Okay so here’s one of those questions that I will often get asked and unfortunately, a lot of people don’t really understand the answer that I give them.
Now it’s not, particularly because there is anything about the answer that is really complicated or hard to understand.
The question is if pawn shops can release information, specifically a customer’s information, or information about items that may have been pawned or sold at the pawn shop.
Now to really understand at this question you must appreciate one thing about the pawn industry.
Pawn shops aren’t like Home Depot or Walmart in that they are owned by one Corporation and all of the stores follow the exact same rules.
Pawn shops are owned by thousands of individual small business owners with their own ideas of how they want to conduct their business.
Because of that, there are going to be pawn shops, and more specifically pawnbrokers, that are willing to take on a little more risk than they should. Equally, there will be pawnbrokers that act a little bit more tightly with their willingness to take risks than they should as well.
Someplace in the middle, you are going to find an average or median range in which most pawnbrokers operate.
As happy as pawn shops are to see you and as much as they may want to help you, in most cases, they can not release the information on their customers or items that they are either bought or sold recently.
How Most Part Shops Operate When It Comes To Releasing Their Customers Information
I want you to imagine a scenario for a moment.
In this scenario, you had to go to a pawn shop to pawn an item to come up with some emergency money to cover an unexpected expense.
- Maybe you didn’t have anyone you could ask for a small loan?
- Or maybe it was that you may have been embarrassed by whatever the expense was?
- Or perhaps you just didn’t want anyone else to know how tight your financial situation was?
Any of these reasons are perfectly valid and are often times why people go to pawn shops, to begin with.
Now let’s say that you had gone into that pawn shop and made that loan.
How would you feel if your neighbor saw you go do that and went into the pawn shop after you left to find out what business you had done there?
You probably wouldn’t be too happy with your neighbor for doing that, to begin with.
However you would be much more unhappy with the pawn shop if they went and told your neighbor all of your business, what you pawned, why and for how much. You probably wouldn’t want anyone knowing that kind of information about you – because really it’s not anyone’s business.
These are the scenarios pawn shops are faced with almost on a daily basis. Because of that, pawn shops are very hesitant to give out any information about any of their customers or any of the transactions that may have taken place there.
Additionally, if a pawn shop or pawnbroker was to give away personal information that led to some kind of negative consequence for that person, such as property damage, a physical altercation, or worse – the pawn shop could potentially be liable civilly for divulging that information.
What About When You Are Asking About Something That Was Stolen
Because of the scenario that I just described for you above, even if you are asking for information about an item that may possibly have been stolen from you, most pawnshops be very hesitant to tell you much of anything about what has gone on there.
This is not because shops are looking to skirt some kind of law or be difficult in helping you find stolen merchandise.
It’s because pawn shops don’t really know who you are and are often times just taking your word that something has been stolen. In most cases, pawn shops require that you bring a police report with you to verify your story.
But even then, most won’t tell you much of anything and they will only talk to the police department or other law enforcement agency with which your stolen property report was made.
This is to ensure that the pawn shop is operating within the guidelines of the law, as well as protecting their interest by making sure that they are not divulging their customers’ information improperly.
If you have something that has been stolen from you and that you suspect may have ended up in a pawn shop it is in your best interest to make a police report about the theft first.
As soon as the report is made available to you, you should pick it up from the Police Department and make several copies of it. You want to go to the pawn shops in your area with the copies of your police report and leave one with the manager in charge so that they know to be on the lookout for your items.
Doing this will ensure that the shops are made aware of the stolen items and can work together along with law enforcement to see that those items are recovered and that the individuals responsible for selling them to the pawn shop are arrested and charged with the crime.