Division of Legal Services

Consumer Protection and Antitrust Unit

 

The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Unit is responsible for enforcing Wisconsin’s consumer protection and antitrust laws. The unit handles a variety of enforcement matters, often in collaboration with other state agencies.

 

Consumer Protection

The unit enforces the state's consumer protection laws, which prohibit unfair and deceptive business practices in a wide variety of areas, including:

 

  • Advertising
  • Charitable solicitations
  • Consumer credit matters
  • Debt collection
  • Do-not-call
  • Home improvement
  • Mortgage-related complaints
  • Sales practices
  • Telecommunications
  • Telemarketing
  • Landlord/tenant

 

Many of the cases prosecuted are referred by other state agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the Department of Financial Institutions. Consumer Protection staff also work with other states, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies in addressing national consumer protection issues, and participating in multi-state investigations and enforcement actions.

 

Through enforcement actions, including the filing of lawsuits, the unit seeks compliance with consumer protection laws through injunctions to stop fraudulent or deceptive practices, the imposition of forfeitures, and the recovery of restitution for injured consumers. Since 2010, the unit has obtained judgments totaling more than $17 million against violators of Wisconsin consumer laws, and has obtained approximately $2 million in restitution and debt cancelation for injured Wisconsin consumers.

 

More information for consumers can be found here.

 

Antitrust Unit

The unit’s Antitrust Unit staff enforces Wisconsin’s Chapter 133 antitrust laws, including laws related to:

 

  • Bid rigging
  • Price fixing
  • Secret rebates
  • Territorial allocation

 

Antitrust Unit staff works with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice to review proposed mergers and, pursuant to federal statute, Class Action Fairness Act notices. The unit also investigates alleged conspiracies among competitors, assists state agencies with investigations of illegal bidding on state contracts, and defends the state against antitrust allegations. Attorneys from the unit have pursued litigation against companies for nationwide and international conspiracies and monopolistic practices as part of multi-state groups consisting of other attorneys general's offices.

 

Wisconsin law does not authorize the Attorney General and employees of the Department of Justice to provide legal advice to private individuals. If you need legal advice or representation you may want to contact a private attorney. The State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Referral and Information Service can help you determine if you need a lawyer, and how to proceed if you do.