Can a Pawn Shop Sell Your Item

Brian McCracken


What is a pawn shop?

Now here is another question that I get all the time and there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding it and the whole topic in general which I think is a little unfortunate but let’s see if we can clear it up. Pawn shops are someplace that you can take your items and get a short term cash loan for them. It’s really a great service for a lot of people and the communities that pawn shops serve.

Can they sell your item while it’s in on loan?

That having been said, a lot of people are concerned that a pawn shop might sell your items while they are in on loan. I’m not sure where this fear comes from. Maybe some shops have accidentally sold items that were in on loan but I don’t know of any scenarios where that actually happened to tell you the truth.

But with that in mind, no a pawn shop won’t turn around and sell your item that you leave with them for a short term cash loan, with one exception. That exception of course is if you default on the loan and have to forfeit the item, but doesn’t that almost seem obvious?

Where do the items for sale come from?

I mean, let’s just take a moment and think about this. The pawn shop is giving you cash and holding onto something of yours. In addition, there’s a bunch of items in a pawn shop that are for sale, all the time. Where do we think those items come from?

Obviously they are items that have either been forfeited because the person that made the loan never paid back the loan or when someone just flat out sells something to a pawn shop instead of just making a loan against it. Pawn shops loan money on valuables but when those loans aren’t paid back on time, then they have no choice but to sell the items to recover their money.

How do pawn shops forfeit loans?

So let’s not dance around this topic any longer. Pawn shops eventually have to sell items that are pawned by well-intentioned people who just never come back and pay for those loans.

It’s just the unfortunate truth in this business that not everyone pays for their loans, no matter what their intentions may have initially been – and trust me, most people intend on paying their loans back when they make them.

Now, before you get too scared about if a pawn shop will sell your item that you made a loan against, you’ve got to understand that pawn shops just can’t randomly forfeit items just to take them. That’s not how it works, not at all.

The period of time that pawn shops give you to come back and pay back your loan is always set by state law. It’s just one of those things that is written into local and state laws to both protect the customers and give pawn shops peace of mind that they are operating completely legal, ethical businesses that the public can trust.

Because of that, when you go to a pawn shop to make a loan on an item, you have the peace of mind knowing that if and how a pawn shop can forfeit that item is completely regulated by the laws in which that pawn shop operates.

These laws are enforced by local government authorities who will often conduct audits of pawn shops to ensure that they are doing exactly what they should be doing and operating within the guidelines established by the state.

How long do they give you before they forfeit your item?

The next question that you might be asking is how long pawn shops give you before they forfeit items that are left in loan at the pawn shop.

Well, as discussed above, that is going to be completely dependent on the state and local laws that govern pawn shop transactions in your area. In some states they may have to hold onto an item for just 60 days while in other states it may be 120 days or longer.

The best way to find this information out is just to call a local pawn broker and ask them. They will have no problem answering this question for you as it is one that I promise you they get all the time.

The best way to find this information out is just to call a local pawn broker and ask them. They will have no problem answering this question for you as it is one that I promise you they get all the time.

The Bottom Line

If you are taking your items into a pawn shop to make a loan on them or sell them, then you can be sure that a pawn shop won’t turn around and sell them while they are still in a good, current loan. If however you don’t pay on your loan beyond the period of time that they are required to hold the loan by state law, then the pawn shop has the option to forfeit the merchandise and sell it to recover the money that they had previously loaned you against it.

If you want to know what this period of time is, it is best to call a local pawn broker in your state and just ask them.
The prevent a pawn shop from forfeiting and selling your items, it’s best to make sure that you stay current on your loan(s) and they won’t be able to sell you items under the laws in that state.