Williams has done business with Walker- Thomas Furniture Co for four years prior to the incident that the court case speaks of. The Furniture Company has certain provisions and criterion that are to be met upon purchasing and entering a contractual agreement based on payment. The print contract held that the item(s) that were purchased and to be bought through a payment plan were to be considered rented. If for any reason the rent payments did not meet the deadline as aforesaid by the contract, Walker " Thomas Furniture Co had the right to repossess the items and apparently any other items bought from their company regardless if they had been paid for or not. Once the item was fully paid off it was then transferred over to the renters name, which then would become the owner. Williams who at the time had a $218 monthly stipend from the government and was supporting seven children was given a payment plan based on her income. Prior to purchasing the stereo Williams" balance for the Walker- Thomas Furniture Co was set at $168, which was then raised to $678 after the purchase of the $514 stereo. After defaulting on her payment in 1962, the Walker- Thomas Furniture Co sought to repossess every item purchased since 1957. It also is noted that the total of all items cost $1,800 while in reality she paid $14,000 dollars. This means that the interest rates implemented by Walker- Thomas Furniture Co were grossly unfair. The unconscionability of the contract lies within the interest rates as well as the business scheme of Walker- Thomas Furniture Co. Although it may be said to be reasonable for the repossession of the stereo which was defaulted on in a short amount of time, the items that were owed for under the $168 would have already surpassed their original costs due to interest as well as have lost their value on the market. The total amount made off of Williams was up to $14,000 while the original cost was $1,800. It can be seen that Walker- Thomas Furniture Co was making gross profit and by repossessing the items in which were already paid for, or almost fully paid for would be unconscionable. Within this contract the unconscionability doesn"t rest within the words of the contract itself, but instead rests within the meaning or intentions of Walker- Thomas Furniture Co. In order for Walker- Thomas Furniture Co to repossess items from a renter, the item should be unpaid for in its entirety.
1) Before and after the contract was written Williams had no bargaining potential. (493.7.2-3)
2) According to her circumstances, it is presumable that Williams did not have any bargaining ability in the first place. (493.72-3)
3) Without bargaining capabilities and or potential, the contract was one sided from the start.
4) Due to the fact that she had little money to begin with she had to do business with Walker- Thomas Furniture Co in order to work out a payment plan, as opposed to buying outright in another store. (493.2.5-8)
5) Walker- Thomas Furniture Co took advantage of this and thusly created a gross interest rate for Williams. (513, NOTE 1)
6) By implementing such an interest rate under the clauses of its contract, Walker- Thomas Furniture Co would have a high chance of repossession. (513, NOTE 1)
7) Under this repossession clause, items purchased and paid for under interest would still be subject to repossession. (511.1.5)
8) If items are paid for by interest in their own right, they should not be subject to repossession.
Therefor, the contract is unconscionable.
Walker Thomas Furniture Company was a retail furniture store in the District of Columbia. The company"s business was based off a leasing model that allowed for the eventual possession of the leased item. The terms of each contract were in a written format that put forth the value of the item that was being purchased. Furthermore, conditions for the item were placed under a stipulated monthly rent payment. The contracts also provided (in substance) that the title remains in possession of the company until the total of all the monthly payments are made equal the started value of the item, in which than the title can exchange hands to the buyer. The company wanted to keep a balance due on every item until the balance due on all items was liquidated. As a result, all debt incurred at purchase was secured by the right to repossess all the items previously purchased by the same purchaser, while each new item purchased automatically became subject to a security interest stemming from previous deals. Walker Thomas Furniture was forced to implement such a plan, as the store not only had to account for potential losses but also realize that items always depreciate in a rent business. In Williams v. Walker, the contract is put into question whether or not it was unconscionable. While it was made clear Williams" income, a long line of previous payment history defeats this notion of unsconscionability.
1) Williams made her own decision to deal with Walker-Thomas, hand was never forced.
2) The items she purchased were by choice, and not necessity.
3) Walker-Thomas operated a standard business model and had no obligation to alter terms.
4) Details of terms were written down clearly and without any evasion
5) Therefore the contract is not unconscionable.