The Instigator
iggy
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Monicacg
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The ruling in Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co should be in favor of Williams.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 398 times Debate No: 54401
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

iggy

Pro

Igor Davidov5/9/14
Phi 310 07Debate Project

I will argue that the contract in the Williams vs. Walker Furniture Company case was unfair to the point that it was unconscionable. It was immoral and unjust to sell Williams the stereo for the excessive amount of money it was sold for when the company knew of her money situation. Not only did she have a money situation, she also had several children that she had to feed and cloth and couldn"t do that if the stereo was sold to her.
My main argument is that because of what Williams was dealing with she should
not have the stereo sold to her
1) In Williams v. Walker Furniture Company, appellee (Walker) was aware of
appellants (Williams) tough financial position. (512.1.2)
2) The stereo contract clearly listed the little amount of money the appellant
would receive monthly. Her stipend is only $218 monthly from the government
as told by her social worker. (512.1.5)
3) Regardless of this situation and knowing of her tough situation as well as the
fact that appellant has seven children that she has to support, the Furniture
Company sold her a $514 stereo set. (512.1.6)
4) This contract was extremely unfair and one sided in favor of Walker, the
person with superior bargaining power. (512.2.1)
5) The court does not lack the power to refuse enforcements to contracts found
unfair. (512.3.1)
6) Therefore this contract was an unconscionable one because of how one sided it
was, and the courts should rule in Williams favor.

What the court ruled was irrelevant because they were wrong in this situation, similarly in how they were wrong in several other major court decisions, such as Plessy v. Ferguson.
Monicacg

Con

Walker-Thomas Furniture Company didn"t need to know about Williams" financial situation. The contract of Walker-Thomas simply stated that she must make full payments by the time her bill was due for the month. Williams was fully aware of her own financial situation, which is why she had bought the stereo as a "necessity". If she knows she has seven kids, then why would she feel the need to feel to buy the stereo as a necessity? Her children should be more important to her than a stereo should be. Williams should have read the contract more carefully before buying the stereo, noticing that the furniture company had the right to take away ALL items that she has purchased since 1957, which included the stereo and the previous furniture from 1957. The case was fair because of the fact that Williams was not forced to sign this contract with the furniture company, she was well aware of what she was getting into when she had purchased these items from the furniture company, which is why the contract cannot be deemed as unconscionable. Williams knew she had an outstanding balance of $164 from her previous purchases and as well knew that outstanding balance would increase to $678 due to the purchase of the stereo for $514.95. The furniture company was only fulfilling their side of the contract by letting Williams know about what the contract was stating, which was that the furniture company had the right to take away all of the furniture if Williams was to miss on her monthly payment for her balance on the items.
Walker-Thomas has the right to take away all of her furniture regardless of knowing of her financial situation or not for the following reasons:
(1)Terms and conditions were printed in the contract stating the items would remain under the Walker-Thomas name until all payments for the furniture were paid in full. (511.1.4)
(2)If Williams was to miss a payment for the items, Walker-Thomas had the right to take the items back from her. (511.1.5)
(3)All purchases made from the company are to be added to the previous bills of the items she has purchased in 1957. (511.12.1)
(4)Therefore, the furniture company had the right to repossess all items Williams had purchased within the years.
Debate Round No. 1
iggy

Pro

Williams- Even if the company didn"t need to know about William"s financial situation, they were still well aware of the troubles financially she was in. Them knowing of this turns the case in Williams favor because not only did she have 7 kids to feed, clothe and take care of, they also knew she would not be able to pay for it all, which makes this an Unconscionable Contract. Yes she agreed to make full payments, but before hand the company knew how unfair and unreasonable these terms of condition were toward Williams. There is also something wrong with William"s mentally because her having seven children and not being able to support any of them shows how unreliable she is. She felt the need because she can"t control her urge to spend money on things such as these. Her children are probably more important than her, but she can barely afford to support them and her erratic behavior made her buy the stereo knowing full well she can"t afford it. Again even if the contract was fair, simply knowing of William"s situation the Furniture Company should have never sold her the stereo. Yes Walker could take away the furniture, but the contract should have never happened in the first place. It was immoral and unjust to sell Williams the stereo for the excessive amount of money it was sold for when the company knew of her money situation. The court does not lack the power to refuse enforcements to contracts found unfair, and this contract was clearly unfair because of how one sided it was. Courts should rule in Williams favor.
Monicacg

Con

Well what would be your definition of an unconscionable contract? How was this contract excessive? The contract from the furniture company simply stated that if she was to purchase any other items from Walker-Thomas, they would increase her previous balance from any other purchase she made in the past. Stated in 511.4.1, both trail and appellate courts have rejected what she had to say about unconscionable contracts. Williams was fully aware of what she was getting her self into, and obviously found this stereo set as a necessity instead of something that she just wanted. It wasn't like she was held at gun point or threatened in any other way to sign this contract for the stereo, She herself found this stereo as a necessity rather than a want. At the time the contract was made, the courts cannot refuse to enforce a contract which may be unconscionable because congress did not make a law saying "if the contract is unconscionable, it cannot be enforced." So the furniture company did have the right to repossess the items from Williams.
Of course she has 7 children, but she also should have known that if she was to purchase the stereo set, then she should have had some extra money put aside to be able to pay off this monthly payment as well as have money to feed and take care of her children. If the stereo wasn't considered a necessity to her, then she could have made her payments on the other pieces of furniture she had purchased in 1957, and then could have purchased the stereo set so that way she can start a new balance with the furniture company. There was no absence of meaningful choice in this situation because Williams was fully aware of her own financial situation. There was on bargaining power in this case because the price of the stereo set was non-negotionable, so Williams knew the price of the stereo and was willing to pay the bill every month until she defaulted. Williams should have know to read all fine print and all other terms in the contract before signing it.
The furniture company's contract was still conscionable because of the fact that it did state that Walker-Thomas had the right to take away ALL pieces of furniture Williams had purchased in the past IF they felt they needed to. In this case, when Williams missed her monthly payment, the furniture company only did what they said they had the right to do within the contract, and confiscated the furniture from Williams. At this point, she shouldn't be arguing with the furniture company because she knew what was stated in the contract, and that they had the right to repossess all pieces.
Debate Round No. 2
iggy

Pro

Williams- My definition of an unconscionable contract is one that is oppressive or unfair to one party in a way that would suggest abuse during its making. This contract was excessive and unconscionable because the Walker Company knew that she would not be able to make payments for the stereo for the price it was being sold for and sold it to her regardless. It was like they had a hidden agenda when selling her the stereo, because they knew she would fail to make the payments. The making of the contract was the unconscionable part, because it was excessive. The courts also had the right to refuse enforcement of the contracts if found unconscionable (512.2.1), they were just afraid of what would follow had this been ruled in Williams favor. It even says in 512.5 that this contract unreasonably favored one side and that all circumstances around the case need to be considered. And in 512.5.4 it states, "the meaningfulness of a choice is negated by a gross inequality of a bargaining power." Education is also an issue here and it is pretty straightforward that Williams lacked a good education. Yes her decision was rash, dumb and made no sense, but the circumstances surrounded the case should point toward its unconscionability. Lastly, normally if a person signs a contract without reading, they were subject to all the rules in it, but the case states in 512.5.7 that she had little bargaining power in this one sided bargain and that "in such a case the usual rule that the terms of the agreement are not to be questioned should be abandoned and the court should consider whether the terms of the contract are so unfair that enforcement should be withheld"(513.1.2). Enforcement should have been withheld.
Monicacg

Con

Well if her decision was poorly made, then you must agree that she was aware of what she was getting herself into at the time of the signing of the contract, correct? Which then means the contract could not be deemed at unconscionable since she agreed with what the terms and conditions were stating within the contract as well. Williams only had little bargaining power because she could not negotiate the price of the stereo. She knew she had a previous balance of the items she had purchased in 1957, and with the purchase of the stereo, it raised her balance as well, knowing she had to pay her bill monthly regardless of her financial situation. All I'm trying to say is she obviously was well aware that she may not have had the money for stereo every month, but she knew she had to pay every month because of what was stated in the contract.
If she was to miss a payment, then the furniture company had a right to repossess the furniture because they furniture clearly still belonged to them until the furniture was fully paid. The purchase of this furniture can be compared to the purchase of a car. When you purchase a car, you can finance the car to a monthly payment in which you are suppose to pay every month. If you miss a payment, then the car company does have a right to repossess the car because it still belongs to the company until you have completely paid all the payments. The same goes for the furniture that Williams had purchased, which can be repossessed at any time if Williams missed a payment. Now a car contract is not unconscionable because those terms and conditions are stated within the contract. the same goes for the furniture contract, which basically stated the same thing that if she missed a payment, then the furniture company can repossess the furniture. All furniture pieces were not fully owned by her because she failed to make all payments of her balance. In addition, she added more to her balance by purchasing the stereo set.
Debate Round No. 3
iggy

Pro

On the contrary, if her decision was poorly made then she clearly was not aware of what she was getting into. You even stated in your second argument that she should have read the contract more carefully, which she most likely did not. Even if she did know all of the conditions, her being irrational enough to sign it still points to the contract being unconscionable, because the Furniture Company knew well of her personal situation. Yes, she knew she had to pay every month, but you concede the point I was making in my last argument. The text clearly states she had no bargaining power in the matter and that the terms of agreements because of all of these circumstances should be mitigated to the point of abandonment. It is clear that the company had a right to repossess, but my point is that the contract should have never been made in the first place. It was irresponsible on both sides to agree to buy/sell the stereo and even if the contract stated what you say there are a plethora of reasons of why it should not be enforced. Williams is clearly incompetent, having seven children with a low paying job and the contract is clearly unfair. I will stick by my original point that this contract was unconscionable because of all the reasons I have stated and that the courts could have voted in Williams favor, but were afraid of the repercussions of everything that would follow.
Monicacg

Con

Exactly, if she have read the contract a little more carefully than she had, that way she would have known what was in the contract and that was she can be aware of what was going on. The contract is conscionable because of the fact that she didn't read the contract correctly. If she had read the contract correctly, then maybe she wouldn't have bought the stereo because of financial situation. The furniture company didn't need to know about how much money she had in the bank, or how much she had saved in the bank. All they cared about was that she agreed to pay a monthly payment, so that way she can get everything payed off and own the items. But until then, the furniture company still owned those items, which gave them the right to repossess those items.
The contract is fair because the terms clearly state and let her know what she was getting herself into when she had purchased the stereo. The fact that she missed a payment was clearly her fault, not the furniture company's. They did let her know that if she was to miss a payment, then they had the right to repossess all items she owed a balance on. What the company didn't know what that she would miss a payment if she made it seem like she was financially stable to make those monthly payments since she made the stereo seem like it was a necessity in her life. They only reason they sold the stereo to her was because they couldn't have turned the customer away and let her make business with another furniture company. They would loose a client they have previously made business with, and obviously accepted her to make the purchase of the stereo because she was keeping up with her old payments of the items she had purchased in the past, and it was also keeping the customer happy with her purchase in turn for her to return and make future purchases with the company. That"s how businesses work, they keep clients happy, hoping they pay off their monthly statements, so that way they can return and make business again in the near future.
Contracts are important to companies so that way the customer purchasing items know that they have to pay an amount of money to keep those items. They also give clarity as to who owns the items, and who doesn't. Without the contract, maybe Williams wouldn't have enough money to just buy the stereo at $514.95 all on one day. This contract allowed her to pay that off little by little by paying the furniture company an amount due each month. Without the company allowing her to finance, then Williams would have never had possession of the stereo as well as any other items she has purchased in the past.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.