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Disclosure and Notice Requirements for Wisconsin Autorenewing Contracts

Wisconsin Statute Section 134.49 enacted May 1, 2011, imposes certain disclosure, notice, and other requirements for Wisconsin “business contracts” that automatically renew.
We regularly get questions about these requirements, some of which indicate confusion on the disclosure and notice requirements.

First, these requirements only apply to business contracts. Under the statute, a “business contract” is a contract that is either:

  • for the lease of business equipment, if any of the business equipment is used primarily in Wisconsin, 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.

The statute carves out many types of arrangements from “business contracts,” including contracts for the lease or purchase of real property and leases for titled vehicles, medical equipment, or equipment for personal, family, or household purposes. (For a full list of the carveouts, see subsection (1)(a)1-14 of the statute.)

There are different disclosure and notice requirements under the statute for business contracts. Failure to meet these requirements could result in the autorenewal provision being unenforceable and also liability for damages.

Following is a brief summary of the disclosure and notice requirements for business contracts with autorenewal provisions entered into after May 1, 2011:   

  1. All business contracts with autorenewal provisions of longer than one month are subject to an initial disclosure requirement at the time the customer enters into the contract. The disclosure may be included in the contract itself. There are requirements on the form and content of the disclosure.
  2. If a business contract has an initial term of more than one year and renews for more than one year, a reminder notice must be given before the extension. There are requirements on the timing and content of the notice.

Consequently, all business contracts with autorenewal provisions must provide an initial disclosure, but only contracts with an initial term of more than one year and a renewal of more than one year must give a reminder notice.

For more information on Wisconsin’s autorenewal statute, please contact the author or any member of Boardman Clark’s business practice group.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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