I’ve often heard that no matter how eager you are to make fast cash, a pawn shop should always be at the bottom of your list. However, if that is your only option, here are some strategies for dealing with a pawn shop.
You Should Always Know What You Want
Before you enter a pawn shop, it’s best to know what you’re looking for and how much that item usually sells for. When viewing an item in-store, keep in mind its condition, as this can significantly affect its value.
Inquire With the Proprietor for More Information
After you’ve decided on a pawn shop and walked in, you should ask the store’s owner or operator some basic questions about how your pawn or sale will go. Of course, you should inquire about the price, but there are other factors to consider as well. Here are some good questions to ask:
- What is the interest rate per month?
- What additional fees (ticket fee, storage fee, lost receipt fee, etc.) is the store imposing?
- Do you have insurance for store items that are lost or stolen? (Your copy of the document you sign should include information about the store’s insurance policy, if it has one.) Before you sign, read it thoroughly and ensure that it corresponds to what the store operator has told you about their insurance policies.)
- Do you require any additional documentation? (While pawn shop laws vary by state, all shops are legally required to require proper identification from a pawner/seller. If they don’t, you’re most likely in a shop with which you don’t want to do business.)
- Where will you keep my belongings? (Small items, such as jewelry, can be easily stored behind the counter, but larger items, such as a boat or appliance, may require outside storage.)Ensure that your items will be stored in a secure, climate-controlled warehouse that will not expose them to the elements.)
- Will you send me notifications or reminders when a payment is due?
Negotiations on the Table
Most pawn shops are willing to haggle over the price of an item. The actual cost you pay will, however, be determined by the pawn shop owner/operator, the item’s condition, and how long the item has been in the store.
Items that have been sitting on the shelf for a long time are usually more negotiable. The store’s owner understands that regular customers will notice that certain items aren’t moving and may be willing to make a deal.
Know what your limit is. If you know you’re being ripped off, it’s not worth it, no matter how much you want to own it.
As a consumer, there are numerous advantages to paying in cash. It can help you stay within your budget, reduce your chances of incurring credit card debt, and get you a better deal. Many pawn shop owners are more willing to negotiate with someone who pays cash rather than with a credit card because cash represents a budget on the consumer’s part and a guaranteed payment for the proprietor.
Know When to Leave
Simply walk away if the pawn shop appears to be engaging in questionable business practices, offers you an unreasonably low payment, or has unfair loan terms. You have the right to decline their offer. If you walk away over the amount of money they’re offering you, the proprietor may be persuaded to make you a better offer.
If you’re leaving because of unfair terms or questionable business practices, don’t let the proprietor talk you out of it, no matter how much money he offers you. You’re better off going somewhere else and doing business with someone you can trust.