Washington Law Review


Lucile Lomen


As a financing device, the conditional sales agreement has become very popular, but there are many legal problems arising from its use which are pitfalls for the unwary draftsman. There is a lack of harmony among the several jurisdictions as to the meaning of the term "conditional sale" and as to its incidents, once such a device is found. In several cases the Washington court has indicated a hostility to this form of financing, holding a purported conditional sales agreement to be a chattel mortgage. It is important then to have a clear understanding of the limitations of the conditional sale, as construed by the local court, in order to know what device is properly used in a given situation, for the terminology of the instrument alone is not conclusive, and reliance on the recording statute is abortive unless the instrument is recorded according to its proper class. The object of this inquiry is to attempt to determine the basis upon which the Washington court construes a conditional sales agreement as a chattel mortgage.

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