Lemon Law in Delaware

In uncertain economic times, Delaware residents wishing to purchase an automobile want reliability and certainty when they make such a purchase. However, there are cases of manufacturers and dealers selling defective products, often with defects that don’t reveal themselves until after the purchase. To this end, Delaware has Lemon Laws in place that protect consumers. If you have such an occurrence you may want to seek out an experienced lemon law attorney in Delaware.

What Is a Lemon Law?

Lemon laws deal with consumer protections that are particularly applicable to automobile purchases. For any lemon law to apply, the automobile must suffer from a defect. This problem should be outside the purchaser’s control, like a manufacturer issue. Furthermore, lemon laws apply if a certain number of reasonable repairs happened to the vehicle in question to no avail.

When Do Delaware Lemon Laws Apply?

Lemon laws only apply when the vehicle in question is under warranty. This restriction does not mean it has to have a new guarantee. There are often dealership warranties attached to certified used cars. Under the federal lemon law requirements, conditions must meet the following criteria:

  • The manufacturer attempted to fix the issue on several occasions. Note that the number of conditions that merit a lemon law application can vary based on the court’s opinion.
  • There have been attempts to address the issue(s) in question within the first two years of owning and operating the vehicle.
  • The car has been out of service for at least 30 days. Note that the days do not have to be consecutive.

How Do You Ensure the Application of Lemon Laws?

There are some common practices that you can take that better position you when citing lemon law:

  • You should only take the vehicle in question to the corresponding dealership for repairs. By taking it there, you establish credibility by showing the responsible party attempted to address the issue. If you take the vehicle to a mom-and-pop mechanic, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any attempts made to fix the problem.
  • Keep accurate and detailed records of any repairs made. This way, if your case goes to trial, have accurate logs that detail the manufacturer’s opportunities to fix the mechanical issues. This detail also helps build a timeline of how long you could not use your vehicle.

Lemon law statutes vary by state. You should research the lemon law requirements in Delaware to ensure you remain within the legal confines.

The Fraud and Consumer Protection Division of the Delaware Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing the lemon laws in the state. Delaware lemon laws cover nonconformity, which is cnditon of the car or defect that undermines or impairs the use, value, and safety of the automobile. However, these lemon laws only extend protection to consumers who are buying the car for use, not for resale.

What Exactly Are Consumers Entitled To Under Lemon Laws?

You have a legal entitlement to a replacement vehicle or refund if Delaware lemon laws apply. However, manufacturers may deduct a fee in proportion to the miles the owner put on the car or truck before it became unusable. This compensation should include:

  • Down payment
  • Registration
  • Taxes
  • Car rentals
  • Monthly payments
  • Tow expenses
  • Attorney costs

Do Lemon Laws Apply to Used Vehicles?

Lemon laws can apply to used vehicles. However, this is for written warranties distributed along with the vehicle upon sale. Often, a used car dealership sells vehicles with a portion of the guarantee remaining. This situation incentivizes the purchase and (allegedly) puts the buyer’s mind at ease.

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles declares that the lemon laws on the books in the state of Delaware only apply to new cars. Residents that are seeking to purchase a used car do not have the same protections under Delaware lemon laws.

When Should You Hire a qualified Delaware Lemon Law Attorney?

Have you attempted to have your vehicle repaired at the dealership? Consumers should consider legal action when it doesn’t work for 30 days. If you can’t resolve the issue with the manufacturer, it may be time to bring in an experienced Delaware lemon law attorney.

How Does the Lemon Law Litigation Process Work?

Consumers can expect to go through a series of motions by bringing in an experienced Delaware lawyer. However, introducing legal counsel into the situation is the best way for consumers to receive a fair outcome. With most Delaware lemon law attorneys, you can expect the following:

  • Free Case Evaluation – Attorneys should review your case for free. They will determine its merit and whether you have a justifiable claim.
  • Filing Your Claim – Your Delaware legal representative should handle filing a claim with the manufacturer after determining the facts.
  • Further Action – Your vehicle’s manufacturer may refuse to comply with the claim under federal and state statutes. Then your attorney files suit to seek entitled compensation on your behalf.
  • Pursuing Settlement – The manufacturer should cover all costs and fees if you achieve a settlement before trial. This compensation will often include attorney fees.
  • Contingency Fee Basis – At the end of the ordeal, clients should not have to pay for attorney’s fees. Even if you ultimately lose your case, a reputable Delaware law firm should not charge clients fees. If you win your case, the manufacturer pays the attorney’s fees.

As with many states, there is an arbitration process in Delaware. However, unlike some states the arbitration process is not mandatory. You must only go through arbitration in Delaware if the manufacturer has built such language into the warranty. Once arbitration ends you can file a lawsuit with the Delaware Courts. However, if you are part of a class action suit you may wind up filing in a U.S. District Court. Either way, you may want an experienced Delaware lemon lawyer by your side.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In Delaware

Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Delaware can help guide you through the Lemon Law litigation process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Delaware state lines!

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