The ruling in Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co should be in favor of Williams
Debate Rounds (4)
1.The language in the contract, "Walker Thomas "could" repossess the item" (511.1.5)
2.Appellant had been making her payments on previously purchased items. The balance at hand before the purchase of the stereo, $164 (512.2.2)
3.The ambiguous language in the contract(511.2.2)
4.The contract was for profit (512.3.4)
5.Thus, the contract is unconscionable. Williams is relieved of the contract.
Williams purchased the stereo with a balance of $164 on previously purchased items. It can be said that Williams was in good standing with Walker "Thomas Furniture Co. If Williams had not been in good standing with the company, contracting with the appellant for additional item(s) is bad business on behalf of the company.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals found that the contract was faulty, however, could not grant appellant relief. While there has never been a ruling within the district on unconsciousability, setting a precedent on the topic is not beyond the court"s jurisdiction.
2)Williams still had an outstanding balance while the new debt was incurred; those items were not paid off (title of ownership never moved) leaving Williams liable for complete repossession. (511.2.4)
3)Williams defaulted on payments, Walker-Thomas as per the contract sought to repossess all items. (511.3.4)
4)Since Williams never fully paid off any balances, and was the sole purpose for inflicting more debt upon herself, she was never a principle owner. Therefore Walker-Thomas righteously seeks total repossession.
Walker-Thomas is just for seeking full repossession, as per the contract signed by Williams they acknowledge that title of principle owner does not shift until a total balance is paid off. Williams, who already had an outstanding balance voluntarily engaged in a second exchange, leaving her as the independent variable to increasing her balance. As for the client being in good standing with the company that"s why this is not a bad business deal on behalf of Walker-Thomas, although they were aware of her responsibilities at home and raising seven children, at the end of the day she was making her monthly payments. If Williams could not keep up with the new payments, it is the negligence on her part to distinguish necessity from non-necessity, which I feel we can all agree that buying a stereo is a non-necessity when you are raising seven children on government assistance. Can you please define how the contract is unconscionable in the context of Williams? Walker-Thomas who engaged in the second deal because as of that point Williams was in good standing with the furniture company. Although Walker-Thomas was aware of Williams financial situation that does not make this a bad deal because as far as they knew because of previous relations, Williams would continue her payments as she did in the past. If she could not handle the payments and engaged in this second contract knowingly and voluntarily increasing her balance, this is negligence to her financial stability.
An unconscionable contract is one that is so one-sided that it is unfair to one party and therefore unenforceable under law. It is a type of contract that leaves one party with no real, meaningful choice, usually due to major differences in bargaining power between the parties.*
The issue of Williams 7 children is neither here nor there in the contention of the contract. However, if you want to make this one highlight in the debate, let us look at all her circumstances.
1. Walker-Thomas was aware that she had 7 children.
2. Walker-Thomas was aware of the government stipend she received monthly.
Walker-Thomas was aware of these circumstances and still proceeded to contract with her. It appears that Walker-Thomas contracted with her expecting her to default so that they can repossess all items, which made the contract a for profit contract. Inasmuch they already received a substantial about of money from her. (footnote 1. page 513). These circumstances alone show that Walker-Thomas contract is unfair. Furthermore, the text does not evidence if they explained the ambiguous language of the contract. Given this, it shows that Walker-Thomas had a great degree of bargaining power.
As far as the definition of an unconscionable contract, let"s apply it to the facts of this case. As far as Williams having "no real, meaningful choice" she was the sole purpose of the choice, she decided to take on more debt, this was accepted by Walker-Thomas because she was in good faith making the monthly payment. What do you mean by the contention of the contract? Are these contracts that always have a similar result? As far as the contract being unfair and as you claim she appeared to be fine paying a "substantial amount" on the first contract, why is the first contract viewed as fair and the second as unfair? The only difference between contract one and two is an action caused by Williams defaulting on her payments. Please keep in mind that this type of business constantly deals with renting and financing situations as these, and that all contracts given are the same, just as the first and second contracts are the same. The choice to incur more debt for a non-necessity item was at the discretion of Williams, because of past relations Walker-Thomas did not see this as a bad business deal and assumed Williams would continue the monthly installments as usual. So if contract one worked fine, who is the cause of contract two being questionable? If it was really a concern with the contract itself wouldn"t there be many complaints for more customers as many of them are receiving the same contracts? To finalize, as per your last statement that Walker-Thomas had a great degree of bargaining power, are you referring to bargaining power as leverage? If so, what leverage did they have over Williams? This must be a condition that applies to both the first and second purchases as they were under the same contract.
I think you are reaching beyond the point. There was never two different contracts, the contract at hand is the standard contacted used in all business transactions. As too the issue of contradiction, as stated, when she contracted with the previous items Walker-Thomas would have sought to replevy these item(s) if she defaulted. Provide the evidence of "more debt". Why sought to replevy all items now, when the contract states "could repossess"? Please keep in mind that only the second contract listed her government assistance of $218, in which she ""clothe, feed and supported herself on this amount" (512.2.6). This is evidence of unequal bargaining power. While Williams may have been the sole purpose of the choice, did she understand the contract or did an employee of Walker-Williams explain the ambiguity in this section of the contract? This is a question we are unsure of. Yes, Williams had a "meaningful choice", because the stereo was not a necessity; however the meaningful choice is based on "major differences in bargaining power between the parties". Here the bargaining power is that the contract provided no equal footing. Please provide where in the contract there is equal bargaining power.
I am not disputing two contracts. They are one in the same. As to your terminology of debt and balance let us be care how we use this two words, while they may appear interchangeable they are not. A balance is an amount that is remained over of equal footing. Therefore Williams was in good standing to Walker-Thomas. To be in debt which we have commonly use the term, is to fail to maintain the necessary payment of something. Key word here being "failed" Therefore, Williams did not have a "debt", she had a balance, in which she was indebted (financial obligation) to. The ambiguity in the contract is stated on ( 511.2.). It was though Walker-Thomas, classified all purchasers as "debtor(s)", (once again anticipating for all their purchasers to go into default), instead of indebtors, having a financial obligation . Focusing on the language "could repossess" gives you an option or better yet the possibility to do something, thus making it subjective, this brings to light the "unconscionable" contract. You provided me with an example of a cop making an arrest, as stated by you ""can be subject to arrest". The operative word here is "can" which is objective term. Proceeding with your example of "can be subject to arrest", perhaps this is why NYS stop and frisk policy is so controversial; every Latino and Black American male fits this objective term.
As business invitee, Walker-Thomas had the duty of explaining the terms of the contract to Williams. If would be like purchasing a phone unaware of the terms of a two year contract. You cannot walk into a store and just sign a contract without being aware of the plan you are obliging to.
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