When most people picture a pawn shop, they think of the sketchy cover businesses of mob movies. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Many pawn shops are just like any other shop—clean, well-lit and run by people who want to help you!
How are Pawn Shops Monitored?
Pawn shops are regulated by 14 federal statutes and regulations as well as numerous state and local laws. They are perhaps one of the safest businesses to work with.
It is still a good idea to look into a pawn shop’s reputation through the local Better Business Bureau or the National Pawnbrokers Association’s website before you go.
When people “pawn” items, they are actually taking a pawn loan. With pawn loans, a pawn broker loans you money in exchange for holding onto your personal property as collateral. Once your pawn loan and small pawn fee is paid off, your property is then returned to you.
Typically, you would pawn an item to borrow a few hundred dollars or less at a time. Some pawn shops might even loan up to $15,000 if you pawn off a boat, ATV, or other large motor vehicles.
You can even get a pawn loan from your cars, SUVs or trucks. In this case, a pawn broker will simply take the title of said vehicle as collateral rather than the vehicle itself so you can still drive it around.
The exact amount the pawn shop will loan is decided through a pawn contract you sign with them. How long a pawn shop can hold onto your property before it is rightfully theirs differs for every state. You can look up the specific laws and regulations for your state here.
Let’s look at Florida as an example.
Florida Pawn Loan Laws
When pawning off items in Florida, you must pay off the pawn loan within 30 business days or risk forfeiting the property you pawned off to the pawn broker, including the absolute right, title, and interest in and to the property vests in. You can, of course, extend the loan if both parties mutually agree to do so.
Once the property is in the pawn broker’s ownership, however, they are not obligated to redeem the goods pawned to them as collateral.
You will be given a pawn broker transaction form upon making the contract. If that form is lost, destroyed, or stolen, you must either write to your pawn broker by certified or registered mail, or show the broker a copy of your return receipt.
What Can You Pawn?
There is no restriction (or limit) on what items you can pawn off or even outright sell to pawn shops. You can even pawn most kinds of guns (including airsoft and paintball guns) unless you are a minor. You will also have to prove your ownership as well.
Unfortunately, there are some items that pawn shops will turn away. This list will give you a better idea of what sorts of items pawn shops will accept and what they will refuse.