mean it is a lemon car. We have to remember that a successful claim means a full refund or replacement vehicle, if that applied to every minor problem, there would be no dealers or manufacturers left.
Instead, legislation has to balance consumer protection with the practicalities of business, and that means having a threshold to overcome before the vehicle can be considered a lemon. Those thresholds matter when claiming under the lemon law in Delaware, but it should be remembered that if you have any problem with a new vehicle, the dealer or manufacturer should offer fast, effective solutions for you every time. It is when this fails that the DE lemon law is needed to protect you.
To fall under the lemon law in Delaware, within one year of lease or purchase, one or more of the following requirements must apply:
There are no mileage restrictions under the DE lemon law, as long as the fault and repairs occur within the first year of ownership of the new vehicle the lemon law applies.
As with other lemon laws, it is important to ensure your Delaware lemon vehicle’s warranty remains intact throughout the claim. This means only using manufacturer approved dealers for any repair work, as well as ensuring that the service schedule is complied with at all times. It can be tempting to not bother with the service schedule, especially if you are in the process of making a claim, but until the claim is completed, if the vehicle requires a service, make sure it is carried out. It will help in the long run.
Claiming under the DE lemon law is a legal process, and as you might expect, that means things are a little more complex than you think. Your vehicle doesn’t just have to meet one of those situations for number of repairs or extended time in the ship, you have to be able to prove it all took place. This sounds simple, but remember that for every lemon car in Delaware, the story begins with some problem, maybe a small one, that the owner thought would be easily fixed first time, never thinking that the car would be a lemon.
For this reason, if you lease or buy a new vehicle, just in case it becomes a problem, keep records of everything. This includes any fault, however minor, because you never know when it will be useful to have the proof. To file successfully with the lemon law in Delaware, this means keeping records of a number of events, including:
With all this in place, you are ready to take the claim forward.
The Delaware lemon law legislation outlines the remedies available to consumers who make a successful claim, and they give the consumer a choice of either:
Because the Delaware lemon law gives the consumer the choice after a successful claim, you can have the exact result you are looking for. In addition, after success, the manufacturer is obliged to cover all legal costs for the process.
You have two options when filing a claim, represent yourself or seek representation by an experienced attorney. It may be tempting to do it yourself, however it is important to understand that manufacturers will defend themselves in these cases, using an experienced legal team of their own.
For the best chance of success, having your own representation who understand the Delaware lemon law and know how to present your case in the most effective way is the recommended approach. Successful claims mean the manufacturer must cover your legal bill.