Under sub. (2) (a), when payments are scheduled less than two months apart, a consumer is in default when an amount greater than one full payment remains unpaid for over ten days, not when a single payment is unpaid for more than ten days. Indianhead Motors v. Brooks, 2006 WI App 266
, 297 Wis. 2d 821
, 726 N.W.2d 352
This section does not create a right for consumers to enforce when a merchant includes a particular provision in a loan agreement. Rather, it limits the circumstances in which a merchant can sue a customer for defaulting on a loan. Nelson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., 931 F. Supp. 2d 919
Creditor's Remedies Under Wisconsin Consumer Act. WBB Dec. 1973.
Notice of customer's right to cure default. 425.104(1)(1)
A merchant who believes that a customer is in default may give the customer written notice of the alleged default and, if applicable, of the customer's right to cure any such default (s. 425.105
Any notice given under this section shall contain the name, address and telephone number of the creditor, a brief identification of the consumer credit transaction, a statement of the nature of the alleged default and a clear statement of the total payment, including an itemization of any delinquency charges, or other performance necessary to cure the alleged default, the exact date by which the amount must be paid or performance tendered and the name, address and telephone number of the person to whom any payment must be made, if other than the creditor.
History: 1971 c. 239
Notice need not be given if the obligation is entirely past due and fully owed, making it impossible for the customer to restore the loan to current status. Rosendale State Bank v. Schultz, 123 Wis. 2d 195
, 365 N.W.2d 911
(Ct. App. 1985).
The s. 425.105 (1) prohibition of suits except when notice is given pursuant to this section imposes timing and content requirements for the notice. A notice that did not meet the timing requirements of sub. (1) and s. 425.103 (2) (a) never gave notice “pursuant to” this section. Thus, suit was barred by s. 425.105 (1). Indianhead Motors v. Brooks, 2006 WI App 266
, 297 Wis. 2d 821
, 726 N.W.2d 352
Courts construe sub. (2) strictly, so even minor defects or omissions are enough to render a notice of right to cure invalid. Bahena v. Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC, 363 F. Supp. 3d 914
Billing statements are not sufficient to give notice of a right to cure to an unsophisticated consumer, so they cannot qualify as right-to-cure notices under sub. (2). Bahena v. Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC, 363 F. Supp. 3d 914
This section establishes requirements regarding what information a right-to-cure notice must contain, and it is permissive in the sense that it does not obligate merchants to send such notices whenever a customer defaults. But s. 425.105 lays out the requirements for merchants who wish to sue on a default, and s. 425.105 (1) makes providing notice a mandatory prerequisite to suit. Bahena v. Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC, 363 F. Supp. 3d 914
(2019). See also Boerner v. LVNV Funding LLC, 358 F. Supp. 3d 767
A merchant may not accelerate the maturity of a consumer credit transaction, commence any action except as provided in s. 425.205 (6)
, or demand or take possession of collateral or goods subject to a consumer lease other than by accepting a voluntary surrender thereof (s. 425.204
), unless the merchant believes the customer to be in default (s. 425.103
), and then only upon the expiration of 15 days after a notice is given pursuant to s. 425.104
if the customer has the right to cure under this section.
Except as provided in subs. (3)
, for 15 days after such notice is given, a customer may cure a default under a consumer credit transaction by tendering the amount of all unpaid installments due at the time of the tender, without acceleration, plus any unpaid delinquency or deferral charges, and by tendering performance necessary to cure any default other than nonpayment of amounts due. The act of curing a default restores to the customer the customer's rights under the agreement as though no default had occurred.
A right to cure shall not exist if the following occurred twice during the preceding 12 months:
The customer was in default on the same transaction or open-end credit plan;
The creditor gave the customer notice of the right to cure such previous default in accordance with s. 425.104
With respect to consumer credit transactions in which the creditor has a security interest in, and possession of, instruments or documents, as each is defined in s. 409.102 (1)
, which threaten to decline speedily in value, this section does not restrict the creditor's rights to dispose of such property pursuant to subch. VI of ch. 409
and the terms of the creditor's security agreement.
The sub. (1) prohibition of suits except when notice is given pursuant to s. 425.104 imposes timing and content requirements for the notice. A notice that did not meet the timing requirements of ss. 425.103 (2) (a) and 425.104 (1) never gave notice “pursuant to s. 425.104." Thus, suit was barred by sub. (1). Indianhead Motors v. Brooks, 2006 WI App 266
, 297 Wis. 2d 821
, 726 Wis. 2d 352
A creditor's failure to send a notice of default and right to cure letter is merely a failure to comply with a procedural requirement that warrants dismissal of the creditor's action against the debtor. The failure does not disrupt the creditor's right to payment from the debtor. Security Finance v. Kirsch, 2019 WI 42
, 386 Wis. 2d 388
, 926 N.W.2d 167
The requirement that a creditor provide a notice of right to cure default is a procedural hurdle creditors must clear in order to pursue their remedies. The appropriate remedy for a creditor's failure to comply with this procedural requirement is dismissal of the creditor's action. Beal v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., 956 F. Supp. 2d 962
12 CFR 7.4008 (d) (4) and (8), which permits banks to make loans without regard to state laws dealing with term to maturity, including circumstances under which a loan may be called due and payable, does not preempt sub. (1), which states that a creditor may not accelerate the maturity of a consumer credit transactions unless the creditor provides notice and the opportunity to cure the default. Boerner v. LVNV Funding LLC, 358 F. Supp. 3d 767
Debts that are “fully due" are distinguished from debts that involve “installment payments," such as credit cards with minimum payments and a maximum credit amount. A right to cure default exists for installment payments. The debt in this case was a credit card debt with minimum payments and a credit limit, and the debtor was entitled to an opportunity to cure the default before any acceleration or collection commenced. The fact that the debt changed hands did not change that. A debt collector cannot step into a better position than its assignor where the consumer's rights are concerned. Boerner v. LVNV Funding LLC, 358 F. Supp. 3d 767
Section 425.104 establishes requirements regarding what information a right-to-cure notice must contain, and it is permissive in the sense that it does not obligate merchants to send such notices whenever a customer defaults. But this section lays out the requirements for merchants who wish to sue on a default, and sub. (1) makes providing notice a mandatory prerequisite to suit. Bahena v. Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC, 363 F. Supp. 3d 914
(2019). See also Boerner v. LVNV Funding LLC, 358 F. Supp. 3d 767
Except to the extent that the merchant has a valid security interest which is permitted by chs. 421
or has a lien under ch. 779
in such property, or where the transaction is for medical or legal services and there has been no finance charge actually imposed, the following property of the customer shall be exempt from levy, execution, sale, and other similar process in satisfaction of a judgment for an obligation arising from a consumer credit transaction:
Clothing of the customer or his or her dependents, and the following: dining table and chairs, refrigerator, heating stove, cooking stove, radio, beds and bedding, couch and chairs, cooking utensils and kitchenware and household goods as defined in 12 CFR 227.13
(d), 12 CFR 535.1
(g) or 16 CFR 444.1
(i) consisting of furniture, appliances, one television, linens, china, crockery and personal effects including wedding rings, except works of art, electronic entertainment equipment, antiques and jewelry, to the extent a nonpossessory security interest in these household goods is prohibited under 12 CFR 227.13
(d), 12 CFR 535.2
(a) (4) or 16 CFR 444.2
Real property used as the principal residence of the customer or the customer's dependents, to the extent that the fair market value of such property, less all amounts secured by mortgages and liens outstanding against it, is $15,000 or less; and
Earnings or other assets of the customer which are required to be paid by the customer as restitution under s. 973.20
With respect to process against marital property in satisfaction of a judgment for an obligation described under s. 766.55 (2) (b)
arising from a consumer credit transaction, each spouse is entitled to and may claim the exemptions under sub. (1)
. Each spouse is entitled to one exemption under sub. (1) (c)
. That exemption is limited to the specified maximum dollar amount, which may be combined with the other spouse's exemption in the same property or applied to different property included under the same exemption.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to displace other provisions of law which afford additional or greater protection to the customer.
An order or process in violation of this section is void.
As to sub. (2), see notes in 1985 Wis. Act 37
, marital property trailer bill.
With respect to a consumer credit transaction, if the court as a matter of law finds that any aspect of the transaction, any conduct directed against the customer by a party to the transaction, or any result of the transaction is unconscionable, the court shall, in addition to the remedy and penalty authorized in sub. (5)
, either refuse to enforce the transaction against the customer, or so limit the application of any unconscionable aspect or conduct to avoid any unconscionable result.
Specific practices forbidden by the administrator in rules promulgated pursuant to s. 426.108
shall be presumed to be unconscionable.
Without limiting the scope of sub. (1)
, the court may consider, among other things, the following as pertinent to the issue of unconscionability:
That the practice unfairly takes advantage of the lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of customers;
That those engaging in the practice know of the inability of customers to receive benefits properly anticipated from the goods or services involved;
That there exists a gross disparity between the price of goods or services and their value as measured by the price at which similar goods or services are readily obtainable by other customers, or by other tests of true value;
That the practice may enable merchants to take advantage of the inability of customers reasonably to protect their interests by reason of physical or mental infirmities, illiteracy or inability to understand the language of the agreement, ignorance or lack of education or similar factors;
That the terms of the transaction require customers to waive legal rights;
That the terms of the transaction require customers to unreasonably jeopardize money or property beyond the money or property immediately at issue in the transaction;
That the natural effect of the practice would reasonably cause or aid in causing customers to misunderstand the true nature of the transaction or their rights and duties thereunder;
That the writing purporting to evidence the obligation of the customer in the transaction contains terms or provisions or authorizes practices prohibited by law; and
Definitions of unconscionability in statutes, regulations, rulings and decisions of legislative, administrative or judicial bodies.
Any charge or practice expressly permitted by chs. 421
is not in itself unconscionable but even though a practice or charge is authorized by chs. 421
, the totality of a creditor's conduct may show that such practice or charge is part of an unconscionable course of conduct.
In addition to the protections afforded in sub. (1)
, the customer shall be entitled upon a finding of unconscionability to recover from the creditor or the person responsible for the unconscionable conduct a remedy and penalty in accordance with s. 425.303
When a lender was promptly informed that a borrower had a valid disability insurance claim that would cover payments, it was an unconscionable practice to include an unpaid monthly charge that would be covered by the disability insurance in computing the unpaid balance for purposes of establishing default. Bank One Milwaukee, N.A. v. Harris, 209 Wis. 2d 412
, 563 N.W.2d 543
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-0903
This section provides a defense to an action brought by a creditor and does not constitute an affirmative claim for relief. Gable v. Universal Acceptance Corp. (WI), 338 F. Supp. 3d 943
Extortionate extensions of credit. 425.108(1)(1)
If it is the understanding of the creditor and the customer during any time that an extension of credit is outstanding, that delay in making repayment could result in the use of violence to cause harm to the person or property of any person, the extension of credit shall be unenforceable in accordance with s. 425.305
and the customer shall additionally recover triple the penalty provided in s. 425.304 (1)
If it is shown that an extension of credit was made at an annual rate exceeding that permitted by or referred to in s. 422.201
on maximum charges and that the creditor had a reputation for the use or threat of use of violence to cause harm to the person or property of any person to collect extensions of credit or to punish the nonrepayment thereof, it shall be presumed that the extension of credit was a violation under chs. 421
under sub. (1)
History: 1971 c. 239
; 1979 c. 89
A complaint by a merchant to enforce any cause of action arising from a consumer credit transaction shall include all of the following:
An identification of the consumer credit transaction.
A description of the collateral or leased goods, if any, which the merchant seeks to recover or has recovered.
A specification of the facts constituting the alleged default by the customer.
If the consumer credit transaction is pursuant to an open-end credit plan, the actual or estimated amount of U.S. dollars or of a named foreign currency that the merchant alleges he or she is entitled to recover and the figures necessary for computation of the amount alleged to be due to the merchant on a date certain after the customer's default. Figures necessary for computation shall mean the amount reflected on a billing statement addressed to the customer and a breakdown of all charges, interest, and payments, including any amount received from the sale of any collateral, occurring after this date certain. This paragraph does not require a specific itemization, but the breakdown shall identify separately the amount due on a date certain, the total of all charges occurring after this date certain, the total of all interest occurring after this date certain, and the total of all payments occurring after this date certain.
If the consumer credit transaction is other than one pursuant to an open-end credit plan, the actual or estimated amount of U.S. dollars or of a named foreign currency alleged to be due to the merchant on a date certain after the customer's default, and a breakdown of all charges, interest, and payments, including any amount received from the sale of any collateral, occurring after this date certain. This paragraph does not require a specific itemization, but the breakdown shall identify separately the amount due on a date certain, the total of all charges occurring after this date certain, the total of all interest occurring after this date certain, and the total of all payments occurring after this date certain.
Except in an action to recover goods subject to a consumer lease, a statement that the customer has the right to redeem any collateral as provided in s. 425.208 (1) (intro.)
and the actual or estimated amount of U.S. dollars or of a named foreign currency required for redemption, itemized in accordance with s. 425.208 (1) (a)
Except in an action to recover goods subject to a consumer lease, the estimated amount of U.S. dollars or of a named foreign currency of any deficiency claim which may be available to the merchant following the disposition of any collateral recovered subject to the limitations of s. 425.209
or which the merchant seeks to recover and which the merchant intends to assert subject to the limitations of s. 425.210
if the customer fails to redeem the collateral.
If the customer still has the right to cure a default under s. 425.105
pursuant to a notice given under s. 425.104
, the total payment or other performance necessary to cure the alleged default and the exact date by which it must be made.
Subject to sub. (2)
and s. 425.205 (4)
, an accurate copy of the writings, if any, evidencing the transaction, except that with respect to claims arising under open-end credit plans, a statement that the merchant will submit accurate copies of the writings evidencing the customer's obligation to the court and the customer upon receipt of the customer's written request therefor on or before the return date or the date on which the customer's answer is due.
Upon the written request of the customer under sub. (1) (h)
, the merchant shall submit accurate copies to the court and the customer of writings evidencing the customer's obligation pursuant to an open-end credit plan upon which the merchant's claim is made and default judgment may not be entered for the merchant unless the merchant does so. The writings requirement under this subsection is satisfied if the merchant provides the customer with a copy of the billing statement referenced in sub. (1) (d) 1.
addressed to the customer reflecting the total outstanding balance on the customer's account at the time this billing statement was issued. If this billing statement is attached to the complaint, then the statement under sub. (1) (h)
is not required to be included in the complaint.
A default judgment may not be entered upon a complaint which fails to comply with this section.
For purposes of subchs. III
, a complaint that fails to comply with this section does not constitute a violation of chs. 421
, and shall not give rise to recovery of attorney fees under s. 425.308
, unless the customer establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the failure to comply was willful or intentional.
A stated amount owed as of a specific date with a per diem interest figure is not a sufficient statement of “the figures necessary for computation of the amount" as required by sub. (1) (d). A complaint is not sufficient under this section because it meets the general rules of notice pleading. Household Finance Corp. v. Kohl, 173 Wis. 2d 798
, 496 N.W.2d 708
(Ct. App. 1993). See also Bank One v. Ofojebe, 2005 WI App 151
, 284 Wis. 2d 510
, 702 N.W.2d 456
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 s. 421.301 (16) and not subject to the pleading requirements of sub. (1). Rsidue, LLC v. Michaud, 2006 WI App 164
, 295 Wis. 2d 585
, 721 N.W.2d 718
Even if there was a failure to comply with the pleading requirements of this section, such a failure cannot deprive a small claims court of subject matter jurisdiction and cannot render a default judgment void. Mercado v. GE Money Bank, 2009 WI App 73
, 318 Wis. 2d 216
, 768 N.W.2d 53
No discharge from employment for garnishment. 425.110(1)(1)
No employer shall discharge an employee because a merchant has subjected or attempted to subject unpaid earnings of the employee to garnishment or like proceedings directed to the employer for the purpose of paying a judgment arising from a consumer credit transaction.
If an employer violates this section, an employee shall recover back wages and be reinstated, if the employee files an action for such relief within 90 days of the employee's discharge.
History: 1971 c. 239
Levy before judgment. 425.111(1)(1)
Prior to entry of judgment in an action subject to this subchapter, no process, other than a restraining order to protect collateral (s. 425.207
), shall issue with respect to amounts that are owing or are claimed to be owing or may be owing to the customer by any 3rd person, whether by way of attachment, garnishment or other process.
With respect to property of the customer other than that described in sub. (1)
, process may issue in accordance with ch. 811
to establish a lien, except that such process shall not be effective to take, or to divest the customer of possession of, the property until final judgment is entered.
If the court finds that the creditor probably will recover on the action, and that the customer is acting, or is about to act, with respect to property of the customer upon which a lien has been established under sub. (2)
, in a manner which substantially impairs the creditor's prospects for satisfying the judgment against such property (s. 811.03
), the court may issue an order restraining the customer from so acting with respect to that property until final judgment is entered.