The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) is reminding the public of recent changes made to the state’s pawnbroker laws, including increased criminal background checks and the ability of law enforcement to place holds on suspected stolen goods.
SCDCA spokeswoman Juliana Harris told South Carolina Radio Network that some of the changes customers won’t even notice. “Some of the amendments included an increase in the bond amount that the pawn shop has to have. As well as criminal background checks for any employees or owners,” Harris said.
The Pawnbroker Act has been in place since 1988 and the amendments made by state legislators earlier this year are the first changes to the law since that time.
The most notable change is to an increase in the amount a pawnbroker can loan. The old limit was $2,000, now a broker can now lend up to $15,000.
Another change deals with the means that police and other law enforcement can deal with potential stolen goods. “If law enforcement thinks an item is stolen, then they have a new procedure for how to hold those items,” Harris said. The law now allows an officer to place a “written hold order” on the item. If that happens, the pawn shop cannot sell or dispose of the item without a written court order. The hold can last for up to 90 days unless a judge extends it.
Pawnbrokers and consumers can visit the SCDCA website for more information about the changes.