Are online pawn shops better than the brick and mortar kinds?
Yes and no.
Each of these pawn shops have their own pros and cons – which could make them ideal or annoying for you. Which should you choose?
Let’s take a look.
Physical Pawn Shops
Physical pawn shops and locations are easy to access. Taking your stuff to them or buying from them is relatively easy and cheap, if you have the right kind of transportation.
For example, buying an old piano from a physical pawn shop is far easier and cheaper if you own (or have a friend who owns) a truck. Paying for the shipping costs would be unreasonable. Even renting a truck to drive for a couple of miles is often cheaper than buying a large, oddly shaped item from an online seller.
Bigger Collection (Literally)
For this reason, many online pawn shops might not accept large items to buy or sell. A physical pawn shop will have a more varied collection, with furniture, heavy tools, and even vehicles to choose from.
A physical pawn shop may also be a faster experience. If you walk in, find something you like, and buy it, you can walk out with it immediately. No waiting for shipping time or bank processing. The same applies to selling and loans.
The cost of renting or owning a physical business is often passed down in the prices, how much they’re willing to pay sellers, and the loans they’re willing to give. In addition, a physical shop needs at least one employee at all times in order to operate, so those expenses add up fast.
Online Pawn Shops
Lower Base Prices
There’s no need to hire full-time employees, there’s no rent to pay, and there are generally fewer licenses to have. All this adds up, so online pawn shops can save on operating costs – and therefore lower their prices.
The novelty of the internet is accessibility. You can visit an online pawn shop from anywhere, at any time – even from the comfort of your home! You can browse at your leisure, explore different online pawn shops without moving from one locale to the next, and save items for later viewing.
Can’t Physically Assess Items
For the consumer, an online pawn shop might not always be the best option. If you’re attempting to buy jewelry or clothes, you don’t have the luxury of trying something on.
Can’t Double Check Quality
For other items, like paintings or antique furniture, you’ll have to rely on the assessment of the online pawn shop. They will say what the value of the item is; you can’t get up close to inspect the hinges, check for any chips in the paint, or assess the general construction.
While they may be incentivized by the fear of bad online reviews to be as upfront as possible, this may also encourage them to exaggerate items’ quality. After all, they have to rank well on Google – not just please their customers. If they don’t have a return policy, you may feel cheated out of your money.