News & Resources

Massachusetts council looks into changing pawn ordinance

Nov 01, 2012 Quinn Thomas

The short term lending industry is known as a legitimate means of accessing fast cash when an individual is going through a tough economic time. Their loans can provide the relief people need to make ends meet or cope with an unexpected expense until a steady stream of income is realized or their paycheck is deposited. Thanks in part to the influence of numerous popular reality television shows, using pawn shops as lenders has become a more familiar means of obtaining money temporarily. However, many criminals have also taken notice of the seemingly overnight boost in success at storefront locations, hoping to cash in on some of the profits. Ensuring items aren't stolen property
Many communities have adopted ordinances that monitor for the practices of thieves. Some have required brokers to put identifying information about the seller and merchandise into a database, while others force shops to hold items for a certain length of time to make sure no victims file a police report after realizing the piece was stolen. However, where should the line be drawn? Holding onto some items can make them outdated by the time they are able to hit shelves, and the businesses have to swallow storage costs while in wait. With this in mind, aldermen in Somerville, Massachusetts, are looking into changing the local law that requires brokers to hold metal merchandise for 45 days, according to Wicked Local Somerville. The main concern, the source said, is the sale of metals. Currently, a Massachusetts state law forces pawn shops to hold items for 30 days after a sale to prevent against selling stolen merchandise, the news source reported, so the Somerville council is looking to make that limit applicable to metals to not put certain stores at a disadvantage to others.  Could 30 days be too long?
However, in other areas, some brokers are arguing that even 30 days is too long to hold items. For instance, in Manchester, New Hampshire, aldermen are considering changing the law requiring no sale until 30 days have passed. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, it used to be that brokers in the Granite State had to only yield transactions for seven days after the initial sale and submit details to the police within three days. Now, the leaders are considering imposing a two-week rule to lessen a broker's burden.