It’s not uncommon for someone to be concerned about a pawn shop ripping them off. So, will pawn shops rip you off?
You know, I see this type of question all the time and it’s really a shame because it’s just not true.
Look, I’ve worked in the pawn industry for years and you might say that I’m biased, but the truth of the matter is, that once you understand what it is that pawn shops are doing, you can appreciate their position.
First, let me just clear the air – pawn shops don’t rip you off.
There are going to be some pawn shops that pay less than others, but for the most part, pawn shops are perfectly ethical in the prices that they offer their customers for merchandise.
When I see opposition to this point, it almost is always because the only thing someone knows about their items is what they paid for them when they were new.
You know, with the new smell, sealed box, perfect condition, no missing parts, and a warranty!
When you go to sell something to a pawn shop, it’s not new anymore folks. It’s now used.
There will likely be marks, some wear, no warranty, missing parts, etc. In other words, it’s now worth less.
But that’s not where this story ends, not in the least.
This is a common question, and in my opinion, it comes from a complete misconception about pawn shops. People always want to know if a pawn shop will rip you off. Generally speaking, the answer is definitely, ‘No.’
Other Factors That Affect How Much A Pawn Shop Offers You
So, keeping all of this in mind, let’s be realistic about some other factors.
When you buy something from a store, it’s the newest model. The best that the industry currently offers.
A few years later, it’s probably been replaced by new models with more features, refined user experiences, better qualities…
Sure, you may have paid $1,000 for that TV 3 years ago, but now there are TV’s for half the price with twice the resolution, 3D pictures, faster processors, streamlined software and the ability to connect to services such as Netflix automatically.
Do you understand the picture I’m trying to paint here? Yes, pawn shops understand that when you bought something when it was new, it cost a lot of money. On top of it, you’re proud of what you own and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
However, as a business, a pawn shop can’t pay you top dollar for something that is outdated, replaced and nearly forgotten by the current market.
So How Do Pawn Shops Figure Out What To Pay You For Your Items
With all of this in mind, there’s got to be some process that pawn shops follow when they are setting their prices for items, right?
Well, for the most part, there is. Now, don’t misunderstand this and think that pawn shops have some kind of universal black book that they follow because they don’t.
What most pawn shops will do is go to a site like eBay.com and see how much your item is selling for in similar condition and completeness.
They aren’t looking at “Buy It Now” prices, they want to see how much actual auctions ended at by using the “Sold” feature that eBay has available when searching items.
They will then offer you a percentage of whatever that value is – typically around 50% give or take 10%.
They need to build that margin in for a variety of reasons, but ultimately, this shouldn’t make a huge difference if you are just coming back to pick up your items anyway.
If you are selling your items to a pawn shop, they will almost always offer you more for it than if you were just making a loan against it.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Make Sure Pawn Shops Give You More
Well, to an extent there is.
You should make sure that your items are in good condition. Clean them up, remove any heavy debris, dirt marks, etc. Sure, you can’t do anything about deep or heavy scratches but you can at least make something look as good as reasonably possible.
In addition, make sure that whatever you are taking into the pawn shop is as complete as possible. This doesn’t have to be rocket science, just have all of the parts and pieces. No big mystery here.
If there are items missing that an item really needs, like remote controls, charges, cords or stands, then you can’t expect to get the most money possible for whatever it is that you are taking into the pawn shop.
You have to remember that pawn shops are looking at everything that walks in their doors as if they are going to have to resell it at some point. Because of that, they aren’t going to pay as well for an item that will be more difficult to sell and something that is heavy marked up or missing parts will be tough to sell.
Mandy Dormain started working for Pawn Nerd in 2020. Mandy grew up in a small town in northern Tennessee. But moved to New York for university. Before joining Pawn Nerd, Mandy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers politics and economy stories.