Delaware Extends Lemon Law Protection To Motorcyclists

On April 20, 2016 Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed SB173 into law, an Act that brings motorcycles within the scope of the state’s automobile Lemon Law.
Previously motorcycles were explicitly excluded from the definition of “automobile” as defined in Delaware Code Ann., Title 6, Sections 5001 through 5009. This meant that motorcycles had no remedy for buying a lemon from manufacturers.
The time period for filing claims in Delaware is “three years from the date the alleged defect is reported to the dealer or manufacturer.”
Including motorcycle in the definition means that eligible consumers include (1) The purchaser of a motorcycle, for purposes other than resale; (2) a person to whom a motorcycle is transferred during the duration of an express warranty applicable to the motorcycle; and (3) any other person entitled by the terms of the warranty to enforce the obligations of the warranty.
Although this is great news for motorcycle consumers there are a few details in the fine print to be aware of:
Before a consumer can obtain relief there must be:

  • “Prior written direct notification”
  • The consumer must also”provide an opportunity to repair or correct” the malfunction.
  • Finally, “before obtaining lemon law remedies, must resort to manufacturer’s program if certified.”

Although it may not seem like it, the issue can also be understood from a Constitutional perspective independent of an issue of consumer protection. The 14th Amendment requires that all persons receive equal protection under the law. The arbitrary exclusion of motorcyclists from the Delaware Lemon Law represented an exclusion of an entire classification of transportation for no rational reason.
Motorcyclists are not second class citizens and deserve the same protections under the law that persons using other modes of transportation receive. Delaware’s new law provides tangible consumer protections, equal access to the law, and will eliminate another barrier to motorcycle ownership and the growth of the motorcycling community.

Link to full text of SB 173 as signed by Governor Markell$file/legis.html?open

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