Just a little about Pawn Shops
A pawnbroker is an individual or business (pawnshop or pawn shop) that offers secured loans to people, with items of personal property used as collateral. The word pawn is derived from the Latin pignus, for pledge, and the items having been pawned to the broker are themselves called pledges or pawns, or simply the collateral.
If an item is pawned for a loan, within a certain contractual period of time the pawner may purchase it back for the amount of the loan plus some agreed-upon amount for interest. The amount of time, and rate of interest, is governed by law or by the pawnbroker's policies. If the loan is not paid (or extended, if applicable) within the time period, the pawned item will be offered for sale by the pawnbroker/secondhand dealer. Unlike other lenders, the pawnbroker does not report the defaulted loan on the customer's credit report, since the pawnbroker has physical possession of the item and may recoup the loan value through outright sale of the item. The pawnbroker/secondhand dealer also sells items that have been sold outright by customers to the pawnbroker or secondhand dealer.
How does a pawnshop work in Florida?
Pawnbrokers lend money on a variety of items that have value - from jewelry and gold to tools and vehicles. A customer borrows money on the item, while the pawnbroker holds the item for collateral against the loan. The amount of money loaned can range from $5 to thousands of dollars. In Florida, the loan is for 30 days with an additional 30 day grace period. The interest ranges, but cannot be more than 25% for 30 days. Customers can either redeem their item by paying off the loan and fees, or they can extend the loan by paying just the interest.
The process is much the same as any other lending institution, with the primary difference being the size of the loan, the collateral and the holding of the merchandise until the interest or the loan has been repaid.
How do I know the merchandise I purchase at a pawnshop isn't stolen?
Less than one-tenth of one percent of all loans are identified as stolen items. Pawnbrokers work closely with local law enforcement. Florida pawnshops require a government issued ID - such as a driver’s license - to do a transaction with a potential customer. In addition, the item is thoroughly described (using serial numbers, model numbers, weight, color, etc.) and the information is provided to law enforcement. Because of these requirements, the likelihood of a thief bringing stolen items to a pawnshop is drastically reduced. It is not in the interests of the pawnbroker to accept potentially stolen merchandise because the police can seize the merchandise and the pawnshop owner loses the collateral and the loaned money.
Unfortunately, the media is quite neglectful when they continue to portray pawnshops as rundown fences of stolen goods. That depiction can't be farther from the truth. Members of the United Pawnbrokers Group strive to maintain a positive reputation in their community and are quite proud of their stores.
On average, 70 percent of all loans are repaid. Pawnbrokers offer non-recourse loans, looking only to the item being pledged to recover their investment if the borrower chooses not to repay the loan. It is the choice of the customer to repay the loan.