Automatic Renewal Law
2009 Wisconsin Act 192
Enactment: April 21, 2010
An Act to create 134.49 of the statutes; relating to: renewals
and extensions of business contracts
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and
assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. 134.49 of the statutes is created to
read: 134.49 Renewals and extensions of business
(1) Definitions. In
(a) "Business contract"
means a contract that is entered into for the lease of business
equipment, if any of the business equipment is used
primarily in this state, or for
providing business services, but only if the contract is for the
direct benefit of the end user of the business equipment or
business services. "Business contract" does not
include any of the following:
1. A contract in which
a customer agrees to purchase from a seller an undetermined
amount of business services or lease from the seller an
undetermined amount of business
equipment, and agrees to pay the seller based on the amount of
business services received or business equipment leased,
subject to a predetermined minimum payment in a 12-month
period specified in the contract, if the predetermined
minimum payment is $250,000 or more.
2. A contract for the lease or purchase of real
3 A contract for the lease of a vehicle for which a
certificate of title has been issued under ch. 342.
4. A contract for the lease of medical equipment
5. A contract derived from a tariff issued by an energy
utility, as defined in s. 196.027(1)(c).
6. A contract for the lease of equipment that is for
personal, family, or household purposes.
7. A contract for the purchase of services that are for
personal, family, or household purposes
8. A contract for the lease or purchase of access service,
as defined in s. 196.01(1b)
9. An interconnection agreement, as defined in s. 196.01
(3b) or a contract or agreement offered by a telecommunications
utility, as defined in s. 196.01 (10) to meet obligations
imposed on the telecommunications utility under 47 USC 151 to
10. A contract for the lease or purchase of
telecommunications service, as defined in s. 196.01 (9m),
including commercial mobile service,
as defined in s.196.01 (2i), if
the contract is derived from a tariff issued by a
telecommunications provider, as defined in s. 196.01 (8p),
or if the contract permits the lessee or purchaser to
terminate the contract after an automatic renewal by
giving written notice, permits the termination to take
effect not more than one month after receipt of the
written notice, and permits a termination without
liability for fees or penalties other than a payment for
services or equipment used during the period before the
termination takes effect, if the amount of the payment
is one of the following:
a. The amount of the
periodic payment due under the contract multiplied by the
number of periods during which the services or
equipment are provided before
the termination takes effect.
b. If the contract does not provide for periodic
payments, a portion of the amount due under the contract that
is proportional to the
portion of the
renewal contract term that elapsed before the termination
11. A contract that permits
a customer to terminate an automatically renewed or extended
contract period by giving the seller notice of the
customer's intention to
terminate the contract period, if the contract does not
require the customer to give notice to the seller more
than one month before the date of the customer's intended
12. A contract to which a federal, state, or local
government entity is a party.
13. A contract between a cooperative association organized
under ch. 185 and a member of the cooperative or a contract
under which a
organized under ch. 185 is a seller.
14. A contract for the lease, maintenance, repair,
service, or inspection of elevator or escalator systems,
including mechanical and electrical components of such systems
when built into real property.
means a person who conducts business in this state and who is the
lessee under a business contract that is entered into for the
lease of business equipment or the purchaser under a business
contract that is entered into for the purchase of business
means the provider of a business service or the lessor of business
equipment under a business contract.
(2) Disclosure Required
(a) Subject to par. (d),
if a business contract that is entered into, modified,
or renewed after the effective date of this subsection....
date], provides that the contract
will be automatically renewed or extended for an
additional period unless the customer declines renewal or
extension, and the DURATION
OF THE ADDITIONAL PERIOD IS MORE THAN ONE MONTH, THE SELLER
SHALL DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. At the time the customer
enters into the contract, present to the customer a copy of a
form including disclosures required under
par. (b) and OBTAIN THE CUSTOMER'S SIGNATURE
on the form.
2. INCLUDE THE DISCLOSURES
required under par. (b) in the contract in a CONSPICUOUS MANNER AND OBTAIN
CUSTOMER'S INITIALS ON THE CONTRACT on a page on
which a disclosure appears.
DISCLOSURE REQUIRED UNDER PAR. (a) SHALL CONTAIN ALL OF THE
1. A STATEMENT THAT THE CONTRACT WILL BE RENEWED
unless the customer declines renewal or
2. A STATEMENT INDICATING THE
DURATION OF THE ADDITIONAL CONTRACT PERIOD
result from an
automatic renewal or extension
3. A STATEMENT INDICATING
WHETHER AN INCREASE IN CHARGES
customer will apply upon an automatic
renewal or extension.
4. A DESCRIPTION OF ACTION THE
CUSTOMER MUST TAKE TO DECLINE RENEWAL OR EXTENSION
5. THE DATE OF THE
for the customer TO DECLINE
renewal or extension.
(c) IF A
SELLER FAILS TO COMPLY WITH PAR. (a), AN AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OR
EXTENSION PROVISION IN THE
IS NOT ENFORCEABLE AND THE CONTRACT TERMINATES AT THE END OF
THE CURRENT CONTRACT TERM.
(d) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a contract in effect on
the effective date of this paragraph .... [LRB inserts date], or
to subsequent renewals of such a contract.
(3) NOTICE REQUIRED
If a business contract that has an
initial TERM OF f
MORE THAN ONE YEAR provides that the contract will
be automatically renewed or extended for an additional term of
more than one year, unless the customer declines renewal or
extension and the deadline for the customer to decline
renewal or extension of the contract is more than 60 days after
the effective date of this subsection..... [LRB inserts
date], THE PROVISION IS NOT
ENFORCEABLE AGAINST THE CUSTOMER AND THE CONTRACT WILL
TERMINATE AT THE END OF THE CURRENT CONTRACT TERM UNLESS
THE SELLER PROVIDES TO THE CUSTOMER , at least
15 days but not more than 60 days before the deadline for
the customer to decline renewal or
extension, A WRITTEN
NOTICE CONTAINING ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(a) A statement that the contract will be renewed or
extended unless the customer declines renewal or
(b) The deadline for the customer to decline renewal
(c) A description of any increase of charges as to
the customer that will apply after renewal or extension
(d) A description of action that the customer must take to decline
extension or renewal.
(4) Manner of Giving Notice
A seller or a person acting on
behalf of the seller shall give the written notice required under
sub. (3) by any of the following methods:
(a) By MAILING A COPY OF THE NOTICE BY REGULAR U.S. MAIL
to the customer at the customer's last-known business
address, unless the contract
requires the customer to notify the seller by certified mail of
the customer's intent to cancel.
(b) By mailing a copy of the notice by REGISTERED
OR CERTIFIED MAIL
to the customer at the customer's
last-known business address.
(c) By GIVING A COPY OF THE NOTICE PERSONALLY
owner, officer, director or managing agent of the customer's
(d) By including the NOTICE ON THE FIRST PAGE OF A
sent to the customer. Notice under
shall be prominently displayed in
bold face type and in a type sizer no smaller than 12-point.
(e) By SENDING A FACSIMILE
to the customer to the
customer's last-known facsimile number, if the contract
permits the customer to
use this method to notify
the seller that the customer declines renewal or extension
of the contract.
(f) By sending an ELECTRONIC MAIL MESSAGE
the customer at the customer's last-known electronic mail address,
if the contract
permits the customer to use
this method to notify the seller that the customer
declines renewal or extension of the contract.
(g) By sending notice VIA A RECOGNIZED OVERNIGHT COURIER
, if the contract permits the customer to use this
method to notify the seller
that the customer declines renewal or extension of the contract.
(5) UNENFORCEABLE TERMS
No business contract between a
seller and a customer that is entered into, modified, or renewed
after the effective date of this subsection .... [LRB inserts
date], may require that the customer permit the seller to match
any offer the customer receives from or makes to another seller
for services to be provided after the end of the stated term of
the contract or renewal period of the contract. A
provision in a business contract that violates this
subsection is void and unenforceable.
(a) Any of the following
customers may bring an action or counterclaim for damages against
1. A CUSTOMER WHO HAS NOTIFIED A SELLER
that the customer declines renewal or extension of a business
which sub. (3) applies, if
the SELLER HAS FAILED TO GIVE
NOTICE as required under subs. (3) and (4) and the SELLER HAS REFUSED TO TERMINATE the
contract as requested by the customer.
2. A customer against whom a seller has attempted to
enforce a provision in a business contract that is unenforceable
under sub. (5).
(am) Notwithstanding par.
(a) 1, if a seller who fails to give to a customer a notice
required under sub. (3) subsequently receives notice that the
customer declines renewal or extension and agrees to terminate
the contract as of the date the customer notified the
seller, the customer is responsible for charges incurred by
the customer under the contract before the date on which
the customer notified the seller and the customer may not
bring an action against the seller based on the seller's
failure to provide the required notice, unless the seller's
failure to provide the required notice was willful or
(b) A customer who prevails in
an action or counter-claim under par (a) is entitled to damages in
either of the following amounts:
1. An amount that equals
twice the amount of the damages incurred by the customer
2. An amount that equals twice the amount of the periodic
payment specified in the contract or $1,000, whichever is less.
(c) Notwithstanding the
limitations in s. 814.04(1), the court shall award a
customer who prevails in an action or counterclaim under this
subsection costs, including reasonable attorney fees.
(d) A seller is not liable in an action or counterclaim
under this subsection if the court finds either of the following:
1. All of the following:
a. The seller has
established and implemented written procedures for complying
with this section.
b. The seller's failure to comply with subs. (3) and
(4), or the seller's attempt to enforce a provision that is
void and unenforceable under sub. (5) was not willful or
2. The customer requested, in
writing, renewal or extension of the contract that is the basis
for the customer's action or counterclaim against the seller and
the customer was aware of the terms under which the contract would
be renewed or extended.
Section 3 Effective Date
(1) This act takes effect on the first day of the 12th month
beginning after publication.
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