Pawn shops are strictly regulated by a number of federal, state, and local laws and standards.
On a federal level, pawn shops are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Treasury Department.
They must comply with the following federal laws:
- The Truth & Lending Act
- The Equal Credit Opportunity Act
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act
- The Patriot Act
- and FTC rules on marketing and data privacy and security
Pawn shops must also follow state and local laws and ordinances, as well as have a business license.
A vast majority of well-respected pawnbrokers belong to the National Pawnbrokers Association, the industry’s primary trade association.
As a member of NPA, a pawnbroker must adhere to a list of industry best practices, which include:
- Maintaining reputable stores, employing professional staff, and keeping stores updated and clean.
- Conducting business transactions with integrity, and offering good customer service and quality merchandise.
- Promoting responsible borrowing, by encouraging customers to repay their pawn loans and reclaim the property they pledged as collateral. The average pawn loan is around $80 to $100, according to NPA.
- Avoiding accepting stolen property. Members should avoid accepting stolen property by refusing any items that appear suspicious.
- Working closely with law enforcement officials to help ensure the safety of their community while encouraging respect for the financial privacy rights of their customers.
- Backing merchandise with a fair satisfaction guarantee program.
Suffolk Jewelers & Pawnbrokers is a licensed member of the NPA. We adhere strictly to the standards required of NPA members, including ensuring a safe and secure transaction every time.