Wisconsin Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The pressure that a debt collector can put on a person can be unbearable.  Sometimes it is hard to make ends meet, and the added stress of debt collectors coming for their money is unnecessary.  Consumers are provided protection from harassment and abuse through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Some states have enacted additional protections with state laws designed to further protect consumers from unfair and harassing conduct. In Wisconsin, there isWis.Stat.Ann. §218.04.  This law specifically covers collection agencies, but excludes lawyers, financial institutions (such as banks or other lenders) and certain real estate professionals.  It also does not apply to persons contracting with district attorneys who are collecting a dishonored check.  There is a dishonored check statute (Wis.Stat.Ann.§971.41) which provides its own collection standards.   This law, however, is merely a licensing statute – which means it requires debt collectors to have a specific license to collect debts in Wisconsin.  There is no mention of any private remedies for this law.

However, Wisconsin also has Wis.Stat.Ann.§§427.101 to 427.105 which applies to collection agencies and creditors.  Also, in this statute, a consumer debt includes a transaction for agricultural purposes.   Under this law, threats of force, violence or criminal prosecution are prohibited.  Also prohibited is falsely disclosing information about a debtors creditworthiness and unreasonable communications.

There is a private right of action authorized by this law which provides for actual damages.