Washington Law Review




Plaintiff, operator of a retail furniture store, sold a five hundred dollar stereo set on installment contract to defendant Williams, knowing that defendant supported herself and seven children on a two hundred eighteen dollar monthly welfare payment. At the time defendant bought the set, she owed plaintiff one hundred sixty four dollars on thirteen prior purchases. The form contract provided that plaintiff would retain title to all items purchased until the purchaser had paid all amounts due in full, and that the debt on each item was secured by the right to repossess all items purchased. When defendant defaulted shortly after purchasing the stereo, plaintiff sued to replevy all items purchased by her since 1957. The trial court granted judgment for plaintiff, rejecting defendant's contention that the contract was not enforceable because unconscionable. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed, and remanded for the taking of evidence on possible unconscionability. Held: A contract is unenforceable if there was present an element of unconscionability at the time the contract was made. Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co., 350 F.2d 445 (D.C. Cir. 1965).

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