April 21, 2010
Wirch Small Business Bill Signed Into Law
Governor Doyle has signed Senate Bill 190, authored by State Senator Bob Wirch, into law. The bill puts in place needed reforms to help small business owners when they enter into automatically renewing contracts to receive services or lease equipment from other businesses.
The new law simply requires the business offering a contract to a small business to provide clear disclosure if the contract has a renewal clause and notify the small business owner when the window of opportunity to terminate the contract is approaching.
“I’ve already heard from a small business owner in Burlington that is thrilled to death that this new law is on the books,” Wirch stated. “He doesn’t use automatically renewing contracts, but competes against larger companies that do. Without these contracts trapping potential customers, he knows the service he provides will enable him to increase the number of small businesses he serves. He will also benefit from the bill when entering into contracts with vendors.”
Wisconsin Independent Businesses, Inc and their small business members across the state fully supported passage of this legislation along with the Midwest Equipment Dealers Association, the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Automotive Parts Association.
A small business may have 10 or more contracts for services or the lease of equipment. Frequently renewal clauses will be buried in the contract in very fine print and contain restrictions on how the customer can notify the seller of their wish to cancel. These contracts will not only have different expiration dates, but the window of opportunity to notify the seller can be exceptional limited.
“It took multiple legislative sessions to get this bill passed,” Wirch noted. “I want to thank the small business owners that worked with me over the years to see this change in law made.”