The administrator or customer may seek a temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to the adverse party or his or her attorney. If the court finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent is engaged in the conduct sought to be restrained and that such conduct violates chs. 421
or rules promulgated under chs. 421
, it may grant a temporary restraining order or any temporary relief it deems appropriate. A temporary restraining order granted without notice shall expire by its terms within a stated time after entry, not to exceed 30 days, as the court fixes, unless within this time it is extended by the court, or unless the party against whom the order is directed consents that it may be extended for a longer period. When a temporary restraining order is granted without notice, the motion for a preliminary injunction shall be set down for a hearing at the earliest possible time. Upon notice to the party who obtained the temporary restraining order without notice, the adverse party may appear and move its dissolution or modification, and in this event the court shall proceed to hear and determine such motion as expeditiously as the ends of justice require.
Class actions; injunctions; declaratory relief. 426.110(1)(1)
Either the administrator, or any customer affected by a violation of chs. 421
or of the rules promulgated pursuant thereto or by a violation of the federal consumer credit protection act, or by conduct of a kind described in sub. (2)
, may bring a civil action on behalf of himself or herself and all persons similarly situated, for actual damages by reason of such conduct or violation, together with penalties as provided in sub. (14)
, reasonable attorney fees and other relief to which such persons are entitled under chs. 421
. The customer filing the action must give prompt notice thereof to the administrator, who shall be permitted, upon application within 30 days, to join as a party plaintiff. For purposes of apportionment of cost, the administrator need not be a party to the action.
Actions may be maintained under this section against any person who in making, soliciting or enforcing consumer credit transactions engages in any of the following kinds of conduct:
Making or enforcing unconscionable terms or provisions of consumer credit transactions;
False, misleading, deceptive, or unconscionable conduct in inducing customers to enter into consumer credit transactions; or
False, misleading, deceptive, or unconscionable conduct in enforcing debts or security interests arising from consumer credit transactions.
Notwithstanding this chapter, no class action may be maintained for conduct proscribed in sub. (2)
or for a violation of s. 423.301
or 427.104 (1) (h)
unless the conduct has been found to constitute a violation of chs. 421
at least 30 days prior to the occurrence of the conduct involved in the class action by an appellate court of this state or by a rule promulgated by the administrator as provided in ss. 426.104 (1) (e)
specifying with particularity the act or practice in question.
At least 30 days or more prior to the commencement of a class action for damages pursuant to the provisions of this section, any party must:
Notify the person against whom an alleged cause of action is asserted of the particular alleged claim or violation; and
Demand that such person correct, or otherwise remedy the basis for the alleged claim.
Such notice shall be in writing and shall be sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to such person at the place where the transaction occurred, such person's principal place of business within this state, or, if neither will effect actual notice, the department of financial institutions.
Except as provided in par. (e)
, no action for damages may be maintained under this section if an appropriate remedy, which shall include actual damages and may include penalties, is given, or agreed to be given within a reasonable time, to such party within 30 days after receipt of such notice.
Except as provided in par. (e)
, no action for damages may be maintained under this section upon a showing by a person against whom the alleged claim or violation is asserted that all of the following exist:
All customers similarly situated have been identified, or a reasonable effort to identify such other consumers has been made;
All customers so identified have been notified that upon their request such person shall make the appropriate remedy;
The remedy requested by such customers has been or in a reasonable time will be given; and
Such person has ceased from engaging, or if immediate cessation is impossible under the circumstances, such person will, within a reasonable time, cease to engage in any acts on which the alleged claim is based.
An action for injunctive relief may be commenced without compliance with par. (a)
. Not less than 30 days after the commencement of an action for injunctive relief, and after compliance with par. (a)
the customer may amend his or her complaint without leave of court to include a request for damages. The appropriate provisions of par. (c)
shall be applicable if the complaint for injunctive relief is amended to request damages.
Actions commenced under this section shall be conducted under the procedures set forth in s. 803.08
A merchant shall not be liable in a class action for specific penalties under s. 425.302 (1) (a)
, 425.303 (1)
, 425.304 (1)
, 425.305 (1)
or 429.301 (1)
for which it would be liable in individual actions by reason of violations of chs. 421
or of conduct prescribed in sub. (2)
unless it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation was a willful and knowing violation of chs. 421
.No recovery in an action under this subsection may exceed $100,000.
A plaintiff who prevails shall be awarded a reasonable attorney's fee. Notwithstanding s. 425.308 (2)
, reasonable attorney's fees in a class action shall be determined by the value of the time reasonably expended by the attorney rather than by the amount of the recovery on behalf of the class. A legal aid society or legal services program which represents a class shall be awarded a reasonable service fee in lieu of reasonable attorney's fees, equal in amount to the amount of the attorney's fees as measured by this subsection.
The administrator, whether or not a party to an action, shall bear the costs of notice except that the administrator may recover such costs from the defendant.
History: 1971 c. 239
; 1975 c. 407
; 1979 c. 89
; 1985 a. 256
; 1991 a. 316
; 1995 a. 27
; 1999 a. 85
; Sup. Ct. Order No. 17-03
, 2017 WI 108, 378 Wis. 2d xxi.
Sup. Ct. Order No. 17-03
states that “the Judicial Council Committee Notes above are not adopted, but will be published and may be consulted for guidance in interpreting and applying these rules.”
Judicial Council Committee Note, 2017: Repealed subs. (5) through (13) were procedural rules modeled on a previous version of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Recreated s. 803.08 is modeled on the current version of Rule 23. The procedural provisions in s. 426.110 were repealed and replaced with the new procedures in s. 803.08 to maintain consistency in the statutes and to reflect current law.
Sub. (4) (c) is procedural and not substantive as it does not grant or deny the substantive right to sue. Mace v. Van Ru Credit Corp. 109 F.3d 338
Debtors' remedies not affected.
The grant of powers to the administrator in this chapter does not affect remedies available to customers under chs. 421
or under other principles of law or equity.
REGISTRATION AND FEES
The registration requirements of this section apply to persons who do any of the following in this state:
Make or solicit consumer credit transactions, except a person who engages in consumer credit transactions solely through honoring credit cards issued by 3rd parties not related to such person.
Directly collect payments from or enforce rights against customers arising from such transactions, wherever made.
Each person subject to the registration requirements under sub. (1)
shall file a registration statement with the administrator within 30 days after commencing business in this state. The registration statement shall include all of the following information:
The name under which the person transacts business if different from par. (a)
The address of the person's principal office, which may be outside this state.
The addresses of all of the person's offices or retail stores, if any, in this state.
If consumer transactions or other business subject to this chapter are made otherwise than at an office or retail store in this state, a brief description of the manner in which they are made.
The address of the person's designated agent upon whom service of process may be made in this state.
The year-end balance of all consumer credit transactions held by the person. In this paragraph, “year-end balance" has the meaning given under s. 426.202 (1m) (a)
Such other similar information as the administrator may require to effectuate the purposes and policies of chs. 421
Except as provided in par. (b)
, each person subject to the registration requirements under sub. (1)
shall file a registration statement containing the information under sub. (2) (a)
no later than February 28 of each year following the year of the person's initial registration under sub. (2)
does not apply if the person's year-end balance is not more than $250,000.
The administrator shall adopt rules governing the filing of changes, additions, or modifications of the registration statement required by this section, and shall adopt rules pertaining to form, verification, fees, and similar matters pertaining to the registration.
The following persons shall not be subject to this section solely by reason of their debt collection activities unless they are licensed debt collectors under s. 218.04
Attorneys authorized to practice law in this state or professional service corporations composed of licensed attorneys formed pursuant to ss. 180.1901
Duly licensed real estate brokers and real estate salespersons; and
Duly licensed insurance companies subject to the supervision of the office of the commissioner of insurance.
No person is subject to this section solely by reason of offering the discount described in s. 422.201 (8)
“Reporting period" means, for any registration statement, the last full calendar year preceding the date on which the registration statement is due.
“Year-end balance" means, for any reporting period, the outstanding balance of all consumer credit transactions that a person has entered into or has obtained by assignment, and that originated in this state, as of December 31 preceding the annual registration filing date under s. 426.201 (2m) (a)
Registration fee requirement.
Any person required to register under s. 426.201
shall pay a registration fee to the administrator when the person files the registration statement required under s. 426.201
Amount of registration fee.
The amount of the registration fee shall be determined in accordance with rates set by the administrator. In setting these rates, the administrator shall consider the costs of administering chs. 421
, including the costs of enforcement, education and seeking voluntary compliance with chs. 421
. The registration fee for a person shall be based on the person's year-end balance for the reporting period.
(4) Submission of data for calculating the amount of fee.
A person required to register under s. 426.201
shall submit such financial and other data as the administrator may require which will support the computation of the amount of the fee.
(5) Recovery of fees.
The administrator shall bring an action in any court of record to recover any fees that the administrator determines are due and owing under this section.
Whoever fails to comply with the registration requirements under s. 426.201
or fails to pay a fee required under s. 426.202
may be required to forfeit not more than $50. Each day that this failure continues constitutes a separate offense. Forfeitures received by the administrator under this section shall be credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.144 (1) (h)
and may be expended from the account only for consumer or merchant education programs.
History: 1995 a. 27
VIOLATIONS AND ENFORCEMENT
Violations and enforcement. 426.301(1)(1)
The administrator may recover in a civil action from a person who violates chs. 421
or any rule made pursuant to any authority granted in chs. 421
, a civil penalty of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each violation.
In addition to the amount to which the administrator shall be entitled under sub. (1)
, the administrator may recover in a civil action from a person who knowingly or willfully violates chs. 421
or any rule made pursuant to any authority granted in chs. 421
, a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000 for each violation.