Frequently Asked Questions
Are all of our items from forfeited pawns?
No. We do buy a great deal of items from estates, bought in-store outright, and from people who want to trade for something we’re offering for sale. Most of our items is new merchandise, with the exception of guitars and collectables the majority of which consists of pre-owned items.
Buying at a pawn shop vs. buying at a retail store?
Price. Although we maintain a retail environment and stock a lot of new merchandise, we offer the items for a lower price than you’d see in a strict retail market. A Pawn shop also carries a larger variety of products and is full of rare finds.
Are pawnshops stocked with stolen merchandise?
Less than 1 percent of items are identified as stolen goods. Pawnshops are the worst place to try and get rid of stolen merchandise, despite what you see on television. Pawnshops are highly regulated, work very closely with local and federal law enforcement officials, and train their staff to be on the lookout for and identify stolen property.
Can we accept payment over the phone?
No. You must come in-store to process payments.
Can we give you a quote over the phone?
Unfortunately, no. We cannot give quotes over the phone because loan amounts vary greatly depending on the condition of an item. For general merchandise, we test each item to ensure it is in good working condition. The better the condition of your item, the more money we can loan. And for jewelry, we test to ensure diamonds and gold are genuine.
Can we sell your pawned item?
No. The title and ownership of an item remains with you (the borrower) until the loan defaults and the contract ends. A pawnbroker is not able to sell a pawned item until the borrower fails to redeem or renew a loan at the end of the contracted period.
What is a loan redemption?
When you are ready to pick up your merchandise, simply return with your loan ticket and pay off your loan including principal, interest and any fees.
What is a loan renewal?
If you are unable to pay back your loan in full on its due date, you may get a renewal by paying the interest that has accrued on your loan, and a new loan is written. The principal loan amount remains the same, as does the interest rate, but the due date is reset for the full loan term.
Are pawn shops regulated?
Yes, Pawnbrokers are governed by all of the major federal laws that apply to entities designed as financial institutions. The federal laws that regulate the pawn industry are Patriot Act, Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as well as Data Privacy and Safeguard of consumer information as part of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Rules. Pawn shops that deal in firearms are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Pawn shops may also be Federal Firearms License holders. States have regulated the pawn industry for decades, and most pawnbrokers are licensed and regulated by local authorities as well.
How do we determine a loan amount?
Our staff bases loan amounts on the value of your item- its current market value, its current condition, and our ability to sell the item. We use all of the research tools available to us: eBay, local market prices, and our own country-wide database. The amount of the loan offered is based on the wholesale, resale/secondhand value of the item, not the new price.
How do “pawn” collateral loans work?
Customers bring in an item of value, and the pawnbroker offers a loan based on a percentage of the item’s estimated value. The pawnbroker then keeps the item until the customer repays the loan with interest and any additional fees that may apply (e.g. late fees, lost ticket fees, etc.). On average, customers receive only a portion of the item’s retail value. Remember, the pawnbroker is loaning money on the item, not buying it. The pawnbroker must consider the cost of storage, security and future demand for the item, along with the resale value if the loan is not repaid.
What does a pawn shop do?
People often need to borrow small amounts of money that other lenders are not willing to provide. We do not check credit; pawn shops are banks of the people. The core of any pawn shop’s business is making collateral loans (loans secured by something of value). The pawn shop may have other business elements such as retail sales. However, pawnbrokers focus on lending money. Here at Pawn Smart USA we pride ourselves on revolutionizing the pawn industry by approaching the pawn-shop-model differently. We maintain a model of cleanliness, a family-friendly environment, and strong customer-broker relationships.