A store with a neon "open" sign.

When a Chicagoan takes a favorite guitar or tv to a pawn shop in the hopes of getting some much-needed cash in their pocket, it’s easy to make mistakes. The urgency of an unexpected life event can cloud your judgment in the short term, as too many folks only discover when it’s too late to reverse their decision.

The experts at Fullerton Pawners recommend avoiding these five pitfalls when using a pawn service.

Mistake 1: Working with a Disreputable or Inexperienced Pawner

Reputation matters in this industry more than in most places. Pawners are salespeople, but they need to be experts in many other areas to be worth your time and investment. Fortunately, there are several ways to scout out reliable businesses you can trust – before you sell your precious family heirloom:

  1. Google the broker’s name.
    • There should be some footprint online of their activities. What does that information reveal about the business?
  2. Check online reviews of the pawn shop.
    • What do former clients say about their experiences with the shop in question.
  3. How long have they been in business?
    • A newly opened shop might be a great place to get a temporary loan on a piece of jewelry. But if there’s no evidence the business is truly reliable, you may want to pass until they become a bit more established.

Mistake 2: Underestimating the Market Value of the Item You’re Pawning

One of the biggest mistakes a consumer can make by far is failing to understand the market value of the item they’re pawning. It’s an understandable error, considering that most people are not experts in determining the value of precious gems and other commonly pawned goods. That’s why this step usually requires some research. One approach is to contact an appraiser through the American Gem Registry or the Appraisers Association of America. You may even want to assess the monetary value of an item, and whether it’s worth the risk, before an emergency occurs.

Mistake 3: Regretting Your Decision to Pawn Something Sentimental

The same can be said for the sentimental value of a personal belonging. You may want to think long and hard before using your grandmother’s wedding ring as leverage unless you’re sure you’ll be able to get it back or don’t mind letting it go. Something that carries deep familial significance can’t easily be replaced.

Mistake 4: Taking Out a Loan Through an Untrustworthy Pawnbroker

Even if it’s a small amount of dough that you’re sure you can pay back, be selective. To be certain a pawned item will be given back per your agreement, you need to ensure you are dealing with a scrupulous broker. One way to do this is by checking with the credentials carried by the business. 

Are they affiliated with local pawning associations? A credible business should have ties in the industry. For example, Fullerton Pawners is a member of the Illinois Pawnbrokers Association and multiple other trade associations. 

Mistake 5: Not Understanding the Pawn Shop’s Terms of a Loan

Do you fully understand the terms of the loan you are considering – and what you risk if you can’t meet them? Someone faced with a medical emergency might be tempted to rush into an agreement to get that short-term $300 payment. In particular, loan applicants should pay attention to:

  1. Loan amount
  2. Loan deadlines
  3. Possible late fees or interest payments

Someone in a financial bind probably doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room if things don’t go as planned. So why not get the best possible deal? Take your time to review all of the terms and conditions of any contract before signing it. Also, consider calling a few different shops to compare the terms of the loan in question. 

Visit Best Pawn Shop Near You: Fullerton Pawners in Chicago 

At Fullerton Pawners in Chicago, our team of experts has a long history of providing helpful, reliable services to residents. We’re happy to answer all of your questions about how we do business.

Contact Fullerton Pawners at 773-637-9999, or stop on by to check out our goods and find out more about our popular neighborhood services.

Illinois Pawn Association National Pawnbrokers Association Chicago Jewelers' Association IWJG
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