Privileges with respect to transportation, hotel and restaurant accommodations, education, entertainment, recreation, physical culture, hospital accommodations, funerals, cemetery accommodations, and the like; and
Insurance provided in connection with a consumer credit transaction.
“Services" does not include any services of common carriers if the tariffs, rates, charges, costs or expenses of such common carriers are required by law to be filed with or approved by the federal government or any official, department, division, commission or agency of the United States.
“Supervised financial organization" means a person:
Organized, chartered or holding an authorization certificate under the laws of this state or of the United States which authorize the person to make loans and to receive deposits, including a savings, share, certificate or deposit account; and
Subject to supervision by an official or agency of this state or of the United States.
“Total lease obligation" means the sum of all of the following with respect to a motor vehicle consumer lease:
“Transaction" means an agreement between 2 or more persons, whether or not the agreement is a contract enforceable by action, and includes the making of and the performance pursuant to that agreement.
A “rent-to-own" transaction was a consumer credit sale even though the customer was not contractually obligated to make installment payments. Palacios v. ABC TV & Stereo Rental, 123 Wis. 2d 79
, 365 N.W.2d 882
(Ct. App. 1985).
An option to purchase at the conclusion of a lease for appliances at a price equal to 11 percent of the total lease payments was a consumer credit sale under sub. (9). Rent-a-Center, Inc. v. Hall, 181 Wis. 2d 244
, 510 N.W.2d 789
(Ct. App. 1993).
If a lessor of personal property is bound for a period exceeding four months, a consumer lease under sub. (11) exists even though the lessee may exercise an option to purchase the leased goods less than four months after the beginning of the lease period. LeBakken Rent-to-Own v. Warnell, 223 Wis. 2d 582
, 589 N.W.2d 425
(Ct. App. 1998), 98-1569
To determine if an option price is nominal under sub. (9), a court may consider: 1) the relation of the option price to the item's fair market value; 2) the relation of the option price to the total rental price; 3) the relationship between the option price and the original price of the goods; or 4) whether the lessee has “any sensible alternative" to exercising the option. LeBakken Rent-to-Own v. Warnell, 223 Wis. 2d 582
, 589 N.W.2d 425
(Ct. App. 1998), 98-1569
An agreement necessary to establish that there is an obligation “payable in installments" under sub. (30), which is required for there to be a “consumer credit transaction" under sub. (10), must be made before services are rendered. Permitting a debtor to pay over time only after attempts to collect in full have failed does not render the transaction a consumer credit transaction. Dean Medical Center, S.C. v. Conners, 2000 WI App 202
, 238 Wis. 2d 636
, 618 N.W.2d 194
A person who, along with her fiance, signed a credit application but did not sign the subsequent retail installment agreement was a customer under sub. (17). Sub. (17) addresses personal, family, or household purposes. When a woman is engaged to the father of her child and they are purchasing a car together, they apparently are doing so for anticipated personal, family, and household purposes. Zehetner v. Chrysler Financial Company, LLC, 2004 WI App 80
, 272 Wis. 2d 628
, 679 N.W.2d 919
A company that purchased an overdue credit card account and brought an action to collect the amount due on it was not a creditor within the meaning of sub. (16). Rsidue, L.L.C. v. Michaud, 2006 WI App 164
, 295 Wis. 2d 585
, 721 N.W.2d 718
To state a claim under either the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the Wisconsin Consumer Act, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the debt in question arises out of a transaction incurred for personal, family, or household purposes. When a plaintiff maintains that the underlying debt was not his or hers, the plaintiff can nonetheless claim protection by showing that the debt collector treated the plaintiff as a consumer allegedly owing a consumer debt. However, a plaintiff proceeding under this theory still must offer evidence to establish that the debt was a consumer debt: in other words, that the debt was incurred for personal, family, or household purposes. Burton v. Kohn Law Firm, S.C., 934 F.3d 572
The applicability of the consumer act to rent-to-own contracts is discussed. Burny v. Thorn, 944 F. Supp. 762
The Wisconsin Consumer Act: When Is a Transaction a Consumer Credit Transaction? Anzivino. 96 MLR 205 (2012).
The venue for a claim arising out of a consumer transaction or a consumer credit transaction is the county:
Where the customer resides or is personally served;
Where collateral securing a consumer credit transaction is located; or
Where the customer sought or acquired the property, services, money or credit which is the subject of the transaction or signed the document evidencing his or her obligation under the terms of the transaction.
When it appears from the return of service of the summons or otherwise that the county in which the action is pending under sub. (1)
is not a proper place of trial for such action, unless the defendant appears and waives the improper venue, the court shall act as follows:
Except as provided in par. (b)
, if it appears that another county would be a proper place of trial, the court shall transfer the action to that county.
If the action arises out of a consumer credit transaction, the court shall dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction.
If there are several defendants, and if venue is based on residence, venue may be in the county of residence of any of them.
History: 1983 a. 228
; 1987 a. 208
An improperly venued action arising from a consumer credit transaction “shall be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction" under sub. (2) (b). When the court fails to dismiss, the action is invalid. Kett v. Community Credit Plan, Inc., 228 Wis. 2d 1
, 596 N.W.2d 786
Although voluntarily dismissed, prosecution of improperly venued actions violated the consumer act, and the defendants were prevailing parties under s. 425.308 entitled to attorney fees. Community Credit Plan, Inc. v. Johnson, 228 Wis. 2d 30
, 596 N.W.2d 799
Sections 801.50 and 801.51, the general venue statutes, do not apply to actions arising from consumer credit transactions. Rather, the venue provision in this section applies. Brunton v. Nuvell Credit Corp., 2010 WI 50
, 325 Wis. 2d 135
, 785 N.W.2d 302
Sub. (2) (b) states that an improperly venued consumer credit action must be dismissed unless the defendant appears and waives the improper venue. Appearance in the action and pleading in the action are distinct requirements. Waiver under sub. (2) requires the intentional relinquishment of a known right. To establish a valid waiver, it must be proved that the defendant knew the place of proper venue and knew of the right to dismissal of the case when it was not properly venued. A plaintiff must prove that the rights to proper venue and dismissal of an improperly venued action were intentionally relinquished. Continued litigation of an action does not unambiguously demonstrate an intention to relinquish the right to proper venue. Brunton v. Nuvell Credit Corp., 2010 WI 50
, 325 Wis. 2d 135
, 785 N.W.2d 302