Home Improvement

Basement Waterproofing Transactions

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regulates unfair and deceptive business practices. DATCP has adopted a rule to protect consumers against basement waterproofing frauds. The rules address the following and more:

  • Waterproofing claims and guarantees.
  • Seller’s analysis of waterproofing problems.
  • “Pressure pumping” methods

Rule violators may be prosecuted, and there is a private remedy for consumers.

For more information, click here: Basement Waterproofing Transactions

 



Energy Savings and Safety Claims

A seller who makes an energy savings or safety claim must have a reasonable and currently accepted scientific basis for the claim when the claim is made. See Wisconsin Statutes section 100.21. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) may require a seller to substantiate claims, and may prohibit unsubstantiated claims by rule or order. A person who violates a DATCP rule or order may be prosecuted in court.

For more information, click here: Energy Savings and Safety Claims
 
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Home Improvement Transactions

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regulates unfair and deceptive business practices. DATCP has adopted rules to protect consumers in home improvement transactions. The rules address the following and more:

  • Deceptive sales tactics.
  • Contract and disclosure requirements.
  • 3-day “cooling off” period.
  • Failure to complete work.
  • Contract cancellation and refunds.
  • Warranties.
  • Lien waivers.
  • Consumer remedies.

Rule violators may be prosecuted, and there is a private remedy for consumers.

For more information, click here: Home Improvement Transactions
 
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Residential Contractors – Exterior

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regulates residential contractors who enter into contracts to repair or replace a roof system or perform other exterior repair or construction which may be related to a claim under a property insurance policy. See Wisconsin Statutes section 100.65.

 



Theft by Contractor

A home improvement contractor may be guilty of theft by contractor under Wisconsin Statutes section 779.02(5) if the contractor takes money from a consumer and uses any of that money before paying subcontractors. County district attorneys prosecute criminal theft cases. To convict on a charge of theft by contractor, the prosecutor must prove all the following (see Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instructions):

  • The defendant entered into an oral or written agreement (home improvement contract) for labor or materials to improve land.
  • The defendant received money from the landowner for the (home) improvements.
  • Before fully paying supplier claims for labor and materials used in the (home) improvements, the defendant intentionally used some or all of the money for other purposes.
  • The defendant used the money for other purposes without the owner's consent, and contrary to the defendant's authority.
  • The defendant knew that the use of the money was without the owner's consent and contrary to the defendant's authority.

 



Theft by Fraud

A home improvement contractor may be guilty of theft by fraud under Wisconsin Statutes section 943.20(1)(d) if the contractor, with intent to defraud, obtains the consumer’s money or other property by intentionally deceiving the consumer with a false representation that the contractor knows to be false. County district attorneys prosecute criminal theft cases. To convict on a charge of theft by fraud, a prosecutor must prove all the following elements (see Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instructions):

  • The defendant made a false representation to an owner of property (money).
  • The defendant knew that the representation was false.
  • The defendant made the representation with intent to deceive and defraud.
  • The defendant obtained title to owner’s property (money) by means of the false representation.
  • The property owner was deceived by the representation.
  • The property owner was defrauded by the representation. In other words, the property owner parted with his or her property (money) at least partially in reliance upon the fraudulent representation.

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