421.102(2)(b) (b) To protect customers against unfair, deceptive, false, misleading and unconscionable practices by merchants;
421.102(2)(c) (c) To permit and encourage the development of fair and economically sound consumer practices in consumer transactions; and
421.102(2)(d) (d) To coordinate the regulation of consumer credit transactions with the policies of the federal consumer credit protection act.
421.102(3) (3) A reference to a provision of chs. 421 to 427 includes reference to a related rule or order of the administrator adopted under chs. 421 to 427.
421.102 History History: 1971 c. 239; 1979 c. 89.
421.102 Annotation Consumer act penalties are improper when the underlying contract is tainted with illegality. Shea v. Grafe, 88 Wis. 2d 538, 274 N.W.2d 670 (1979).
421.102 Annotation The consumer act may constitutionally regulate sales to residents by out-of-state mail order retailer. Aldens, Inc. v. LaFollette, 552 F.2d 745.
421.102 Annotation Wisconsin consumer act—a critical analysis. Heiser, 57 MLR 389.
421.102 Annotation Wisconsin consumer act—a freak out? Barrett, Jones, 57 MLR 483.
421.102 Annotation Protection for consumers against unfair and deceptive business. Jeffries, 57 MLR 559.
421.102 Annotation An overview of the Wisconsin consumer act. Stute, 1973 WBB No. 1.
421.102 Annotation Private enforcement of consumer laws in Wisconsin. Waxman. WBB May 1983.
421.102 Annotation Wisconsin consumer credit laws before and after the consumer act. Crandall, 1973 WLR 334.
421.102 Annotation Usury and the time-price differential. 1975 WLR 246.
421.102 Annotation Mandatory Arbitration of Consumer Rights Cases. Schneider & Quirk. Wis. Law. Sept. 2002.
421.103 421.103 Applicable law.
421.103(1)(1) Unless superseded by the particular provisions of chs. 421 to 427, chs. 401 to 411 and the principles of law and equity, including the law relative to capacity to contract, principal and agent, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, or other validating or invalidating cause supplement chs. 421 to 427.
421.103(2) (2) Unless terms used in chs. 421 to 427 are defined by particular provisions of chs. 421 to 427, they shall have the meaning given them in chs. 401 to 411 and 429, if they are defined in chs. 401 to 411 and 429.
421.103(3) (3) Unless superseded by the particular provisions of chs. 421 to 427 parties to a consumer transaction have all of the obligations, duties, rights and remedies provided in chs. 401 to 411 which apply to the transaction.
421.103(4) (4)Chapters 421 to 427 shall not preempt the administration or enforcement of ch. 100. Conduct proscribed under s. 423.301, 426.108, 426.109 or 426.110 may also constitute violations of s. 100.18 or 100.20.
421.103 History History: 1971 c. 239; 1979 c. 89, 177; 1991 a. 148, 304, 315; 1995 a. 329.
421.104 421.104 Construction against implied repeal. Chapters 421 to 427 being a general act intended as a unified coverage of the subject matter of such chapters, no part of chs. 421 to 427 shall be deemed to be impliedly repealed by subsequent legislation if such construction can reasonably be avoided.
421.104 History History: 1971 c. 239; 1979 c. 89.
421.106 421.106 Settlement of claims; agreement to forego rights; waiver.
421.106(1)(1) Except as otherwise provided in chs. 421 to 427, a customer may not waive or agree to forego rights or benefits under chs. 421 to 427.
421.106(2) (2) A claim by a customer against a merchant for an excess charge, other violation of chs. 421 to 427 or civil penalty, or a claim against a customer for default or breach of a duty imposed by chs. 421 to 427, if disputed in good faith, may be settled by agreement.
421.106(3) (3) A claim, whether or not disputed, against a customer may be settled for less value than the amount claimed.
421.106(4) (4) A settlement in which the customer waives or agrees to forego rights or benefits under chs. 421 to 427 is invalid if the court as a matter of law finds the settlement to be unconscionable at the time it was made. In this regard the court may consider the competence of the customer as measured by his or her education, ability to speak and read the language of the contract, and his or her prior consumer experience; any deception or coercion practiced upon the customer; the nature and extent of the legal advice received by the customer; and the value of the consideration.
421.106 History History: 1971 c. 239; 1979 c. 89.
421.107 421.107 Effect of chapters 421 to 427 on powers of organizations.
421.107(1)(1) Except as specifically provided, chs. 421 to 427 prescribe maximum charges for all consumer credit transactions and displace existing limitations on the powers of creditors based on maximum charges.
421.107(2) (2) Except as specifically provided, with respect to sellers of goods or services, lessors of goods, small loan companies, licensed lenders, consumer and sales finance companies and commercial banks and trust companies, chs. 421 to 427 displace existing limitations on their powers based solely on amount or duration of credit.
421.107(3) (3) Except as provided in sub. (1), chs. 421 to 427 do not displace limitations on powers of credit unions, savings banks, savings and loan associations or other thrift institutions whether organized for the profit of shareholders or as mutual organizations.
421.107(4) (4) Except as provided in subs. (1) and (2), chs. 421 to 427 do not displace:
421.107(4)(a) (a) Limitations on powers of supervised financial organizations (s. 421.301 (43)), with respect to the amount of a loan to a single borrower, the ratio of a loan to the value of collateral, the duration of a loan secured by an interest in land or other similar restrictions designed to protect deposits; or
421.107(4)(b) (b) Limitations on powers an organization is authorized to exercise under the laws of this state or the United States.
421.107 History History: 1971 c. 239; 1979 c. 89.
421.108 421.108 Obligation of good faith. Every agreement or duty within chs. 421 to 427 imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement. "Good faith" means honesty in fact in the conduct or transaction concerned and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.
421.108 History History: 1971 c. 239; 1979 c. 89.
subch. II of ch. 421 SUBCHAPTER II
421.201 421.201 Territorial application.
421.201(1) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, chs. 421 to 427 apply to consumer transactions made in this state and to modifications including refinancings, consolidations and deferrals, made in this state, of consumer credit transactions wherever made.
421.201(2) (2) For the purposes of chs. 421 to 427, a consumer transaction or modification of a consumer transaction is made in this state if:
421.201(2)(a) (a) A writing signed by the customer and evidencing the obligation or an offer of the customer is received by the merchant in this state; or
421.201(2)(b) (b) The merchant induces the customer who is a resident of this state to enter into the transaction by face-to-face solicitation or by mail or telephone solicitation directed to the particular customer in this state.
421.201(3) (3) With respect to a transaction pursuant to an open-end credit plan, chs. 421 to 427 apply if the customer is a resident of this state and the open-end creditor or a merchant honoring a credit card issued by the open-end creditor, is a resident of this state or furnishes, mails or delivers the goods, services or credit to a resident of this state while the customer is within this state or receives a writing signed by the customer and evidencing the transaction in this state.
421.201(4) (4)Chapter 427 applies to any debt collection activity in this state, including debt collection by means of mail or telephone communications directed to customers in this state.
421.201(5) (5)Subchapters I and II of ch. 425, relating to creditors' remedies, including applicable penalties, apply to actions or other proceedings brought in this state to enforce rights arising from consumer transactions or extortionate extensions of credit, wherever made, but conduct, action or proceedings to recover collateral or goods subject to a motor vehicle consumer lease shall be governed by the law of the state where the collateral or goods subject to a motor vehicle consumer lease are located at the time of recovery unless the collateral or goods subject to a motor vehicle consumer lease are owned by a Wisconsin resident, who has removed the collateral or goods from this state only for purposes of transportation to or use in the resident's employment or for temporary periods which do not exceed 15 days.
421.201(6) (6) If a consumer transaction, or modification thereof, is made in another state with a customer who is a resident of this state when the transaction or modification is made, the following provisions apply as though the transaction occurred in this state:
421.201(6)(a) (a) A creditor, or assignee of the creditor's rights, may collect through actions or other proceedings charges only to the extent permitted by ch. 422; and
421.201(6)(b) (b) A merchant may not enforce rights against the customer to the extent that the provisions of the agreement violate subch. IV of ch. 422 or ch. 423.
421.201(7) (7) Except as provided in sub. (4) or (5), a consumer transaction or modification thereof, made in another state with a customer who was not a resident of this state when the consumer transaction or modification was made, is valid and enforceable in this state according to its terms to the extent that it is valid and enforceable under the laws of the state applicable to the transaction.
421.201(8) (8) For the purposes of chs. 421 to 427, the residence of a customer is the address given by the customer as his or her residence in any writing signed by the customer in connection with a consumer transaction. The given address is presumed to be unchanged until the merchant knows or has reason to know of a new or different address.
421.201(9) (9) Notwithstanding other provisions of this section:
421.201(9)(a) (a) Except as provided in sub. (4) or (5), chs. 421 to 427 do not apply if the customer is not a resident of this state at the time of a consumer transaction and the parties then agree that the law of his or her residence applies; and
421.201(9)(b) (b) Chapters 421 to 427 apply if the customer is a resident of this state at the time of a consumer transaction and the parties then agree that the law of this state applies.
421.201(10) (10) Except as provided in sub. (9), the following terms of a writing executed by a customer are invalid with respect to consumer transactions, or modifications thereof, to which chs. 421 to 427 apply:
421.201(10)(a) (a) That the law of another state shall apply;
421.201(10)(b) (b) That the customer consents to the jurisdiction of another state; and
421.201(10)(c) (c) That fixes venue.
421.201 Annotation Notwithstanding sub. (5), s. 425.206 governed repossession outside of the state when a contract provided for enforcement under the "internal law" of Wisconsin. First Wisconsin National Bank of Madison v. Nicolaou, 85 Wis. 2d 393, 270 N.W.2d 582 (Ct. App. 1978).
421.201 Annotation A corporation that repossessed the vehicle outside of the state was not subject to the Wisconsin police power. Patrin v. Chrysler Credit Corp. 530 F. Supp. 736 (1982).
421.202 421.202 Exclusions. Chapters 421 to 427 do not apply to any of the following:
421.202(1) (1) Extensions of credit to organizations (s. 421.301 (28)).
421.202(2) (2) Transactions in which all parties are organizations (s. 421.301 (28)).
421.202(3) (3) Charges for delayed payment and any discount allowed for early payment in transactions under public utility or common carrier tariffs if a subdivision or agency of this state or of the United States regulates such charges or discounts, or if such charges or discounts are made in connection with the furnishing of electric service by an electric cooperative organized and operating on a nonprofit basis under ch. 185.
421.202(4) (4) The ceilings on rates and charges of a licensed pawnbroker if these ceilings are established by statute or ordinance.
421.202(5) (5) The sale of insurance by an insurer, except as otherwise provided in ch. 424.
421.202(6) (6) Consumer credit transactions in which the amount financed exceeds $25,000, motor vehicle consumer leases in which the total lease obligation exceeds $25,000 or other consumer transactions in which the cash price exceeds $25,000.
421.202(7) (7) Transactions secured by a first lien real estate mortgage or equivalent security interest.
421.202(8) (8) Transactions in securities accounts or securities transactions by or with a broker-dealer, as defined in s. 551.102 (4), registered under ch. 551.
421.202(9) (9) Leases of motor vehicles that are not motor vehicle consumer leases under s. 421.301 (25m).
421.202(10) (10) Transactions that are primarily for an agricultural purpose, except that this subsection does not exclude transactions that are primarily for an agricultural purpose from ch. 427 and except that this subsection does not exclude credit transactions that are primarily for an agricultural purpose from s. 422.210.
421.202 Annotation Consumer leases are subject to the exclusionary provision of sub. (6). "Amount financed" means the purchase price or cash price for property leased. American Industrial Leasing Co. v. Geiger, 118 Wis. 2d 140, 345 N.W.2d 527 (Ct. App. 1984).
421.203 421.203 Partial exclusion for governmentally insured or guaranteed transactions.
421.203(1) (1) Consumer credit transactions, not governed by ch. 428, which are made, insured or guaranteed by the federal government or any agency thereof, or by any federal instrumentality chartered under the federal farm credit act of 1971 (P.L. 92-181; 85 stats. 583; 12 USC 2001 et seq.), or by the department of veterans affairs shall be subject to only those provisions set forth in sub. (2).
421.203(2) (2) This chapter, ss. 422.203 (2), 422.305, 422.306, 422.404, 422.406 to 422.409, 422.411, 422.417 and 422.418, ch. 425 except ss. 425.103 to 425.105, and chs. 426 and 427.
421.203 History History: 1973 c. 18; 1979 c. 10; 1997 a. 302; 2005 a. 22.
subch. III of ch. 421 SUBCHAPTER III
421.301 421.301 General definitions. In addition to definitions appearing in chs. 422 to 427, in chs. 421 to 427:
421.301(1) (1) "Actuarial method" means the method, defined by rules adopted by the administrator, of allocating payments made on a debt between amount financed and finance charge, pursuant to which a payment is applied first to the accumulated finance charge and the balance is applied to the unpaid amount financed.
421.301(2) (2) "Administrator" means the administrator designated in s. 426.103.
421.301(3) (3) "Agreement" means the bargain of the parties in fact as found in their language or by implication from other circumstances including course of dealing or usage of trade or course of performance. Sections 402.202 and 411.202 and any other provisions on parol or extrinsic evidence shall be inoperative to exclude or limit the admissibility of evidence relating to agreements governed by chs. 421 to 427.
421.301(4) (4) "Agricultural purpose" means a purpose related to the production, harvest, exhibition, marketing, transportation, processing or manufacture of agricultural products by a person, other than an organization, which cultivates, plants, propagates or nurtures those agricultural products. "Agricultural products" includes agricultural, horticultural, viticultural and dairy products, livestock, wildlife, poultry, bees, forest products, fish and shellfish, and any products thereof, including processed and manufactured products, and any and all products raised or produced on farms and any processed or manufactured products thereof.
421.301(5) (5) "Amount financed" in a consumer credit transaction means the total of the following items from which any prepaid finance charge or required deposit balance has been excluded:
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