Wisconsin Consumer Law

In Wisconsin, the mini-FTC act is Wis. Stat. Ann. §100.18; §§100.20- 100.264.  Under this legislation, plaintiffs have a cause of action when a defendant violates a specific regulation by engaging in unfair trade practices, deceptive practices in advertising (except insurance companies) or other deceptive representations to the general public.  To sustain an action, the plaintiff does not have to show actual harm due to the defendant’s conduct.  There is a statute of limitations for actions under the statute of three years. 

Through public enforcement, a successful plaintiff is entitled to equitable relief, restitution (for consumers), and a civil penalty amount (for most initial violations) as potential remedies for a violation.  Through a private action, a successful plaintiff is entitled to compensatory, multiple, and punitive damages as potential remedies for a violation.  Damages under the statute are not capped, and attorneys’ fees are recoverable as long as the person is not recovering them for fraudulent representation from a person licensed under ch. 452 while that person is engaged in real estate practice, as defined in s. 452.01 (6).  Class actions are permitted under the statute.